For those of you who didn’t get to join us in Portland for the 2012 Annual Meeting, here’s a synopsis of the Annual Meeting as recounted by Maine Association of Building Energy Professionals’ Robert Howe in his member email titled “Energy Wonks Talk Pretty Good House”.
“Members of both MABEP and the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA) spent some quality time together at NESEA’s 2012 Annual Meeting held in Portland this past Saturday evening at the urging of Portland architect Phil Kaplan of Kaplan Tompson, a member of the NESEA board.
The meeting was held at the Portland Public Library and included a tour of the building’s many ‘green’ features. Earlier in the day were tours of other energy efficient buildings in town, led by local architects.
Following some informal networking and munchies, the annual meeting included an introduction of the NESEA staff and board of directors by NESEA President Jim Petersen of Petersen Engineering in Portsmouth NH, and a review of NESEA’s past year by executive director Jennifer Marrapese.
The business meeting was followed by a panel discussion on “The Pretty Good House,” lead by Dan Kolbert of Kolbert Construction in Portland (see photo).
Dan had used the term Pretty Good House at one of the monthly energy wonk sessions hosted by Maine Green Building Supply’s Steve Konstantino at which Kolbert frequently presides. The idea is this: not everyone is going to want to or can afford to build the perfect the house…the net zero energy house…the Passivhaus. So if you have such a client who doesn’t want to go all the way, what do you do?
This sometimes serious, sometimes irreverant, sometimes comical discussion didn’t lead to any hard and fast rules, but did offer some useful insights.
Just about everyone agreed you don’t just walk away from that client, nor do you throw up your hands without trying to get the less-than-perfect client to see the value of building energy efficiency into his or her home.
One panelist opined that a lot of folks want to be half way between the two extremes of ignoring energy efficiency, on the one hand, and being cutting edge, on the other. But others argued that few people strive to be mediocre, and may come around to your way of thinking with a little effort.
Portland’s Paul Ledman said, “If I just had $900 worth of heating oil delivered to my house and then found out that my neighbor has a total energy bill of less than $10 a month, I would covet what my neighbor wants.” For the record, Paul doesn’t have $900 oil bills, but has a total energy bill sometimes less than $10 a month in his unit of the three-unit near-net-zero-energy apartment house he and partner Colleen Myers built on Portland’s Cumberland Avenue. (Incidentally, MABEP members Upcountry Building Inspectors, Island Carpentry and ReVision Energy all had a role in the building’s construction. You can check out Paul and Colleen’s home by clicking here and going to page 17 of NESEA’s online magazine, Building Energy.)
Someone else suggested you shouldn’t leave energy efficiency until the last item on your client checklist, after countertops and other stuff. They will be more inclined to want to include e.e. measures if they aren’t an afterthought.
John Monaghan urged folks to listen to their client and to work with them to achieve the desired outcome.
All in all, it was a lively, entertaining and thought-provoking evening. And that wasn’t the end of it.
Following the meeting, folks adjourned to the comfortable ambience of Grace, the former church-cum-restaurant, a block east of the library on Chestnut St. where we enjoyed good company, drinks and hors d’ouevres.
MABEP members present at the NESEA meeting included Claire Betze, Peter Taggert, Steve Konstantino, John Monaghan, Margo Billings and Bob Howe. An initial discussion about further collaboration between NESEA and MABEP will be continued at the September MABEP board meeting.”