In line with this hands-on approach, WV GreenWorks, partnering with Think Green Midwest and Advanced Energy's Quality-Assured Professional for HVAC program, offers a Jan. 30 pre-conference training to certify more HVAC contractors to assist with the latest Energy Star V3 qualification for single and multi-family homes.
Such certification is a practical consideration in West Virginia, since Habitat for Humanity and affordable housing folks who handle federal funds require HVAC professionals with this certification.
And an Energy Star-certified home will hold appeal to anyone wary of rising utility costs, Halstead said.
"Everybody thinks of the Energy Star logo on an appliance. You know there's some kind of energy efficiency standard it has passed. It's the same for a house. An Energy Star home is pretty much certified to save between 15 and 30 percent ... on utilities."
There are also DIY (do it yourself) Genius Sessions, featuring people who've built modern, yet low-cost or no-cost energy efficient, off-the-grid homes, said Halstead.
"They're coming out to tell how they've done it. You're going to get the most honest scoop about straw bale, geo-thermal, solar, wind. These are people who have been there and done that."
Halstead acknowledges the conference has taken on a lot. But that's because the places where people live and work are essential to productivity, happiness and the overall health and attractiveness of a community.
"It looks like we're covering so much. That's because everything is connected. It's time that we looked holistically at how our environment performs and how we are interacting with our environment.
She acknowledges that some in the building trades "do not want to be associated with talking about green standards.
"But the health, comfort and productivity of your occupant is of primary importance. I would not like to find out they've lowered the bill using materials that off-gas and made my work force sick.
"We think this is an unprecedented time to move past the rhetoric, past all the kind of talk that keeps people from coming together. We think this conference offers a chance for real, civil dialogue."
Reach Douglas Imbrogno at doug...@cnpapers.com or 304-348-3017.
Here's a sampling of some sessions pulled from the schedule of The Building Conference, set for Jan. 31-Feb. 2 at The Waterfront Hotel in Morgantown. The conference is $199 for general registration, $99 for AmeriCorps and VISTA volunteers. For details, visit http://www.thebuildingconference.com:
"Home Performance & Certification: What, How, Why, How Much?"; "Retrofitting Historic Buildings"; "How to Tame Your Energy Hog"; "What Master Builders Know"; "A Million Pennies Saved is $10,000 Earned"; "Eco Schools: Growing a Green Generation By Design"; "Sustainable from the Inside Out, Top to Bottom"; "Innovative Ideas for Our Aging Infrastructure"