I am honored to be a member of the Council of Advisors of the Western HVAC Performance Alliance (WHPA). This group has become one of the most comprehensive and eclectic collections of individuals from all sectors of the Energy Efficiency and HVAC industries in the country.
The group is well represented by every segment — from utility program managers, to state energy and public utilities commissions, to HVAC contractors, distributors and manufacturers. Virtually every national HVAC industry trade and training organization is well represented on committees, the executive board and council of advisors. The group also includes unions, building owners and managers, and property management companies.
A Little History
The Alliance has done great work over the past six years since its formation in 2009. While I don’t have enough room here to share with you the accomplishments of many of the group’s members and committees, I do want to recognize one industry evangelist whose vision has helped to make this group possible. WHPA Chief of Staff, Dale Gustavson of Better Buildings Inc., who has been my dear friend and, for a time, coworker for nearly 25 years.
Since the WHPA's inception, Dale Gustavson has had the dogged determination, vision, and stubbornness to make sure this group would continue to work together and flourish.
Since the WHPA’s inception, Dale has had the dogged determination, vision, and stubbornness to make sure this group would continue to work together and flourish. Today he mostly sits quietly on the sidelines watching his baby grow up, often beaming like a proud papa when the group comes together on major issues.
It’s not been an easy road, but very worthwhile, not just because of the great work the group has done to drive energy programs in California in the right direction, but also because the Alliance has been able to draw people from all of the industry sectors together as friends and respectful cohorts — more than any other group I’ve worked with or reported on in the 30 years I’ve been involved in this industry.
It’s interesting that most of the folks who participate get that the benefits of cooperation transcend their political or personal beliefs.
I’ve been fortunate enough to participate in just about every annual Alliance meeting since the group’s inception and have watched as bonds grew and continue to form between folks from very different walks of life.
I believe it’s these relationships that will continue to be one the strongest asset of the WHPA. It’s interesting that most of the folks who participate get that the benefits of cooperation transcend their political or personal beliefs. Some are there because they care deeply about the environment, others participate because it’s good for business, and helps to create growth and jobs. Frankly many are there because it helps them do their jobs better and they can get a better grasp on where all this is headed.
It’s been great to see how differences are typically set aside, and the focus goes back to how we can best serve the consumer (congress and the president could learn a thing or two from this group).
Now don’t get me wrong, we don’t sit around and hold hands and sing “Kumbaya.” The discussions are lively, often heated. On many topics folks agree to disagree, but in the end it seems common sense prevails and everyone understands it’s about compromise and we get back to the vision.
One of the exciting outcomes of the annual meeting this past November was the group unanimously agreed that we need to move the Energy and HVAC industries to focus on true performance, and change the current programs from modeling and hoping energy is saved, to measuring and knowing it is. Of course anyone who knows me knows that has been a mission of mine since I began writing for Contracting Business. It’s also been a vision of Dale Gustavson’s and many others in our industry who get that measured performance is the right answer and that when we educate customers, they get it too.
Many topics and ideas were discussed, and committee chairs presented their work at the November meeting. I hope the trade press continues to report on the outcomes.
You can also go to performancealliance.org to learn about the meeting and a great deal more about what the organization is doing and continues to accomplish.
I’m looking forward to many years of success for the group, and I challenge others in the HVAC and Energy Efficiency industries to form similar groups around the country. We need more cooperation of this kind if we are to raise the bar, and continue to grow the HVAC industry into a more well-respected and profitable part of our society.