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Have you heard of "Home Star"?

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Tim McElwain
Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,628
Very interesting information for contractors in September 2010 Contractor Magazine page 32 titled HOME STAR - SCARY WORDS FOR A CONTRACTOR..



A quote from the article "To qualify for the Gold Star program, a contractor must be an accredited contractor with a certified work force>"



Something to look into.



Then in the AHRI trends a supplement to Penton Publications under legislative watch a further discussion of what our government is doing with energy requirements across the country. So far boilers have not been mentioned.



When I have some time I will add some parts of both article here.

Comments

  • Paul Fredricks_3
    Paul Fredricks_3 Member Posts: 1,557
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    accredited contractor with a certified work force?

    Does accredited mean currently or at one time in some sort of business?



    And does certified workforce mean currently or at one time breathing?



    If so, very stringent criteria!
  • CMadatMe
    CMadatMe Member Posts: 3,086
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    HomeStar

    I am a member of both Efficiency First and The HomeStar Coalition. If you want to be able to offer the rebates you are going to have to register with BPI. None BPI certified contractors will be eligble to offer customers upto 3,000 in rebates. BPI guys have a big advantage as they will be able to offer upto 8,000 in rebates. Either way you must register.



    http://www.efficiencyfirst.org/home-star/

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  • Tim McElwain
    Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,628
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    What makes BPI such a

    big deal? As an example I do not agree with many of their protocols on how to handle Carbon Monoxide issues. This sounds to me like a money making deal for somebody.



    Let me ask this how many who post here are BPI certified?
  • Tim McElwain
    Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,628
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    By the way the

    article in Contractor was written by an old Wallie Tom Meyer.
  • CMadatMe
    CMadatMe Member Posts: 3,086
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    BPI

    Tim,



    Because they are doing home energy audits which is covered by the addtional rebate dollars. They also will get more money. Here is the program for BPI guys.



    The GOLD STAR performance path offers an incentive to households that choose to conduct a comprehensive energy audit and then implement a variety of measures that are designed together to provide greater total returns in energy savings. This performance path represents the future of home efficiency: state-of-the-art building science is used to identify problems, present solutions and deliver verifiable energy savings, generating confidence among homeowners and investors alike. This technology-neutral approach is based on performance, not specific products, so market forces will direct funds to solutions that achieve the best results. A certified professional with accreditation from the Building Performance Institute (BPI), the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) or an approved equivalent conducts an energy audit before work begins, and a test-out when the performance retrofit is complete. Consumers receive $3,000 for modeled savings of 20%, plus an additional $1,000 incentive for each additional 5% of modeled energy savings, with incentives not to exceed 50% of project costs. Contractors implementing the GOLD STAR performance path must be BPI accredited.

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  • Robert O'Brien
    Robert O'Brien Member Posts: 3,541
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    BPI

    I've taken the BPI training, Don't worry about it,unfortunately Homestar appears to be dead in the water, Contractor magazine seems to have  an axe to grind regarding Homestar,it's not perfect but it's a lot better than nothing and with the tax credit expiring 12/31/10  it would be nice to have something to offer. And for the oil guys,almost any oil boiler w/ a reset control qualifies which is huge!
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  • CMadatMe
    CMadatMe Member Posts: 3,086
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    Not Dead

    Rob in no way is this dead. Past the house and is in the Senate with strong support. This additional bill was proposed a few weeks ago. Here is a link to Efficiency First. Join. It doesnt cost you anything and keeps you updated on the bill among other things. There are alot of mfgs that are apart of this. The list of supporters of the bill is there to see..

    http://www.efficiencyfirst.org/blog/2010/09/

    Efficiency First and the HOME STAR Coalition Applauds Efforts of the House of Representatives on [color=#009edf]Rural Energy Star: H.R. 4785 – Rural Energy Savings Program Act[/color] and the Inclusion of the Home Star Energy Efficiency Loan Program



    WASHINGTON, D.C., September 14, 2010 – Efficiency First and The HOME STAR Coalition, a diverse group of nationally recognized companies, labor and environmental organizations and associations, today issued its support for efforts by the House of Representatives on H.R. 4785, The Rural Energy Savings Program Act.  In particular, The HOME STAR Coalition applauds the inclusion of the Home Star Energy Efficiency Loan Program which will provide access to financing to homeowners for the rebated, energy cost-saving home retrofits outlined in HOME STAR.

    The HOME STAR legislation has bi-partisan support and 33 co-sponsors in the Senate.  The HOME STAR Coalition urges the swift and immediate passage of the HOME STAR legislation in the Senate to get some of the hardest hit American industries – construction and manufacturing – back to work.

    The HOME STAR Coalition also announced its membership increased to over 2,700 small and medium sized businesses and organizations from every state in the country that stand in support of HOME STAR and its widespread benefits for job creation, savings for homeowners, and energy efficiency.

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  • Robert O'Brien
    Robert O'Brien Member Posts: 3,541
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    Chris

    I hope you are right,but it is still in committee after 4 months. ACCA and PHCC are both against it,election day is a month away and the wind is blowing against more "stimulus" programs.



    http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h111-5019
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  • CMadatMe
    CMadatMe Member Posts: 3,086
    edited September 2010
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    Thanks for the Link

    The sticking point for those organizations is that contractors will have to give the homeowner the rebate up front and apply for the money themselves. Example..



    Let's say you charge Mrs Jones for an install and it's 10K. She writes you the check for 7K. You then have to fill out the appropriate paperwork, send it in and wait for your 3K from the program which would take 4-8 weeks.



    I can see that as an issue in the beginning but if it allows you to close more deals on mod/cons and you begin to have checks roll in regularly it could be a home run. 



    Weigh it out. Take a 2,000 sqft home, 2 zones w/indirect mod/con job. Would this hurt you short term? If you could close more jobs with this program is it worth it? Only you know your business. I've talked to a couple of my Viessmann guys and they would love for this program pass. They feel its a homerun and will weed out low ballers. 

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  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,853
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    4 to 8 weeks is a LONG time...

    for contractors to be bank rolling the Federal government.



    Are you as a supplier willing to wait 8 weeks for your money?



    The ONLY way this is going to work for the contractors is for them to build the cost of having to rent money into the price of the job. Does that sound ethical?



    No one should have to wait that long to get their money. All it takes is a small bump in the road to completely upset the apple cart.



    Sounds like a dangerous business practice to me, and it won't get rid of the trunk slammers. Nothing will short of a nuclear incident...



    As for BPI, I agree with Timmy Mc. They act like they are being run by a bunch of litigation lawyers, and are bending rules that have been in place for a long time. It is like they are so afraid of being sued that they are willing to let people get CO poisoning and take their chances at litigation.



    ME

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  • CMadatMe
    CMadatMe Member Posts: 3,086
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    Program is Optional

    The program is optional. If you feel is doesn't fit your business you do not have to participate in it. Why do we feel that any program has to fit everyone and everyone should be on the same playing field just because. Look at yourself, highly educated in your field, you spend money and the time to invest in yourself to stay ahead of the curve. Should the wrench tuner get the same rate or benefits as you just because he has the same trade. I don't feel he should.



    As a wholesaler and most will not admit this but waiting 60 days on your money is not very uncommon for the majority of your receivables. Sounds sad but it is true. Been that way for many years and will continue to be that way for many more. That's the beast we created when times were good and the beast we will continue to feed because we are afraid if we turn off the faucet because he pays late his business will go else where. It's about the war not the battle.

    The PHCC, ACCA and any other organization or individual has a right to their opinion but I wish that opinion would come with solutions on other programs instead of just opinions on the proposed program itself. The proposed program is a start and a much better program than then current tax credit.



    As for BPI, I have members that are BPI and like yourself they are forward thinking, educated and provide their customers with exceptional service, installs and service. There are a few bad apples and agendas in every bushel but those few bad apples also don't ruin a good apple pie.



    BPI is here and it isn't going away. Just go to energystar.gov or any energy related government industry. They guide consumers to BPI (Home Performance ) Contractors.

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  • Tim McElwain
    Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,628
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    Chris that is the problem

    there are many others who do audits and are much better qualified than I have found BPI folks to be. I could tell some scary stories about those who they have trained walking away with high levels of CO in a customers home (it was coming from the customers gas oven when it was on) quote from the BPI trained tech was "we do not check ovens."



    There are also costs involved for the contractor to be qualified as a BPI tech and the small one and two man shops could not afford to join.



    The government needs to stay out of the free enterprise system and let the consumer learn to shop for the best they can find. I get very upset when government agencies start to recommend exclusively one particular group for services.
  • Jean-David Beyer
    Jean-David Beyer Member Posts: 2,666
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    I do not wish to address the political aspects of this, but ...

    "The government needs to stay out of the free enterprise system and let

    the consumer learn to shop for the best they can find. I get very upset

    when government agencies start to recommend exclusively one particular

    group for services."



    As a consumer who has never been in HVAC-related businesses, I find this to be a very difficult issue. On the one hand, it is extremely difficult, as a consumer, to know how to shop for the best tradesman (in the best sense of the term) to do work that exceeds my ability. Even though I have a college education, I do not really know how to go about something like picking a heating contractor, electrician, plumber, ... . I checked with better business bureau, but they seem to like their members and that is about it. I speak with previous customers, but they seem to like their contractors (even if they claim they need no maintenance because their furnace or boiler is gas), and so on. They will all tell me who is the cheapest (but only in terms of initial price, not in terms of quality of design, material,  and workmanship, lifetime cost of ownership, etc.) So I guess my first question would be, "How do I learn how to shop to get the best I can find?



    With thing I know nothing about, I tend to look at Consumer Reports first, realizing the limitations of their testing program. If it is about something I know about, I find them less useful. They can tell me some things to look out for, and for some branded merchandise, they can tell frequency of repair information. But a major counterexample is that they do not test boilers at all, and a boiler is only a part of a heating installation, so I expect they will never be of much use that way. Find a Professional on this site can be helpful in some parts of the country, but it does not seem too useful here.



    So I wish I could rely on a government agency, but government agencies tend to become corrupted by the very industries they supposedly regulate, and I do not expect that situation to improve much in what is left of my lifetime.



    What is left? Could there be an HVAC licensing board that would actually rate all its members? How would it be any more objective than a government agency or a better business bureau that tend to support its members?



    I wish I knew.
  • spt87
    spt87 Member Posts: 13
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    Another big business bailout

    Sounds like yet another program that benefits the "big guys", not the small businesses who can't handle long account receivable delays.

    Also tends to benefit home owners with higher income more (larger house, larger savings).

    What they should do is absolutely nothing - stop subsidizing stuff.  Homeowners will upgrade their efficiency on their own to save fuel costs.  Homeowners who already did it on their own shouldn't have to pay for everyone else.
  • Robert O'Brien
    Robert O'Brien Member Posts: 3,541
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    This thread

    is a microcosm of the reasons it won't pass!
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  • Robert O'Brien
    Robert O'Brien Member Posts: 3,541
    edited September 2010
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    Really?

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  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,853
    edited September 2010
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    Not wanting to turn this in to a politically charged thread, because...

    If it DOES go poly, it WILL disappear. With that said, the less government I have in my life, the better off I am. That has ALWAYS been my modus operandi.



    ME

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