September, 2011 issue
The California Strategic Plan for achieving energy efficiency called for the “transformation” of residential and small commercial HVAC.
California policy makers and utilities considered how they might best achieve such an ambitious goal, with millions of customers and tens of thousands of HVAC service providers in the state.
The Strategic Plan (officially called the California Long Term Energy Efficiency Strategy Plan or CLTEESP) recognized the critical important of having the HVAC industry, with its many stakeholders, “actively participate in its own transformation”. It called for the formation of a HVAC advisory group.
Two years later, the California model might serve as an example for other states looking for industry participation in solving energy issues.
The Western HVAC Performance Alliance (www.performancealliance.org) was formed in November 2009. Today the WHPA has almost 100 member organizations in 21 HVAC stakeholder categories. With associations representing multiple companies, the WHPA member associations are affiliated with 38,000 companies.
The IHACI trade show has been selected for the first public presentation of California’s HVAC Action Plan, which documents a path to meet the state’s far-ranging energy efficiency goals over the next decade.
These goals, known as the Big Bold Energy Efficiency Strategies, are:
- All new residential construction will use zero net energy by 2020.
- All new commercial construction will use zero net energy by 2030.
- All eligible low-income customers will be given the opportunity to participate in the low-income energy efficiency program by 2020.
- Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) will be transformed to ensure that energy performance is optimal for California’s climate.
Industry Leaders at Nov. 16 Presentation
The HVAC Action Plan will be presented at a special session at the Pasadena Convention Center on Wednesday, November 16. It is a 50-page document that charts a specific course necessary to achieve the HVAC market transformation envisioned by the Big Bold Energy Efficiency Strategy. This special session will include a panel discussion with leaders from government, utilities, and the HVAC industry.
“The Action Plan has set forth a path that recognizes the critical importance of having the HVAC industry as a full partner in the effort to foster energy efficiency and peak load reduction,” said Bob Wiseman, president of the IHACI board of directors. “We have an opportunity to help the state reach its aspirational goals in a manner that makes sense for our industry.” Wiseman has been an active participant in the Western HVAC Performance Alliance (WHPA), the HVAC advisory group identified throughout the Action Plan as being among the “Champions” responsible for achieving its milestones.
IHACI is a charter member of the WHPA, which was founded nearly two years ago as outlined in the California Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan (Strategic Plan). The Strategic Plan, itself the byproduct of HVAC industry input from IHACI and others, sets forth California’s energy efficiency goals through 2030 and devotes an entire chapter to HVAC.
Strategic Plan is Basis for HVAC Action Plan
The Strategic Plan was published by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) in 2008. It is a major policy document that sets forth guidance and direction on achieving significant energy efficiency goals through the following four major initiatives:
- Code compliance
- Quality installation and maintenance
- Whole-building design integration
- Advanced technologies and diagnostics
The Action Plan addresses each of these initiatives in detail, providing Milestones, Key Actions, Timelines, and a Progress to Date chart for subsections of each. Champions - involving all parts of the HVAC marketplace from utilities to manufacturers, distributors, contractors and consumers - have been identified to play a key role in achieivng these initiatives.
The WHPA was formed in response to the Strategic Plan and has established four committees aligned with the Action Plan. The WHPA acts as one of the central figures in guiding the implementation of the Action Plan and is the primary avenue for the HVAC industry to get involved in this process.
Unique Collaborative Approach
What is unique about the approach of the Strategic Plan and, now, of the Action Plan is the emphasis on collaboration and partnership among so many diverse HVAC industry participants.
An example is the work of the Compliance Committee of the WHPA. The Action Plan states that without proper building permits, California is unable to ensure the minimum performance standards and deliver HVAC energy savings. The identified task is to increase HVAC-related permits on installations from the current rate of 10% to 50% by 2015.
“With the broad industry representation on the Compliance Committee, we have been able to represent real-world issues in the permitting process to state and local agencies. We work at a very detailed level to develop solutions, including our success in reducing state HVAC permit forms (MECH-1C and 1-CF1R-Alt) for smaller HVAC systems from five pages to one,” said Dr. Kristin Heinemeier, P.E., of the University of California Davis Western Cooling Efficiency Center. Heinemeier chairs the WHPA Compliance Committee.
More than eight HVAC stakeholder categories were represented on the WHPA Compliance Committee working on various projects. Contributions were also made by organizations identified as “Champions” in the Action Plan, including IHACI, the California Association of Local Building Officials (CALBO), California State Licensing Board, the California Energy Commission, WHPA Workforce Education & Training Committee, and Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association.
Standards-Based Installation & Maintenance Programs
The Strategic Plan identified both the opportunities and potential benefits of designing HVAC efficiency programs around existing industry standards such as:
- ASHRAE/ ACCA/ ANSI Standard 180 (Commercial Maintenance)
- ACCA/ANSI Standard 4 (Residential Maintenance)
- ACCA/ANSI Standard 5 (Installation)
- SMACNA/ANSI Standard 6 (HVAC Duct Construction)
The HVAC Action plan documents the progress already made to embrace these industry standards and sets forth priorities for further leveraging this resource.