HVAC Coalition celebrates 20 years fighting for contractors
By HPAC MagazineCooling Forced Air Geothermal Green Technology Heating HPAC General Refrigeration Solar HRAI
Overarching goal is a level playing field.
The HVAC Coalition held its 20th annual general meeting in Vaughan, ON on September 30, 2014. Chairman Roger Grochmal welcomed a group of 40 to the meeting as he recalled some of the major achievements the coalition has made over the years. He reiterated that the overarching goal has always been a level playing field for contractors. “The HVAC Coalition is the only voice for fair competition at the Ontario Energy Board,” he said. “We bring ideas, evidence and solutions to the table.”
Following regular housekeeping items, such as approving revised by-laws, financial statements and electing the board of directors for 2014-2015, Martin Luymes, the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada’s (HRAI’s) director of programs and relations, provided members with an update on the coalition’s activities over the past year.
He reported on the final round of negotiations on the Enbridge Open Bill Access program, a successful resolution to the Union Gas Home Energy Retrofit Program, ongoing branding issues at Brantford Hydro, as well as concerns about Oakville Hydro and its relationship with Sandpiper Energy Solutions.
Luymes noted high-level discussions at the Ontario Energy Board and the Ontario Ministry of Energy about how to “liberate” local electric utilities from “restrictive regulations” could be cause for concern down the road.
He also pointed out the Ontario government is seeking input from industry stakeholders for its long-term energy plan. Luymes said this presents an opportunity for the coalition to work with HRAI to develop and implement energy conservation programs across Ontario.
Marco Iacampo, program manager for the City of Toronto’s Home Energy Loan Program (HELP), was the first of two guest speakers during the meeting. The three-year pilot program is currently available in certain neighbourhoods of Toronto (see www.livegreentoronto.ca) and offers homeowners a low interest loan to make energy efficiency improvements to their homes so they can avoid high upfront costs. Three terms are available (five, 10 and 15 years) and the loan is attached to the property, not the homeowner.
Janice Wilkinson, from Grasshopper Solar Power, presented the Free Solar Program which pays homeowners of detached homes $3,000 upfront to install solar panels on their roof. Installation is free and if the house is sold the new homeowner will receive a bonus payment of $500. Wilkinson explained the program is made possible by the Ontario government’s Feed-in Tariff program (launched in 2009) whereby the power produced from the rooftop solar panels is sold to the grid and the income generated pays for the system and its operating costs. The government will buy back the power produced by solar panel systems at guaranteed rates for 20 years. More information is available at www.grasshopper.solar.com.
The next HVAC Coalition meeting will take place on October 28, 2014. Speakers are to be announced. For more information on upcoming meetings, contact Kim Stark at K.Stark@IndustrialAdmin.ca.