ACI National Home Performance Conference 2014 Highlights

As usual, the ACI National Home Performance Conference contained too many highlights to mention in one blog post. So I will share just a few.

Got up early on Tuesday and went with Tom White, Home Energy Publisher, to a rehab house in a neighborhood of Detroit where we met Matt Grocoff, principal of the Thrive Collaborative and a leading advocate for net zero energy buildings and Tim Dingman, engineer and cofounder of Rebirth Realty in Detroit.

(Jim Gunshinan, Matt Grocoff, and Tim Dingman on the porch at 760 Virginia Park in Detroit. (Photo by Tom White)) 

The Virginia Park neighborhood overall, like many residential neighborhoods in and around Detroit, looks like New Orleans after Katrina! Big beautiful houses built 100 years ago, boarded up, roofs falling in, windows boarded up or broken… But in the midst of that are young people like Tim and his colleagues working with the city historic housing community and nonprofits rehabbing houses and renting them. Because of the housing degradation there is a lack of rental properties in the area so it is easy to get people to live in these rehabbed, beautiful old buildings. Once inside a house and seeing what is being done, I feel a lot better about the situation; like seeing that the patient is in the ICU and is doing well! Still, the city wants to demolish 60,000 or more houses in the Detroit area! Not deconstruct and save what is savable, but demolish and dump in a landfill. Hopefully the push-back from the rehabbers and environmentalists will keep that from happening.

On Wednesday morning Steve Cowell of Conservation Service Group was awarded the BPI Tony Woods Award for Excellence in Advancing the Home Performance Industry; Jackie Berger, PhD, president and co-founder of APPRISE, was named ACI Women of the Year; and Linda Wigington, ACI founder and a Founding Mother of Home Performance, was recognized for her continuing contributions. Steve announced a new coalition among the National Home Performance Council (NHPC), BPI, ACI, Efficiency First (EF), and Home Energy Magazine (HEM). ACI has already merged with NHPC to become the Home Performance Coalition (HPC), and that is to be the name of the new organization that is forming. (I count five acronyms with a total of fifteen letters being combined into an acronym of three letters—a good thing all by itself.) Van Jones was the keynote speaker at the Wednesday morning plenary session. He said that the new coalition could be a national economic game changer. He said a lot more but Tom and I will be writing an article on Van’s presence, vision, and words of challenge and encouragement in an article/blog post soon to be published. Hint: Learn to RAP and fill the gaps!

Michael Blasnik cast aspersions on modeling and NREL’s Dave Roberts defended them; Kara Saul Rinaldi and Robin LeBaron of NHPC went deep into the meaning of the term “cost effective” and offered the Resource Value Framework to help energy efficiency program managers define the energy and non-energy benefits of energy efficiency programs; and Debra Little inaugurated the very first Home Energy Upgrade Film Festival, with both hilarious and serious short films by Anthony Cox, Peter Troast, Faith Morgan, and Debra herself.

Good jazz was heard in clubs (like Cliff Bell’s), good food was eaten, and Detroit was explored. Many of us found that Detroit is not what we expected. Yes, it does look like a city in ruins. But among the ruins there is a lot of new life springing up. I experienced Detroit while living there in the summers of 1979 and 1980, while working as an intern for General Motors. The new Renaissance Center, where the conference attendees stayed this week, was then still a prime tourist destination. One summer I smashed, burned, and ripped apart things in the GM physical testing labs in Warren, Michigan, and the second summer I sliced, etched, polished, and looked at car parts under a microscope. One of the many friends I made was a student at Wayne State who was just starting a fraternity chapter in a beautiful old home near the university that needed a lot of work. I’m pretty sure that fraternity house is being rehabbed in the Virginia Park neighborhood where I visited this week. There is something about Detroit that does not want to die. In fact, it wants to thrive. Could this be a lesson for the rest of the country?

Views: 466


You need to be a member of Home Energy Pros Forum to add comments!

Join Home Energy Pros Forum

Comment by Jim Gunshinan on May 6, 2014 at 2:02pm

Thanks Mike for filling in many of the pieces of the conference I missed. Next year in New Orleans I will make it a priority to break into the beer bash. Some of my favorites are Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (though they are hard to call a local microbew now) and Lagunitas IPA from northern California. I wonder how they would stack up to Heady Topper?

Comment by Mike Rogers on May 6, 2014 at 11:52am

Thanks for the recap, Jim. Here's my take on the same:

Comment by Debra Little on May 5, 2014 at 10:59am

Thanks for mentioning ACI's Film Festival Jim!  They said it was the most popular event that evening and have agreed to have another next year.  There's an open invitation to all to submit short videos in 2 categories:  1-  home energy upgrade stories or 2- training. I'll try to post more through the year about the power of story, particularly visual stories in the form of short 2-3 minute videos. I think it's one of the best tools we have to resonate with our market, our home owners.

Thanks again to our terrific contributors this year!  Peter Troast, Amanda Hatherly, Allen Scherry & Anthony Cox of Community Housing Ptrs, Matt Grocoff, Faith Morgan and

Forum Discussions

When is a fuel history confidential and why?

Started by Brad Cook in General Forum. Last reply by David Butler 15 hours ago. 1 Reply

2018 Energy OutWest Conference

Started by Diane Deyerler in General Forum on Monday. 0 Replies

LED's interfering with Garage Door Openers

Started by Bruce Navin in General Forum. Last reply by Dennis Heidner on Saturday. 17 Replies

Worst boiler ever?

Started by Mark Furst in General Forum. Last reply by Mick Lane on Thursday. 1 Reply

Latest Activity

Home Performance Coalition posted a blog post
2 hours ago
Profile IconChris Thompson and Adam Fiscsu joined Home Energy Pros Forum
3 hours ago
David Butler replied to Jeremy Begley's discussion Manual S for Water Furnace Equipment in the group HVAC
"Danny wrote: "It is a bit of a juggling act bouncing back and forth between what…"
9 hours ago
David Butler replied to Brad Cook's discussion When is a fuel history confidential and why?
"I've been down this path before. Whether there's a legal basis or not, a dealer can…"
15 hours ago
Brad Cook posted a discussion

When is a fuel history confidential and why?

I always try to get a 3+ year fuel history from clients prior to starting an energy assessment. If…See More
16 hours ago
Danny Gough replied to Jeremy Begley's discussion Manual S for Water Furnace Equipment in the group HVAC
"Jeremy, You will need to do a bit of gymnastics here to pull that off.  As you know, the…"
18 hours ago
Danny Gough joined Allison A. Bailes III's group


HVAC design, Manuals J, S, T, & D, Duct leakage, Air flow, ENERGY STAR new home requirements,…See More
18 hours ago
David Butler replied to Jeremy Begley's discussion Manual S for Water Furnace Equipment in the group HVAC
"Not being an Elite user, I can't help you configure their software for a water-to-air system.…"
20 hours ago
Jeremy Begley replied to Jeremy Begley's discussion Manual S for Water Furnace Equipment in the group HVAC
"Hi David, Thank you for responding. The person I am helping is using the Elite Software and it is…"
20 hours ago
Quinn Korzeniecki added a discussion to the group Building Performance Institute (BPI)

BPI Jobs Pages: 36 Openings in 17 States

Are you a BPI Certified Professional looking for a job in home performance or weatherization? Look…See More
Profile IconJacob Hooper, Jaime Horne, Sarah Miller and 3 more joined Home Energy Pros Forum
Fred Schreiber replied to Arn McIntyre's discussion Retrotec Door Fan For Sale in the group Energy Auditing Equipment for Sale, Trade or to Purchase
"$500 each.  Comes with DM2, umbilical cords and bag.  If you want a picture, let me know."
Gary Hall posted a photo
Diane Deyerler posted a discussion

2018 Energy OutWest Conference

Still time to register. Don't miss out on this premier event!…See More
Efficiency First California's blog post was featured
Efficiency First California posted a blog post
Thomas Price commented on Bruce Sullivan's blog post Don’t Repair, Replace! Bring Zero Energy Homes to Those Who Need them Most
"That's an interesting perspective but it begs certain questions.  Yes, if we were to…"
Kevin Jacks replied to Arn McIntyre's discussion Retrotec Door Fan For Sale in the group Energy Auditing Equipment for Sale, Trade or to Purchase
"I sent you a friend request so we can communicate directly."
Arn McIntyre replied to Arn McIntyre's discussion Retrotec Door Fan For Sale in the group Energy Auditing Equipment for Sale, Trade or to Purchase
"Within the US and I would need to add shipping cost.  Where are you located?"
Dennis Heidner replied to Bruce Navin's discussion LED's interfering with Garage Door Openers
"I posted an explanation to Liam weeks ago.   Since different LED manufacturers may use…"


  • Add Photos
  • View All

© 2018   Created by Home Performance Coalition (HPC)   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service