NHPC21 Virtual Conference Roundup – Day 2
April 14, 2021
by Macie Melendez
We’re well into Day 3 of the National Home Performance Conference, but I wanted to do a quick wrap up of yesterday. Here’s a quick glance at the schedule:
- Breakout One (Live Sessions)
- The Biden Administration, the 117th Congress, and the Future of Home Performance Policy
- The Dirty Little Secret About Filtration
- The Healthy Homes Opportunity in the Time of COVID: How the Homeowner Mindset Has Shifted
- 100+ Million Existing Homes Need Energy Retrofits… What Is DOE Doing About It?
- Breakout Two (Live Sessions)
- Energy & Healthy Home Assessments at the Same Time! It Is Possible!
- Finding & Attracting New Employees to Address the Hiring Crisis
- Estimating Energy Burden for the Weatherization Assistance Program’s Eligible Population
- Breakout Three (Live Sessions)
- Barriers & Solutions to Heat Pumps as a Decarbonization Strategy
- Helping Make Families Safer: Using Home Performance to Reduce Spread of Disease
- Make the Most of Online Weatherization Training Resources
- Roundtable Event and Networking Happy Hour
In the morning, I attended The Biden Administration, the 117th Congress, and the Future of Home Performance Policy session. Kara Saul-Rinaldi, Vice President of Government Affairs, Policy, and Programs for the Building Performance Association began with a nice recap of 2020 (read: dumpster fire!) and then got to the more practical items, like a legislative update and where we stand today with a new administration. Obviously, the major points were discussed, including the Biden Administration’s promise to reduce emissions by 50% by 2035, weatherize 2 million homes, and upgrade 4 million buildings.
After Kara, we heard from Congressman Peter Welch. He provided a fresh look at our country’s future and acknowledged our industry’s role in these lofty energy goals. While it was nice to hear specifics, what I loved most was the Congressman’s optimism. Simple things like “I’m feeling good [about the future]” and, when commenting on addressing Biden’s Build Back Better plan: “It’s a real possibility to get this done.” Music to our industry’s ears.
In keeping with yesterday’s sessions, I decided to listen to the Finding & Attracting New Employees to Address the Hiring Crisis session. I’m particularly attracted to this conversation because I strongly believe that our industry has the ability to lead the future, we just need some clear, marked paths. Plus, if we’re going to help our nation reach huge energy goals, we need an expanded workforce that is trained well. So, what can you do to ensure that the people you hire are up for the task? Patch Garcia of Eco Performance Builders, Inc. shared the following tips:
- Know what you’re looking for
- Prepare interview questions to help you decide
- Step up diversity efforts
- Create relationships with local community colleges
- Offer referral rewards
- Develop a training plan
She also gave the sound advice: “Hire slowly, fire quickly.”
For the last breakout of the day, I attended Helping Make Families Safer: Using Home Performance to Reduce Spread of Disease. This is obviously a hot topic now as people become more and more aware that their homes breathe, and that they can control the quality of air inside. This session provided helpful tips for keeping sick people isolated inside of a home so that the rest of the family doesn’t also get sick, something we’ve all unfortunately have had become part of our reality. You can find very helpful resources on this topic here.
Another part of the conference I’ve been enjoying is seeing everyone introduce themselves in this online community. If you haven’t done that yet, visit the community and say hi here.