We wish you and yours a bright and beautiful holiday season. Thank you, as always, for all you do for our home performance industry.
The nights are long and winter is upon us. Now is the time to pull in those who procrastinated preparing for the season. While many contractors will provide the customer basic service in response to their call, others are finding ways to make unique offers and to transform the run of the mill service into a larger sale. Here are some tactics you can employ to stand out from the pack.
Cool Ways to Market Your Business
Room Heaters – Be on the lookout for the presence of room heaters. As you know, room heaters are a sign of a heat balance problem. When you see them in homes, ask the customer why a room heater is necessary. If the customer mentions drafts or cold conditions in the room, seize upon the opportunity to discuss how air infiltration can cause drafts and make the occupants uncomfortable. Suggest an energy audit to find the underlying cause and offer remedies to permanently fix the problem.
Check Insulation – When outside ambient temperatures are cooler, it makes it easy to measure thermal gradients using a non-contact infrared thermometer. Consider marketing free insulation checks using infrared technology as a special seasonal offer. You might use it as a lead generator, or you might include it with all service calls. It is a good idea to show the customer how to use the infrared device so that they can visualize where heat loss is occurring and decide to do something about it.
Establish Relationships with Contractors Offering Services You Don't – Once you discover a problem – whether it is air leakage, low or no insulation, or HVAC, the customer will look to you to solve it. Negotiate pricing with these contractors in advance so you can address the problems identified and quickly schedule the work for the ultimate customer experience.
Offer Carbon Monoxide Detectors on All Service Calls – Customers are concerned about health and safety and carbon monoxide is in the forefront of many homeowners' concerns, so be prepared to install/replace them on the spot.
Ask Whether They Have Health or Safety Concerns – Trips and falls cost Medicare nearly $60 million each year. You can fix those handrails or install grab bars. Asthma is a growing epidemic in the U.S. Are there triggers in the home that could be causing respiratory issues? Have they seen cockroaches, mice or rats? Do they have wet walls that could indicate the presence of mold? You could bring in a BPI certified Healthy Home Evaluator. Better yet, get that credential for yourself.
Offer the Gift of Comfort – People often struggle to find gifts for family members or close neighbors, who seem to have everything and need nothing. Offer gift certificates for a comprehensive home assessment or home comfort products and services that they can share.
Do you have a few good ideas? Share them with me. Shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org You can get a CEU for it!
About the Author
Your BPI Marketing & Communication Department
BPI and Industry News
BPI and Industry News and Highlights of 2019
Some Highlights of 2019 In 2019, we saw an expansion of our Perks program. We now have over 14 different companies with even more discounts on products and services. We'll be working with the Building Performance Association (BPA) to bring you additional perks in 2020. If you have ideas on the types of things you'd like to see, please let us know! Email us at bpiperks.org
Regarding the BPA, 2019 was a huge year for them and our entire home performance community. The Association was formed through the re-alignment of three organizations, with a special linkage to BPI. The BPA now includes the assets and staff from Efficiency First, Home Energy Magazine, and the Home Performance Coalition (HPC). HPC was initially formed as the result of a merger of Affordable Comfort, Inc. and the National Home Performance Council (NHPC). The BPA also produces the National Home Performance Conference, the industry’s largest gathering of home performance experts, industry leaders, partners, and innovators, and hosts regional conferences including the upcoming Northeast Regional Conferenceon February 11th and 12th, 2020 in Saratoga Springs, NY. (Watch for information on the pre-conference meeting BPI will host the afternoon of Monday, February 10th in Saratoga, giving our stakeholders a chance to meet BPI staff in person and discuss BPI's plans for the future.)
Because BPI recognizes that you have invested a significant amount of time and money in building your career in the home and building performance industry, we worked with the BPA to offer you 12 months of membership in the Association at no additional charge to you. In partnering with the BPA, we make our industry stronger and give all of us a voice and a place at the table. The Association works at local, state, and national levels to influence policy. As a certification development organization, though we support all initiatives that promote policies and the creation of jobs in the home performance industry, by law, BPI is not allowed to work to influence policies and laws. The BPA can do that for you and your business. The BPA promotes workforce development and together we provide access to the Home Depot rebate program.Here is a link to some of the BPA's recent local, state and national involvement in the policies that affect us all. Your membership in the BPA also provides you with:
* More in-depth insight into your industry and what is happening in your region and throughout the US * Up to the minute federal and state legislative alerts that could impact your job and your company's viability * Publications that keep you in the know on new trends and technology you will need to grow professionally * Opportunities to attend online and in-person educational events which provide you with the CEUs you need to maintain your BPI certifications, and to meet other industry peers * Access to the Home Depot ProXtra program with rebates toward BPI or BPA services
Based on your feedback at the HPC National Conference 2019 in Chicago, BPI announced a certification redesign combining the BPI Building Analyst (BA) and Envelope certifications. Working with industry Subject Matter Experts (SME) the new design resulted in a new certification, Building Analyst Technician (BAT), which will include data collection and diagnostic components of the current BA and Envelope certifications. At the same time, there will be updates to the current BA Professional, and the sunsetting of the Envelope Professional certification. The SMEs stated the purpose was to have certifications that better align with the industry. BPI will be launching a pilot testing program for the certifications tentatively scheduled for the first quarter of 2020.
BPI is following industry best practices in the redesign of the certifications by utilizing a scheme committee made up of industry SMEs to determine the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA) and a job task analysis (JTA) for both certifications, along with exam blueprints, exam questions, and finally a valid cut score after pilot testing is complete. The goal is to launch the new BAT and updated BA certifications sometime in the second quarter of 2020.
BPI Certified Professionals who are currently certified as a BA and/or Envelope Professionals will still be able to renew these certifications under the current testing/renewal scheme until the updated BA Professional certification is launched. Certifications renewed before the launch will be valid for 3 years from the renewal date. Individuals who renew the BA Professional certification on or after the updated BA Professional certification launch will be required to certify under the new schemes set by the SMEs. The Envelope Professional certification will be sunsetting with the launch of the updated BA Professional certification.
Healthy Housing Principles (HHP) Reference Guide, Exam and Certificate Release One of the most exciting things that happened in 2019 was the development of our highly anticipated new BPI Certificate of Knowledge for Healthy Housing Principles (HHP). The HHP is a new reference guide with a companion certificate-based exam for individuals interested in the essentials of healthy housing, without necessarily needing the hands-on field training and testing required to become a BPI Certified Professional.
These HHP principles help you explain to clients that key factors in a home can negatively or positively impact occupant health. The HHP examines the eight (8) “Keep It” principles of a healthy home: Keep it dry, clean, well-ventilated, pest-free, contaminant-free, safe, well-maintained, and thermally controlled. It also describes how the physical properties of heat, moisture, and airflow affect the indoor environment of our homes. These principles are important to anyone concerned with how the indoor environment of a home can affect the health and quality of life of its occupants. The HHP is tailored for individuals who want to take proactive steps toward understanding the intersection between the building science related to the house as a system and the impact of housing on the health of the occupants.
The HHP is recommended for community health workers, in-home nurses, technicians, realtors, home inspectors, appraisers, mortgage and energy efficiency financing officers, career and vocational counselors, state and local agencies, Local fire, police and EMTs, local Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCDs), and students at all levels from high schools, colleges and universities.
There will be much more information available in the near future. Please see the next item in our newsletter for the opportunity to attend an upcoming HHP training.
Around the Corner in New Orleans: January 2020 Pre-conference Workshop on The (BPI) Healthy Housing Principles (HHP) Before the start of the ACEEE 2020 Conference on Health, Environment, and Energy (CHEE20), January 21st - 23rd, 2020 in New Orleans, BPI and ACEEE are sponsoring a pre-conference Healthy Housing Principles (HHP) training workshop. The workshop will be held on Tuesday, January 21st from 1 – 5 pm CST at the Hyatt Centric French Quarter. Trainers for the session include Kevin Kennedy of Children's Mercy Hospital of Kansas City, Joe Medosch of Hayward Healthy Home Score, and Rick Hall of Building Science Professional Training LLC. Included in the training are the HHP Reference Guide and a code that can be used to take the BPI online exam to earn the new Healthy Housing Principles Certificate of Knowledge.
The CHEE20 showcases the groundbreaking research of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and highlights the ACEEE's Health and Environment program as well as the work of prominent experts and academics in this growing field.
If you are attending CHEE20, you can register for the full conference and the pre-conference HHP training workshop and save $300 on the HHP workshop training single day price. Register by clicking the "Register" button on the conference Registration page here and then choose the "General Attendee," "Speaker/Moderator," or "Student" registration option. During the registration process, you will be able to register for the workshop for an additional $100.00 added to the full conference price.
If you are unable to attend CHEE20 but would still like to attend the BPI HHP training, select the workshop ONLY option and follow the registration process. The fee for the single day HHP training, including the HHP Reference Guide and exam code, is $400.00.
BPI Certified Professionals who attend the New Orleans HHP training can earn BPI CEUs for the training and for successfully completing the HHP Certificate exam.
Is Saving Money in 2020 on Your List of Resolutions? BPI can help. We were very happy to bring you 1-800-FLOWERS.com and their eleven associated brands, just in time for your holiday gift-giving. 1-800-FLOWERS.com offers a 15% to 20% discount all through the year. All the perks on the BPI Perks page, are available all year. We have great deals including up to 60% off on tickets to theme parks, movies, Broadway shows and more.
The gateway to the Home Depot ProXtra Loyalty Program is also located on the perks page. This is a program BPI participates in with the Building Performance Association (BPA.)
You can sign up now to take advantage of a one percent (1%) rebate on all your expenditures at Home Depot each year. The rebate may be used to access services and benefits from BPI or the Association. One participating contractor was able to use the Home Depot ProXtra rebate to cover seven months of their BPI GoldStar Contractor fee.
Note: This rebate is in addition to any other benefit the credit card you register already delivers. If you sign up for the Home Depot ProXtra program by the end of December 2019,ALL purchases made at Home Depot using the registered credit card(s) throughout 2019, will apply to the program rebates.
You will receive an email directly from Home Depot tracking your progress. You will also see your “ProXtra Statement” on your Home Depot receipts.
Visit the BPI Perks page here to see all available discounts. BPI Stakeholders can access the discounts by logging into your BPI Account, going to the News & Resources section, selecting the "BPI Stakeholder Discounts" folder and opening the "BPI Perks" document. For BPI Product Listing manufacturers, Rater Companies, and CEU providers, please email us to get registered.
Great Grant News The Office of Community Services (OCS), Division of Energy Assistance (DEA), announced the release of approximately $3.32 billion of Federal Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 regular block grant funding to LIHEAP grantees. This funding is provided under the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2020, and Health Extenders Act of 2019, ("Continuing Resolution"), which the President signed into law on September 27, 2019 (Public Law 116-59). This release reflects 90% of the funds available under the Continuing Resolution to grantees at the beginning of the program year.
Please find a table detailing the allocations to state and territory grantees and the allocations to tribal grantees under this release, here. Grantees with completed FY 2020 LIHEAP plans will be sent award letters with their individual funding amounts. Each grantee that submitted a complete LIHEAP plan for FY 2020 received 90% of the funding available under the Continuing Resolution, after accounting the annual updates to the LIHEAP allocation formula data used to calculate the block grant allocation amounts.
Should you have any questions or need any assistance, please contact your DEA liaison.
An omnibus bill on improving the nation's infrastructure contained a section to reauthorize the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) to appropriate $350 million, for each of fiscal years 2020 through 2024. The House of Representatives marked up the funding for WAP to $290 million for FY 2020 while the Senate set WAP funding at $308.5 million. The House and Senate will meet in committee to determine the final award. The amount appropriated in fiscal year 2019 was $257 million.
Also, the legislation for the first time states that the "Secretary may amend the regulations prescribed...to take into consideration improvements in the health and safety of occupants of dwelling units, and other non-energy benefits, from weatherization." The legislation also includes language allowing the WAP program to address issues that previously would have resulted in a deferral of the unit. "The purpose of this section," the bill reads, is "to expand the number of dwelling units that are occupied by low-income persons that receive weatherization assistance by making such dwelling units weatherization-ready." The bill also contains language for training HVAC contractors whose services may be required in weatherization work.
New Year, New You, New I.D. Card Do you need a replacement BPI ID Card/Certificate? Here is the link to order them.
New Year and More BPI GoldStar Webinars! We are happy to announce the first few months of BPI GoldStar Webinars in 2020.
Our first BPI GoldStar Webinar in 2020 is Peter Troast presenting, “What’s in Store in 2020 in Digital Marketing", on Tuesday, January 14th. During this webinar, Energy Circle’s Founder and CEO, Peter Troast will bring clarity to the rapidly-paced digital marketing landscape, and show you simple ways to take advantage of digital marketing tools.
Also, in January on Tuesday, the 28th is Peter Troast on “How to Navigate the Continued Changes to Google My Business.” Heading into February, we have a two-part series on, “Managing Change” in your organization. Part one is on Tuesday, February 4th and part two is on Tuesday, February 25th, both are being presented by Dick Kornbluth. March 10th brings “The Art of Customer Intimacy: Increasing Our Profit by Developing a Customer-Driven Company,” presented by John Tooley. For more information and to register for any of these webinars, please visit our Webinar webpage here.
About the Author
A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, BPI creates national standards for residential energy efficiency work and, from those standards, professional certifications for home contractors.
We Went Solar and Live in a Fully Shaded House
By Larry Zarker, BPI
A 120-year-old oak tree stands on the south side of our house, towering over most of the roof below. Not ideal for photovoltaics (PV), needless to say. But we still went almost all the way solar.
How’d we do it? The solution is called “community solar”, where a local solar facility is shared by multiple community subscribers who receive credit on their electricity bills for their share of the power produced.
Neighborhood Sun’s Panorama Landfill Project in Maryland
In our area, community solar is offered by Neighborhood Sun, a Maryland based solar energy corporation. We put no money down to sign up. Neighborhood Sun secured investor funding to acquire an old construction landfill and install the PV solar arrays. The project produces 5 megawatts of energy that is delivered to customers by Pepco, our local electric utility company. Every month, Neighborhood Sun charges us 5 percent less for our electricity than we were paying for the electricity provided by Pepco, which derives over 90 percent of its fuel mix from coal, natural gas, nuclear and oil. We pay Neighborhood Sun to produce nearly all of our electric power and pay Pepco only for our power distribution costs and a small amount of power generation. Our goal is to buy 100 percent solar as future projects come online. This can be an attractive option for your customers who want the clean energy option but can’t afford the investment in rooftop PV or don't have the proper house orientation.
Efficiency first. Then solar.
Before considering the solar option, we had a BPI GoldStar Contractor conduct a home energy audit and do extensive air sealing and insulation work to reduce our home’s energy consumption. We changed all lights to LEDs and installed a mini-split heat pump. It just makes sense to reduce the load before buying energy for your home.
A typical rural solar farm for community solar. An urban application of community solar.
Placement of community solar projects
Locations that don’t consume valuable farmland, such as landfills, make ideal locations for community solar projects. The photos above demonstrate how community solar can work in rural or urban areas on land that is not prime for development or farming. Germany has an extensive network of PV arrays along the famous “Autobahn” highway system. There is even an emerging technology for embedding PV systems beneath highway surfaces.
Even though Germany is far from being a sun-drenched country, it has one of the highest solar power outputs in the world and boasts cutting-edge research and many new industry actors. Over 1.64 million solar arrays have been installed with a capacity of 43 Gigawatts. Germany estimates that it will expand to 96 Gigawatts of production by 2030.
PV panels line the Autobahn in Germany.
In the solar expressway project shown below, the road surface is made of a transparent, weight-bearing material that allows sunlight to penetrate. The panels, covering 5,875 square meters, can generate 1 million kWh of power in a year, enough to meet the everyday demand of around 800 households.
A 1 km section of solar expressway in Jinan, China.
In summary, community solar allowed us to subscribe to a solar project and enjoy the benefits of virtual net metering, which is like having solar on your roof without having to install any panels or make any upfront payments. And, we pay 5 percent less for our clean electricity than we were paying for our carbon-based electricity.
About the Author
Larry Zarker is the CEO of BPI
Stump the Chump
Let's Play Stump the Chump!
By BPI Marketing
Stump the Chump To refresh your memory, the stumper from the Fall 2019 newsletter was from Tom Andrews, Deputy Director and Instructor for the Michigan Training & Education Center (MiTEC). Tom has over 30 years of experience in HVAC and Weatherization Training. It was a tough one because we had five responses, but none were correct. Because of that, we will clarify the language for it and post it again at another time.
Here is another Stumper by Tom Andrews.
The house is a tight 1200 square foot ranch style home sitting on a slab with a detached garage. There are 3 bedrooms and 1 bath with an exhaust fan (40 cfm) that is vented to the exterior. The kitchen contains an electric range with an operational range hood exhaust (80 cfm) that is vented to the exterior. The gas forced air furnace and water heater are in a utility room off the kitchen along with the washer and electric dryer. The utility room has a wood, hollow core door with a small combustion air grille installed near the bottom of the door. The dryer is vented to the exterior (105 cfm). The furnace is a sealed combustion 2-pipe unit and the water heater is a standard draft-hood equipped type. The supply ducts are in the slab and the return plenum extends into the attic and runs to a central return in the hallway ceiling. There are supplies in all the rooms, but the return is centrally located in the main living space.
CFM@50: 1000 Baseline: -1 pa 1st measurement: -2.5 pa (CAZ door closed/blower off) 2nd measurement: -3.5 pa (CAZ door closed/blower on) 3rd measurement: -3.0 pa (CAZ door open/blower ON or off)
Query: The water heater worked fine when tested under “worst case” (-2.5 pa – baseline adjusted – CAZ door closed/forced air system blower on). But there are other times, on laundry day for example, that the CO alarm sounds and there appears to be a problem. What is going on?
Send in a Stumper and Earn 2 BPI CEUs! If you submit a Stumper, you'll get an opportunity to share your technical knowledge, free individual and company advertising with a link to your company website, and 2 BPI CEUs. Also, we will choose one submission at random to win a Home Depot $100 Gift Card. It is a big win all around! For more information and to submit your Stump the Chump solution, please contact email@example.com.
About the Author
BPI Marketing loves to share Stump the Chump with you.
BPI Product Listing Highlight
BPI Product Listing Highlight: DS3 – A Better Way to Hang Flex Duct – No Sagging! No Kinking! Just Better Airflow!
By BPI Product Listing
The Duct Saddle Strapping System (DS3) is a concave, rigid-flex duct support, which works with any type of strapping to quickly and easily install flexible ducting or retrofit an old saggy system. The one-size-fits-all design fits all duct sizes. DS3 allows for fast and easy slip-on installation with no tools required. For the builder and/or contractor who wants to provide the best possible efficiency, installing a new system or retrofitting an old saggy system is now much more cost-effective. Lower material and labor costs allow the contractor to get the job done for less and maximize profitability.
The concave shape of the saddles allows much more surface contact area with round, flexible ducting compared to strapping alone. No more “strap strangle.” The poly web strapping won’t bunch up and restrict the airflow as it does without a saddle.
The Duct Saddle Strapping System provides continuous and efficient airflow through the HVAC system, with reduced static pressure resulting in higher efficiency and extended system life. Compressors and blower motors love Duct Saddles! Because they don’t have to work as hard; they live a long happy life.
With about $50 in materials and an hour or two of labor, a contractor can easily remove the restrictions in a customer’s duct system. The no-thread-through design allows quick installation using the existing strapping, without even having to disconnect it! Just lift the duct and slide the saddle on the strap.
The customer will get the comfort and energy efficiency their system should provide. This easy upsell can make the service contractor a serious new revenue stream from the service calls they are already going on.
With the understanding of efficiency and taking the time to consult the customer, the contractor is thought of as the leading authority in HVAC efficiency in his market. Great reviews and referrals are soon to add up and increase your bottom line. A whole new procedure, the Energy Efficiency Duct Upgrade can be offered with each service call. DS3 offers a complete sales strategy.
Contact your local HVAC Wholesaler Today! For more information, please visit here.