Green Builder Coalition

The Torch – April 2013

The Torch Offical Publication of Green Builder Coalition


IECC Residential Energy Committee Hearing

ICC logo

The public hearing for the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) was held in Dallas, TX last week. Of particular interest to the Green Builder® Coalition was the portion devoted to the Residential Energy Committee, a brand-new committee created by the ICC Board of Directors last year.

The action that will probably garner the most discussion was the approved proposal from NAHB to reinstate mechanical trade-offs for heating, cooling and water heating systems. This proposal was recommended for addition by the narrowest of margins, 6-5. If it winds up in the published version of the 2015 IECC, it would create a loophole that would allow a weakened thermal envelope in exchange for installing equipment that current data shows would have to be installed anyway. There are two more rounds before it gets to that point: the final action hearings and the ICC Board review. So while not a final result, round one has sent the residential chapter of the IECC on a backward trajectory for the first time since Congress adopted the Energy Conservation Policy Act of 1992. That Act established the IECC (then called the MEC) as the United States’ model energy code and requires the US Department of Energy to determine that each successive IECC/MEC is more energy efficient than its predecessor.

One telling comment on the proposal was shared by committee member Steve Turchen of Fairfax, VA. During discussion of the proposal, he said, “I care about energy. This proposal saves me money. It doesn’t save me energy.” Ultimately, energy is money, so it doesn’t really save money, either.

A lesser headline should be devoted to the approved proposal to eliminate the glazing area assumption for windows. If this relaxing of the code is retained, it will further erode the envelope since, according to the proposal’s reason statement,

“… windows at the edge of what is now in the market may be as good as a ‘normal’ wall. Therefore the impact of window area is decreased and not worth the calculation.”

How many built-to-code homes do you think will be using cutting edge windows? Queue the chirping crickets.

Upcoming Industry Events

International Society of Sustainability Professionals (ISSP) 2013 Conference

ISSP is hosting its next face-to-face summit of ISSP members and other sustainability professionals from May 8–10, 2013 at the Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel in Chicago, Illinois. There are workshops on May 8th, and educational sessions on both May 9th and 10th. For more information, please click here.

AltBuild Expo

On May 10-11, 2013, the annual Alternative Building Materials & Design Conference and Expo (AltBuild) celebrates a decade as the largest and most-respected green design and building expo in Southern California. Held at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, the event remains FREE for all, with select low-fee programming exceptions.  For more information, please click here.

Pacific Coast Builders Conference (PCBC)

PCBC is moving south to the San Diego Convention Center after spending years in San Francisco. During June 5-6, 2013, you will experience a gathering of America’s most prominent residential builders, developers, architects, building scientists, lenders, investors, marketers and product manufacturers. For more information, please click here.

Excellence in Building Conference

The Energy & Environmental Building Alliance (EEBA) proudly presents the 31st Excellence in Building Conference in Phoenix, AZ. From September 24-26th, 2013 there will be many resources, educational seminars, expert presenters and exhibitors to help you tap into the most up-to-date building science and home performance best practices and profit-building possibilities. For more information, please click here.

Impact Series

Mark Hostetler

The next Impact Series webinar occurs next week. On Tuesday, May 7th at 1pm CT, Dr. Mark Hostetler will share his experiences to shift conventional development inertia to something more compatible with urban biodiversity conservation. Through case studies and “real-world” experiences with development projects, he will discuss ways to engage all stakeholders in order to create functioning green communities. Many green development projects fail to stand the test of time, stemming from improper design, impacts during the construction phase, and how people manage their homes, yards, and neighborhoods. The way forward is challenging, and he outlines a range of techniques, research, policy tools and educational strategies that could be used to engage key stakeholder groups. In particular, he will stress the importance of addressing decisions made during the design, construction and post-construction phases of new subdivision development. To register for free, please click here.

For past webinars, including Dr. Heidi Cullen and Kathleen Dean Moore, you can visit the archives at:

As I Am…

Rick Hoffmann

Rick HoffmannEach issue, we’ll sit down with a green building professional to gain a personal insight into their motivations, inspirations and experiences. This issue, we feature Rick Hoffmann, LEED AP and home improvement contractor.

The Torch:  What motivated you to enter the sustainability industry?

Rick Hoffmann: When I was 15, I started reading Mother Earth News. It was then I wanted to build my own passive/solar house. Having a long-term career in IT Project Management with Accenture led me to opportunities in later stages to change careers. In 2007, I got certified in a 2-year Construction Project Management program at a local College. I became a LEED AP in 2008. I then worked as a full-time volunteer with Habitat for Humanity, helping build Energy Star-rated homes.

My passion became reality, and so I continued my education, completing a 9-month Sustainable Building Advisor program. That opened some doors for me, specifically an opportunity to work with a ground level construction crew helping build a LEED Platinum residential gut/rehab. My LEED-AP certification gave me the knowledge on “how and what” had to be documented for review by a Certified LEED rater.

My goal from age 15 is now in the design phase, just in time to enjoy it!

TT: Describe your first green project. Did you encounter any hurdles on that first project? (If yes, how did you overcome them?)

RH: Yes, of course there are always hurdles. The builder I work with brainstormed the building science needed to achieve LEED Platinum. The teamwork was intense; making sure everything was accomplished to perfection.

TT: What building product or technique do you think will be the next “game changer”?

RH: Hard work and continuing education; a blend of old school values with new school science.

TT: Who inspires you the most?

RH: God.

TT: If you had it to do over again, what profession would you choose?

RH: Architecture within a design/build residential construction corporation.

TT: What do you enjoy the most when you’re not at work?

RH: I enjoy sports oriented/athletically inclined outdoor activities.

TT: What’s the most important piece of advice you’d like to pass along to others?

RH: Make time to research new ideas on what you are passionate about. Actively participate by applying your own best ideas into that research. Don’t be afraid to offer assistance to others in their work, even if it’s nothing more than listening to their problem. It is amazing how people can solve their own problem when someone else listens, regardless of your specific knowledge.

Job Opportunities

Below you will find job postings for green collar jobs around the country.

If you have a job opening you’d like to list here, please contact the Green Builder® Coalition at

CLEAResult (, an energy-optimization firm that designs and implements programs to help utilities manage load growth by helping customers identify energy-savings opportunities and implement energy-efficiency improvements, is currently hiring energy-efficiency engineers, consultants, analysts and coordinators. These are full-time positions with full benefits. Candidates should have experience conducting energy audits, identifying energy-efficiency opportunities, using energy-modeling tools, performing energy-savings calculations, and/or developing measurement & verification (M&V) plans.  P.E. and/or C.E.M. certification is preferred but not required. To view these listings, please click here.

At press time, they had 28 jobs in the following cities:

Austin, TX (4)

Chicago, IL (5)

Tulsa, OK (1)

Little Rock, AR (4)

Okemos, MI (5)

Lancaster, PA (1)

Indianapolis, IN (3)

Providence, RI (1)

Saginaw, MI (1)

Half Moon Bay, CA (3)

CLEAResult is an energy-optimization firm that develops and implements energy-efficiency programs on behalf of utility companies across the country.  Our programs are designed to help utilities manage load growth and meet legislative requirements by identifying energy-savings opportunities and implementing energy-efficiency improvements.  CLEAResult is ranked on Inc. Magazine’s list of the 500 fastest-growing private companies in the U.S. for the second year in a row.

If you are interested in any of the above job openings, please contact:

James Hatheway
(512) 259-2383

Or apply via this website:

The Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance (SEEA; is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with the mission of promoting and achieving energy efficiency through networking, program activities, and education. They are looking to fill the following 2 positions:

#1: Policy Associate: This position will support SEEA’s Policy Team, and engage with building officials, contractors, policy makers and other stakeholders to promote the adoption, implementation and enforcement of energy codes in the Southeast in order to promote a stronger economy and higher quality of life for residents and businesses in the region. This position will also assist with the implementation of energy efficient opportunities and the strategic goals and objectives of SEEA’s policy portfolio.

This position is based out of SEEA’s main office in Atlanta, Georgia. Up to 40% of time may be required for travel in the Southeastern region and beyond. A bachelor’s degree and at least 1 year of relevant professional experience is required. SEEA is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Salary range will be $35,000-$45,000. Salary offer will be competitive and commensurate with qualifications of successful applicant. SEEA offers a generous and comprehensive benefits package and a stimulating work environment in Downtown Atlanta, convenient to public transit (MARTA) rail and bus routes.

All qualified candidates may apply by sending a cover letter and resume to with the subject line: Policy Associate. No phone calls please.

#2: Executive Assistant: This person will provide support work to President and Vice President of Operations. She/he will also lead office management for SEEA under the guidance of the VP of Operations.

Direct experience as an executive assistant for 3-5 years is required. Must be proficient in MS Word, Outlook, Excel, and PowerPoint. Salesforce experience and project management experience a plus. Candidate needs to be able to handle multiple priorities, be highly organized and professional. Must be a team player, with a good sense of humor, and excellent intrapersonal skills.

Salary range will be $32,500-$45,000. SEEA offers a generous and comprehensive benefits package and a stimulating work environment in Downtown Atlanta, convenient to public transit (MARTA) rail and bus routes.

All qualified candidates may apply by sending a cover letter and resume to with the subject line: Executive Assistant. No phone calls please.

The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) currently has 76 jobs listed on their site. Please note the closing date on the position prior to applying. Most are located in their home state of Washington, though 4 of the posted positions are based in College Park, MD and one opening is listed for Washington, DC.  If you have any interest in these highly scientific roles, please visit their career site by clicking here.

The Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA; is a collaborative network advancing energy efficiency in the Midwest to support sustainable economic development and environmental preservation. They have 2 job openings:

#1: Membership Manager: The Membership Manager works under the direction of the Deputy Director to oversee MEEA’s membership program. In addition to membership responsibilities, the Manager will have a role in MEEA’s internal and external marketing and brand development and assist with MEEA events, including the Midwest Energy Solutions Conference and Annual Meeting of the Membership.

Candidate must have a Bachelor’s degree with at least 4-6 years experience in a nonprofit organization or for-profit business in membership, sales or customer service. Experience with CRM development & management, WordPress and HTML desired. To view the full listing, please click here.

The compensation for this position will be commensurate with experience. MEEA is an equal opportunity employer. MEEA’s office is in Chicago, in a LEED Gold space in the Civic Opera Building in the Loop.

Submit cover letter, resume and salary requirements to with the subject line: Membership Manager. Search Candidates considered for interviews will be asked to provide writing samples and references.

#2: Energy Efficiency Interns: MEEA seeks interns on an ongoing, as-needed basis to support a variety of energy efficiency policy and communication initiatives. Internships are unpaid but offer a meaningful opportunity to develop your skills and ideas in a collegial, small-office environment. Length of internship can vary. Hours are flexible but require a commitment of at least 10 hours per week.

If you are interested in interning at MEEA please email, including a cover letter letting us know what area(s) of our policy or program work you are interested in, and an up to date resume. We are currently considering interns for the summer of 2013.

The Alliance to Save Energy is seeking a Senior Communications Associate to help its Communications Team promote energy efficiency to the public and policymakers. The Senior Communications Associate’s time will be divided between strengthening media relations and writing original content for our print and online publications. Under the direction of the VP of Communications, the Associate will be responsible for assisting with media outreach and responding to media inquiries.  The Associate also will write and edit news articles, resources and marketing material for our websites.  The Associate also will undertake a variety of additional communications tasks, including those associated with consumer education campaigns and Alliance events. The Associate must be able to juggle multiple tasks requiring diverse skills under tight deadlines.

This position has a salary range of Salary $45,000 – $55,000, depending on skills and experience. Writing test required. To see the complete job listing, please click here.

The Alliance is an equal opportunity employer. To apply, please send a cover letter detailing experience and qualifications, resume and writing samples to

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE; is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization that acts as a catalyst to advance energy efficiency policies, programs, technologies, investments, and behaviors. They currently seek an intern for their Buildings Program.

This full-time summer internship position will focus on assisting and contributing to two projects for the ACEEE Buildings Program:

(1) The intern will work on a project to identify the best practices for achieving large energy savings from commercial and residential retrofit programs. The intern will assist in analyzing and summarizing retrofit program offering results and describing preliminary findings regarding best practices based on these programs’ experiences. The intern will be credited as an author on the ACEEE publication resulting as an outcome of this project.

(2) The intern will support ongoing outreach and campaign support for the 2015 IECC Building Energy Codes. The candidate will help support and coordinate with other organizations active in buildings efficiency, to identify prospective jurisdictions and code officials who can be targeted for pro-efficiency messaging at public hearings on energy building codes.

The successful candidate will gain extensive experience conducting research on building retrofit programs as well as the Building Energy Code development process. In addition, the intern will be exposed to variety of organizations all working to advance energy efficiency in buildings.

This is a 10-week internship starting June 2013 in Washington, D.C. The project will require a time commitment of 40 hours/week.  Please send a resume with cover letter and brief (1-2 pages) writing sample to Please use “Buildings Internship” in the subject header. We do not accept calls about our internships. For full information, please click here.

Southern Energy Management (SEM), the Southeast’s leading provider of sustainable energy solutions, is seeking a full-time Client Resource Specialist and a temporary Solar PV Technician to join their Building Performance team. Both positions will be based out of their Morrisville, NC office.

The Client Resource Specialist will interact with potential and existing customers to generate sales opportunities. A strong commitment to sustainable energy and dedication to the longer-term vision of SEM is a must. SEM offers competitive salaries and an outstanding benefits package to full-time regular team members including health insurance and 401(k). To view the listing, please click here.

The Solar PV Technician position is project-based and temporary. The Solar PV Technician will work with SEM’s fast-growing Solar Operations team. This job does not include any benefits. To view the listing, please click here.

Any listing above does not constitute an endorsement by the Green Builder® Coalition. We do not have any professional or financial stake in the preceding information. Rather, we provide this solely for the benefit of those seeking employment.


Train of ThoughtTrain of Thought

What’s Your Motive?

There are cities, regions and states that make sustainable decisions all the time. Whether it’s Maryland or California, Black Hawk County, IA or Vail, CO, jurisdictions are choosing to hold the building industry accountable for the structures we build. The technology and methods are readily available to build responsible, energy efficient homes.

Yet we still see a backlash towards sustainability in certain corners of America. The latest example occurred at the 2015 IECC hearings in Dallas. As detailed elsewhere in this newsletter, a proposal from NAHB reducing the energy efficiency of new homes was approved. If it makes it through the final action hearings and, more importantly, the ICC Board’s review, we would see an unprecedented regression of the model energy code. It would be the equivalent of wadding up the 2012 energy code, throwing it in the back of Marty McFly’s DeLorean, setting the time circuits to 2006 and then driving 88 MPH.

Cost is always viewed as the cop-out, I mean, culprit, when creating reason statements against sustainability. But, in my opinion, that’s too broad a term. It should be clarified to, “price tag of home”. Because when you examine the total cost of homeownership, the utility costs (which don’t go away, unlike a mortgage) can be significant. Energy efficiency reduces that cost. What do homeowners really care about: the price tag of the home or what comes out of their pockets on a monthly basis?

So what’s the real motive here? Is it to keep that price tag $3/5/7k lower, depending on house size, than what it could be? (FYI: That translates to a $8.33/$13.88/$19.44 per month increase over a 30-year mortgage.) Is it the “not my problem” theory, where those currently living will be long gone before things really get bad? Is it simply a desire to get re-elected, no matter the ultimate cost? Fear of the unknown? Is it the hope that someone, someday, somehow will figure out a way to undo the mess we’re making of the planet? Or maybe people really believe the Koch brothers and think all this sustainability talk is garbage and we can carry on as if it were 1955. (We’d need that DeLorean again.)

Of course, there are people who strive to see a higher standard of construction. For some, they’re motivated by just plain old common decency. For others, who construct buildings that are meant to last decades, they (gasp!) actually take the long view. Perhaps some believe in the courtesy of borrowing something and returning it even better than it was received.

A highly honorable goal, and a motive I wish more used, is consideration for the children or grandchildren of the world, naïve and innocent and completely unaware of the magnitude of the decisions our industry makes today. The young have no say at a code hearing, but when you think about it, they should. They’ll have to live with the consequences of our actions longer than we will.

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