ACI 2014

Shawna HendersonApril 30, 2014

Motown is full of building science wonks and home performance fanatics. I'm loving it.

The discussions here around training, certification, value chains, core competencies, industry capacity, they're all so real and relevant. I've written before about the fragmentation of our industry and how these different silos or streams seem to be ignorant of each other, or ignoring each other.

Keynote speaker this morning, Van Jones, (author, The Green Collar Economy) hit the nail on the head: the mantra of home performance and weatherization work is find and fill the gaps, and the whole home construction and renovation industry needs to now find and fill the gaps so that there is a concerted force to be reckoned with. This is the way to sustained economic development: 1,000,000 real, readily-available jobs that have longevity, cannot be outsourced, and keep the bulk of the money engine in the local economy. Not temporary construction projects like pipelines (I think he said there would be about 3,300 temporary jobs and 30 permanent jobs created by the proposed keystone pipeline.

Real jobs that make a real difference to people's lives. It's the reason I got into and stayed in this business of energy efficiency and housing. To make a difference that matters. Reducing energy costs so people don't have to choose between heating and groceries. Reducing health issues. Improving the durability of the biggest investment most individuals make in their lives. Extending the length of time people can stay in their homes as they age. All those reasons and many more.

So inspiring to get a bigger sense of how the home performance industry could parlay these things that matter into serious political clout: "it should be political suicide to ignore the home performance industry."

I'm taking some things home with me. That's one of them!

Interesting juxtaposition here in Detroit, where there is a lot of struggle and a lot of rebuilding. Where worker pride is evident in the municipal sculptures, which are huge and reminiscent of Stalinist statuary, in front of stark buildings that are a Brutalist's dream, but a block behind are glorious Art Deco buildings that ooze craftsmanship. The convention is being held in the Cobo Centre,a massive conference centre with a ballroom that has a 40 or 50 foot ceiling and it takes 5 minutes to walk from one end to another.

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