This training initiative is sponsored by MassCEC and conducted by Abode Energy Management. This event is organized by USGBC MA. Collaborators include Mass Save utility partners.

Agenda and Workshop Tracks

General Agenda:

8:00 AM – 8:30 AM | Registration, Breakfast, and Networking
8:30 AM – 9:10 AM | 
Tech Snapshot: An Introduction to the Session Topics
9:15 AM – 10:40 AM | Workshop Session 1
10:45 AM – 12:15 PM | Workshop Session 2
12:15 PM – 1:00 PM | Lunch 
1:00 PM – 2:25 PM | Workshop Session 3 
2:30 PM – 3:55 PM | 
Workshop Session 4
4:00 PM – 4:15 PM | Refreshments
4:15 PM – 5:15 PM | Questions from the Stakeholder Panel

An Introduction to the Session Topics

Comfortable, sustainable, resilient, affordable, healthier, and self-generating homes are now possible.  Through innovation, information, policy, energy code, and technology, a generational change can take place on how we design and build our built environment.  We will review how we got to where we are today, explore what technologies are readily available, and discuss how best to use today’s event (Start Smart) to take part in this change.

Attendees will: 

  1. Gain a brief understanding of each of the cost-effective, readily deployable technologies that will be addressed in the subsequent sessions
  2. Learn the difference between low-load, net zero, and passive houses, and how these design choices will impact not just the selection of mechanical equipment but also the home’s impact for the next 100+ years
  3. Understand how our historic built environment contributes to climate change and how readily available technology combined with better building practices can solve this problem

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    Final Session: Interview the Experts

    Stakeholders will benefit from attending the preceding comprehensive and detailed sessions. There will not be adequate time to address and discuss all questions during each individual session. This larger session will provide an opportunity for a panel of stakeholders to pose essential technology-specific questions to the subject matter experts (SMEs). Time permitting, additional questions may be addressed at the end. 

    Attendees will:

    1. Fill gaps in understanding by hearing SMEs address questions that weren’t addressed in earlier sessions
    2. Gain a greater perspective of technology deployment by hearing the questions of other stakeholders
    3. Learn about the sessions they were unable to attend

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      Session 1: Fundamentals of Air Source Heat Pumps

      Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHPs) absorb heat from the air through a system of fluid-filled coils, condensers, and compressors. They offer a popular alternative to gas or electric heating systems by eliminating the use of fossil fuels in the home. They also have the added benefit of providing cooling as well as heating. This session will provide an overview of the mechanics of this alternative heating system, as well as discuss the advantages and disadvantages of installation, capabilities, and control.

      Attendees will:

      1. Learn how an Air Source Heat Pump works
      2. Understand the advantages and disadvantages of installation and control
      3. Understand the economic risks and benefits of ASHPs

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      Session 2: Fundamentals of Ground Source Heat Pumps

      Ground Source Heat Pumps (GSHPs), or geothermal, take advantage of the constant temperature of the ground to keep buildings comfortable. An alternative to gas or electric heating, GSHPs can help eliminate the use of fossil fuels in the home. Like ASHPs, they can heat, cool, and supply domestic hot water. This session will provide an overview of GSHP mechanics and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of their installation in new construction projects.

      Attendees will:

      1. Understand how a GSHP works
      2. Understand the advantages and disadvantages of installation and control
      3. Understand the economic risks and benefits of GSHPs

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        Session 3: Fundamentals of Solar PV

        Solar Photovoltaic (PV) is the technology that absorbs and converts sunlight into electricity through solar panels. It has become increasingly popular as technology advances and costs decrease. This session will provide an overview of Solar PV mechanics and capacity. It will also discuss the advantages and disadvantages of installation and control.

        Attendees will:

        1. Become familiar with how Solar PV works
        2. Understand the advantages and disadvantages of installation and control
        3. Become familiar with the economic risks and benefits of Solar PV

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        Session 4: Fundamentals of Solar Thermal

        Solar Thermal is the technology that captures heat from the sun and uses it to heat water. As technology advances and costs decrease, it is becoming an increasingly popular way to reduce fossil fuel use in the home. This session will provide an overview of Solar Thermal mechanics and capacity. It will also discuss the advantages and disadvantages of installation and control.

        Attendees will:

        1. Become familiar with how Solar Thermal technology works.
        2. Understand the advantages and disadvantages of installation and control
        3. Become familiar with the economic risks and benefits of this technology

        Session 1: Air Source Heat Pumps – Equipment

        There are several options when it comes to ASHPs, including wall-mounted, floor-mounted, and ducted central systems. This session will discuss the necessary equipment and best practices for each technology, especially installation and control measures. This session will also discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each technology.

        Attendees will:

        1. Understand the different types of ASHP equipment available today
        2. Become more comfortable with their installation procedures and control measures
        3. Become familiar with the advantages and disadvantages of different types of ASHPs in new construction projects

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        Session 2: Air Source Heat Pumps – Design

        The design of ASHP installations is vital for the effectiveness of the technology.  Too often, systems are designed with the wrong piece of equipment, which can lead to gross oversizing and disappointing performance.  We will explore how low-load homes affect ASHP design and learn how to size and design equipment that will improve customer satisfaction, decrease callbacks, and save money.

        Attendees will:

        1. Understand the design and sizing of ASHP systems
        2. Understand the best practices and resources for sizing
        3. Be able to model and manage system load requirements appropriately 

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          Session 3: Hydronics in 2020

          Policy and incentive trends, combined with more efficient home envelopes, are changing the types of HVAC requirements needed to effectively condition homes and provide domestic hot water. In this session, we will review emerging technology trends for HVAC and how they fit into residential new construction. Specific technologies to be covered include air-to-water, VRF, wood pellet boilers, and heat pump hot water heaters.

          Attendees will:

          1. Understand how emerging HVAC trends fit into new construction
          2. Understand how to implement these systems effectively in the Northeast climate
          3. Be able to compare the application of emerging technologies in new construction

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          Session 4: Heat Pump Case Studies

          This session will provide a platform for stakeholders to discuss their experiences, solicit advice, and express concerns about the different types of heat pumps showcased in earlier sessions, including ASHP, GSHP, and Air-to-Water Heat Pumps.

          Attendees will:

          1. Review different case studies
          2. Learn how other stakeholders have approached implementing these technologies
          3. Have the opportunity to share their own experiences

          Session 1: Selling Solar

          Solar is becoming more and more appealing as the technology improves and prices drop. However, because most of the savings aren’t seen immediately, it can be tricky selling such an investment to customers who don’t yet see the full picture. In this session, we will discuss strategies for effective marketing of solar technologies, including project proposals and advertising.

          Attendees will:

          1. Learn the common barriers stakeholders face when selling solar to customers
          2. Become more comfortable talking about solar options
          3. Learn strategies for effectively proposing the upfront costs and long-term return of solar installations

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          Session 2: Solar Ready vs. Solar Right

          Learn the steps and design choices that will enable a new construction project to supply 100% of its load through renewables. Together we will explore how suite conditions will affect the cost and production of going solar (“Solar Right”). When installing solar is not an immediate option, however, it is still necessary to take measures that ensure improvements can be made easily later (“Solar Ready”). This session will provide an explanation of the minimum requirements for installing solar technologies and review potential strategies for making it easy to retrofit your projects with solar. 

          Attendees will: 

          1. Understand the minimum code requirements for solar technology implementation
          2. Understand how to plan and execute projects that meet code minimum requirements
          3. Understand how to plan and execute projects so new homes can be easily retrofitted with solar technologies

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            Session 3: Electrification & Energy Storage

            Incentives available in Massachusetts make energy-efficient technologies attractive for many. However, it can be difficult to make the most cost-effective decisions for a project when there are so many incentive programs available. In this session, we will break down each of the incentive programs, including federal income tax credits (FITCs), alternative energy credits (AECs), MassCEC rebates, MassSave rebates, the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) program, and other state rebates. We will demystify these incentive programs and discuss how to navigate them in order to maximize both efficiency and savings.

            Attendees will:

            1. Become familiar with available incentives for the installation of energy-efficient technologies discussed at this conference
            2. Understand the challenges and potential solutions associated with navigating incentive programs
            3. Be able to take advantage of incentive programs to maximize both efficiency and savings on their projects

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            Session 4: Solar Case Studies 

            This session will provide a platform for stakeholders to discuss their experiences, solicit advice, and express concerns about the different types of solar technologies showcased in earlier sessions, including Solar PV and Solar Thermal.

            Attendees will:

            1. Review different case studies
            2. Learn how other stakeholders have approached implementing these technologies


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            *a small number of needs-based fee subsidies are available, contact [email protected] for more information.

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