27 April 2020
Plan to join the CVC Success Group April 27 through May 1, 2020 as we continue our free virtual training presentations with CEUs for the coming week. Read on for the details of each class we will present live in the coming week. Our webinars are presented for the training of the industry workforces.
Sales Training Monday, April 27, 2 PM EST
Join the Retail Guys Training with instructor Tim Reed presenting his program entitled “Win More Showroom Sales” a perfect class for anyone in sales or sales management, with a showroom or for those who operate without a showroom. So even if you don’t have a showroom the tactics Tim will share will be a benefit for you.
To register for the free class, click the link https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3389727684660026640. Once you submit, you will receive your private link to attend the session.
Gas Training Wednesday, April 29, 2 PM Eastern Time
This will be another gas training with industry veteran Bob Wise teaching live. You can ask your questions of Bob during the interactive presentation. This class will be one that will provide you answers on how to address field issues you may encounter during installations, service calls, and callbacks.
To join the class, simply click the link https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2732416543831406096. Once you submit, you will receive your private link to join the class as it goes live at 2 PM Wednesday, April 29.
Chimney Training Thursday, April 30, 2 PM Eastern Time
This will be a course for anyone in the chimney industry. This will be presented by Jerry Isenhour & Tom Urban. In this class we will be sharing methods of how service technicians will communicate and do their jobs in the new next of the changes the market will require.
To attend this class, simply click the link https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1757912791063879184.
Office Training Friday, May 1, 2 PM Eastern Time
This will be a presentation of The History of Chimney Service In America. This class is a documentary of the chimney service industry and can relate how technology has changed the industry. An excellent class for any member of the chimney and hearth industries to increase their understanding of where we have been and where we are going.
To join the class, click the link https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5923380707056150544. You will receive a private link to join the class will be emailed directly to you.
All CVC Success Group live training is conducted using GoToWebinar, attendance at classes is tracked electronically, and CEUs are provided utilizing a code word system. Upon completion of a class, once you have submitted your code words and request for CEUs, CVC will prepare an attendance certificate that is sent to you and filed with the certifying agency you are certified by.
CAN’T MAKE THE CLASS?
The CVC live classes are recorded and then stored in the CVC Base Camp library of courses joining the over 600 courses that are in the CVC Library. Want more information, simply click on www.cvcbasecamp.com or contact us at email@example.com and we will forward your information on how to subscribe, with learner seats starting at $39.00 a month for 60 days, it is the most cost-effective online learning platform available.
We are CVC Success Group, and we are here to assist industry members through these challenging times. If you have ideas on how we can provide this assistance, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We are all in this together!
16 April 2020
I found this article and thought I would share it in light of the Webinar Series by Tim Reed, Creating a Digital Sales System, that Northeast HPBA is offering to our members. This excerpt is very insightful and talks about how retailers and small businesses must Adapt to Shifts in Digital Consumption.
The part of the article that I found most valuable begins below:
COVID “has changed the way we internet” showing a significant shift in behavior from mobile to desktop. It's essential to ensure that all marketing messages are consistent between channels and optimized for both mobile and desktop.
More desktop time also means higher email open rates. It's a good time to continue emailing your customers as long as the messaging is considerate, provides real value, and is in touch with the current situation. Now is not the time to drive a sense of urgency around nonessential items.
Take a “crisis approach” to measurement. Create new, more frequent reporting based on the most up-to-date results you can derive. Comparing year-over-year or month-over-month results won't provide an accurate picture of digital marketing performance. Instead, build a day-over-day report beginning March 9. Watch higher-funnel metrics (e.g., engagement rates, click-through rates, brand search volume) at a channel and campaign level so that you can quickly evaluate what’s working and what's not.
Adjust your messaging to show care and respect for the customer’s constantly changing situation. More than ever, we need to be customer-first, and this means understanding what customers are going through right now. Retailers should be aware of the torrent of troubling headlines and support messaging that emphasizes an understanding of the customer’s current needs or mind-set. Review every piece of creative to ensure that it reflects that understanding.
It’s not just a matter of being careful in how you message around COVID — there's also an opportunity to extend a welcome hand by finding creative ways to bring your customer service experience to digital platforms. For example, many home décor brands are offering online interior design consultation as a way to stay connected to customers. Consider ways to shift in-person customer interactions and services online with a focus on providing value to best customers.
Take the Reigns
Above all, know that now is not the time to cut back arbitrarily. Never walk away from communicating with your best customers and best prospects. The retailers that act nimbly and decisively today can uncover unique opportunities to maintain those critical relationships in a time of rapid change and upheaval.
You can RSVP to our webinar series with Tim Reed here. Contact Karen@NEHPBA.org for access to the first webinar in the series.
Read the full article here
27 March 2020
Many businesses have been asking what they can do to get the necessary funds they need to keep their businesses in operation. Many have also asked if they should "lay off" all of their employees, or if they have other potential options.
The purpose of this post is to provide you with a few potential options in dealing with the above issues:
SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans
As the coronavirus pandemic prompts disaster declarations at the state and county level, small businesses and not-for-profits in those areas can apply online for low-interest loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
An SBA Section 7(b) Economic Injury Disaster Loan provides up to $2 million to help business with fewer than 500 employees pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that can’t be paid due to the loss of revenue caused by a declared disaster. The loans cannot be used to cover lost profits.
The interest rates for the loans are 3.75% for small businesses and 2.75% for not-for-profits. The SBA determines terms on a case-by-case basis, based on each borrower’s capacity for making monthly loan repayments. The maximum loan term is 30 years.
The loans also offer a one-year deferment on payments. This means that the first payment isn’t due until a year after the official date of the loan. However, interest starts accruing on the loan the moment the funds are disbursed.
Please click this link to learn more and apply SBA Loan Application
Employee Related Issues
Many clients have also asked what their options are with employees besides laying them off. The IRS is coming our with various tax credits to assist with the payment of workers impacted by the Corona Virus.
The IRS has established a special section focused on steps to help taxpayers, businesses and others affected by the coronavirus. We have been told that this page will be updated as new information is available. Please click this link to learn about these programs IRS Employee Wage Programs
Looming Tax Return Deadlines
At this point in time the IRS has also extended the due date of all income tax returns, and tax payments due on April 15, 2020 until July 15, 2020.
We hope that you follow the recommendations of health officials and stay safe through this unsettling time.
Questions? Contact NEHPBA.
Info from Napoleon/Christopher R. Lambert & Associates
17 March 2020
HPBA is aware of the impact of COVID-19 closures on retailers, especially those who may still have Step 1 products in stock. As businesses limit operating hours, HPBA will be reaching out to Congress to urge relief due to these exceptional circumstances. It may be possible to get additional time for product sell-through, but we need your immediate help in order to do so.
What You Need to Do
Send an email to Rachel Feinstein (Feinstein@hpba.org) by 3:00 pm EDT Thursday, March 19 with the following information:
Unless and until any extension is passed, the legal deadline remains May 15, 2020. If you have any question, feel free to contact Northeast HPBA or HPBA.
14 February 2020
John Crouch, HPBA Government Affairs, sent me this article and I found it interesting. It's long, but I've highlighted the sections that I found the most pertinent and interesting. Can common sense prevail? We'll see....
Washington — State regulators were served a strong dose of skepticism Sunday about municipal bans on natural gas hookups in new buildings from parties concerned about the consumer costs and the wisdom of setting key energy policies outside the state utility regulation construct.
Depending on how widespread it becomes, the wave of bans, as well as other incentives for building electrification, could have broad implications for the residential fuel mix and the future of gas distribution infrastructure and demand.
"My experience has been that the city councils aren't necessarily the source of balanced information, just and reasonable cost estimates, all the things that are part of the utility regulatory framework that makes determinations on the capital infrastructure investments," said Timothy Simon, a former California Public Utility Commission member.
Simon, who currently represents several local distribution companies, was among panelists urging caution about the bans during a staff gas subcommittee meeting at the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners winter policy summit.
While residential energy use makes up only 7% of California's carbon dioxide emissions, "it's gaining the ire and the attack of city councils across my great state," he said. The "real culprit" in his view is transportation, which makes up 41% of CO2 emissions and is concentrated around big rig diesel trucks. Those trucks "generally don't run through Bel Air and Beverly Hills, he said. "They generally are running by black and brown communities that are in industrial sections near ports of entry and other areas."
Beginning with a ban in Berkeley, California, municipal gas bans have spread through California and appeared in the Boston area and Washington state.
Bill Malcolm, senior legislative representative from AARP, said that while his group does not favor one type of fuel over another, it has raised questions in several states about rate impacts for low and moderate income residents.
"I just checked the numbers and natural gas is now at $1.85/MMBtu, and just to put that in perspective, in 2012 it was actually $12/MMBtu," he said. "So where is the new power for the new load going to come from?" he said.
In Connecticut, for instance, AARP filed comments questioning whether incentives to install electric heat pumps over gas furnaces would benefit ratepayers and whether it would drive up peak power demand, he noted.
What role state regulators will play in the debate is "the multi-billion question that will most likely be settled by the courts," said Andreas Thanos, a Massachusetts regulator who chairs the NARUC gas staff subcommittee, when reached by email.
While PUCs grant the franchise allowing an LDC to go into a town or city, municipalities are using their bylaws to implement the bans. "So the PUCs will most likely not weigh in on the issue until the courts decide," he said.
Dianne Solomon, a New Jersey Board of Public Utilities commissioner, said she also sees a movement by states to empower their departments of environmental protection to "get into this space, take it out of the hands of the utility regulators and suggest that all projects going forward would have to have some environmental impact."
Several state regulators suggested green groups have had the more effective messaging thus far.
"I have heard a lot from the environmental advocates, Sierra Club and what have you, saying why we should have the natural gas bans," said Greer Gillis, a member of the Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia, adding it was important to get the views aired in the room out into the mainstream.
Judith Schwartz, a former utility commissioner from Palo Alto, where a municipal "reach code" encouraging all electric construction was adopted, contended "while the intentions are good, the reality of what [gas bans] are doing is minimal." During the winter "you have natural gas and imports making up the shortfall of every single hour of the day," she said.
Still, speaking from the audience, David Kolata with the Citizens Utility Board of Illinois, said he believed the issue was more complicated than the dialogue Sunday suggested.
"It's pretty clear that in every blue state, we're going to need to deliver a plan" that keeps the increase in temperatures due to climate change under 2 degrees Celsius, he said, with the modeling showing the need to decarbonize electricity, heating and transportation.
"Given that, how do we think about this from a consumer advocate point of view, where money spent on natural gas right now and natural gas infrastructure could very well be stranded?" he said.
5 February 2020
We are seeing an increasing number of jurisdictions seriously talking about converting their communities to all-electric homes. These efforts are failing to consider key issues.
1. Many communities reference solar energy as a viable option for homes without discussing the challenges. Solar electricity generation is great during the day, but without widespread electrical storage, taking advantage of that electricity is difficult. We don’t often see mention of the associated cost of not just the solar panels, but also necessary electrical storage.
There must be a discussion about the demand curve of electricity. This curve shows the modest demand for electricity in the day (people getting ready in the morning), the demand drop-off during the middle of the day (people are away from home, but solar is plentiful, weather permitting), and then the steep ramp-up in electricity demand in the evening (people return home, preparing meals, heating homes, etc.). The fluctuations of the demand curve will become steeper with a higher demand for electricity brought on by all-electric homes. Storage options will help mitigate this demand, but they are expensive, and history has shown that most people who opt for solar do not add storage, usually due to high costs.
Solar will be limited in its practicality depending on location and climate. In sunnier areas with clear lines of sight, solar is a good option for supplementing energy. In snow country, poor weather, or limited visibility (trees, nearby buildings, etc.), solar does not produce at optimal levels, if at all.
2. Electricity is not known for its resiliency during winter storms or other emergency situations. Without storage, if the power goes out, you have no power to heat, cook, or bathe if you depend on grid electricity, which the vast majority of consumers do. With natural gas or propane, you have much better resiliency for an energy source. Even if the gas-burning central furnace won’t run during a power outage because it relies on electricity to run the fan, your gas fireplaces, gas stovetops, and gas hot water heaters all continue to operate.
3. Related to the last point, we must think about the expected increased electrical rate costs. If everyone moves to a single fuel source, the demand is higher, which in-turn will very likely increase the cost. The electricity generated during the day via solar has minor value, as electricity is not in demand then. With most utilities having moved, or moving, to a Time Of Use (TOU) billing model for electricity, the highest energy in demand (during the evening) will also be the most expensive.
4. One of the primary reasons to move to all-electric homes is to lower carbon dioxide emissions. However, unless the electricity is coming directly from a renewable resource (solar panels, wind, hydro, etc.), it will be coming from a central power plant. Central power plants have very low efficiency rates – far lower than most residential furnaces or room heaters. On average, the highest efficiency rate for a natural gas-burning power plant is about 43%, with coal, oil, and nuclear efficiencies being even lower (31-33%)1. When you consider that residential gas-burning furnaces operate at a minimum of 80-82% efficiency, and then only as needed, it’s clear that fewer emissions are created from homes heated with natural gas than all-electric homes which draw from central power plants.
There is a bias evident in this effort to promote electrification. We’ve seen articles that say that 45% of carbon dioxide emissions are from electricity and heat in Canada, but if you look closer at the data, we find that only 6% is from homes using natural gas. The rest is from industrial, manufacturing, municipal and commercial. These sources will certainly be affected by changing to electrification, but the impact will be seen and felt differently. Focusing on converting homes to all-electric is an expensive proposition for the homeowner and not necessarily the best choice for the environment.
Studies show that electrification will cause price increases. It could be the increased cost to buy a new home due to new technologies will drive even more people out of the homebuyer market with five-figure increases. But electrification will also raise the cost for an average household by between $750 and $910 per year, just based on normal use of electricity from the grid.
Consumers deserve to be able to make their own decisions on how they heat their homes and cook their meals. Electrification not only removes that consumer choice, but also could shut the door to new and promising technological advances like renewable natural gas.
It’s time for everyone to understand the full cost of electrification.
For more information, contact NEHPBA.
23 January 2020
Here is an update on Net Zero/Gas Ban Events around New England and New York. Is Northeast HPBA missing anything? Is there anything we don't know about that is happening in your area that we need to know? Contact us!
There are 240 towns out of 311 towns in MA considering this stretch code.
Right now NEHPBA is Networking with: Plumbers Union, VP of Government Affairs and VP of Communications with National Grid, Community Relations Specialist at Eversource, Director at Eversource, President of the Union for Eversource, New England Gas Workers Alliance, PROGANE (Propane Gas of New England), Regional AGA affiliate, Massachusetts Chimney Sweeps, BBRS, numerous building inspectors in MA, NAIOP, National Grid in RI.
If there are any introductions you can make in your area, no matter how big or small, please introduce me via email or phone. Contact NEHPBA with any questions. Like our Facebook page to stay up-to-date!
Image: Sen Markey Green New Deal Town Hall
20 December 2019
What products qualify?
21 November 2019
Fossil fuels are out following the second night of Brookline’s special Town Meeting.
Town Meeting members passed Article 21, which will prohibit the use of fossil fuel infrastructure in new construction and significant renovations in town.
“This warrant article is not the whole answer, but it represents a start” in reaching Brookline’s stated 2050 carbon neutral goal, said Town Meeting member Cornelia van der Ziel.
“When you’re in a hole, the first thing is to stop digging,” State Rep. Tommy Vitolo said; this warrant article takes away the shovel, he added.
The bylaw passed overwhelmingly, with 210 votes in favor.
“This is a historic day for the community of Brookline and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,” TMM, architect and article co-sponsor Lisa Cunningham said in a Mothers Out Front press release following the vote.
She added, “I hope this demonstrates to parents and citizens across the country that they also have the power to move their communities to a clean energy future.”
The bylaw does include some exemptions, allowing fossil fuel infrastructure needed for backup generators, restaurant kitchens and medical offices, among other uses.
The action was urgently needed, co-petitioner and architect Kathleen Scanlon said in the same Mothers Out Front press release.
“We cannot install new gas infrastructure that will last 30 years, past the time that we have committed to achieving zero emissions,” Scanlon said. “This decision will move us away from new oil and gas infrastructure when it’s convenient and possible to do so. It’s a step in the right direction for Brookline and for our climate.”
Town Meeting picks up again on Thursday, Nov. 21.
13 November 2019
Trends are changing, seasonal distinctions are becoming less clear, and the boundaries of hearth, patio, and barbecue products are overlapping. The ever-evolving consumer demand for the latest in indoor-outdoor living has created new, year-round business opportunities, and HPBExpo 2020 is the most efficient, informative, and exciting place to get ahead of these emerging trends and meet the people that could jump start an entire year’s worth of sales. It all happens in New Orleans—the city that celebrates the very indoor-outdoor living experiences that your business brings to life.
REGISTER NOW at hpbexpo.com/register
6 November 2019
This is a very interesting article regarding wood burning in the US. At NEHPBA, we think this article is worth the read, especially in light of the Net Zero conversation sweep the Northeast and the Pacific Northwest. See the article below:
The US Industrial Pellet Association (USIPA) today lauded a recent letter signed by more than 100 scientists from more than 50 colleges and universities citing the benefits of wood energy. The letter, published by the National Association of University Forest Resource Programs (NAUFRP), calls on policymakers to consider key fundamentals related to forest biomass.
Emphasizing that research on the use of forest biomass dates back to the 1980s, the scientists noted that the "carbon benefits of sustainable forest biomass are well established." The letter also cites a report from United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which notes:
"In the long term, a sustainable forest management strategy aimed at maintaining or increasing forest carbon stocks, while producing an annual sustained yield of timber, fibre or energy from the forest, will generate the largest sustained mitigation benefit."
The scientists also emphasized research showing that "demand for wood helps keep land in forest and incentivizes investments in new and more productive forests, all of which have significant carbon benefits."
Reacting to the report, Seth Ginther, USIPA Executive Director, commented:
"This is a resounding statement of academic consensus on the benefits of renewable wood energy. The value of biomass energy production in lowering carbon emissions and supporting healthy forests is well-documented through decades of peer-reviewed research. This letter underscores exactly what we are hearing from the UN IPCC: that sustainably-sourced wood biomass is an essential technology to fight climate change and limit global temperature rise to 1.5C."
Reviewing more than 30 years of scientific research on forest biomass utilization, scientists from a diverse range of universities across the country – from Yale, Harvard, and Georgia to Washington, Idaho, and Berkeley -- identified four fundamentals for science-based decision-making on biomass energy production:
The carbon benefits of sustainable forest biomass energy are well established.Measuring the carbon benefits of forest biomass energy must consider cumulative carbon emissions over the long term. An accurate comparison of forest biomass energy carbon impacts with those of other energy sources requires the use of consistent time frames in the comparison.Economic factors influence the carbon impacts of forest biomass energy.
"We would encourage all policy-makers to heed the recommendations of these university scientists when considering the role of wood energy in reducing carbon and lowering emissions," said Ginther. "The scientific consensus is clear and continues to strengthen: forest biomass is a critical part of an all-in renewables solution for climate change."
About NAUFRP The NAUFRP was formed in 1981 to provide university-based natural resource education, research, science, extension and international programs promoting American forest health. Today, NAUFRP represents 80 universities and their respective scientists, educators and extension specialists.
About USIPA USIPA is a not-for-profit trade association promoting sustainability and safety practices within the US wood energy industry. We advocate for the wood energy sector as a smart solution to climate change, and we support renewable energy policy development around the globe. Our members represent all aspects of the wood pellet export industry, including pellet producers, traders, equipment manufacturers, bulk shippers, and service providers.
View original content here.
SOURCE US Industrial Pellet Association
29 October 2019
•Max of six retail company teams to compete from different regions in US
•All retailer teams are to bring their ingredients needed for the judge’s plates, which HPBA will reimburse up to $400 onsite. This can include any sauces, marinades, spices, etc.
•Retailer teams are not allowed to bring any precooked or marinated food. All food must be prepared on the Big Green Eggs. All prep must happen during competition.
•Each retailer team can consist of a total of two representatives from their company to participate and compete.
•Each team will have two grills to use that will be preheated. Proper time will be allotted for training on usage of the eggs.
•Each team will have up to an hour to prepare 4 plates (one for each of the three judges and a beauty plate for photos) along with some bite size samples to disperse to the attendees. Out of the budget provided, $200 should go towards ingredients for judge’s plates and $200 towards samples.
•Each team will draw a number to determine the timing that their plates, for the judges, must be turned in and when there start time takes place. Each team will have a total of an hour to prepare the food. First team starts at 5:00pm.
•Plates will be turned in by teams in 5-minute intervals based on their number (team drawing #1 to turn in their plate first and team with #6 to turn in their plate last) starting at 6:00 pm. The last chef will turn their plates in to judges at 6:30 pm.
•Announcement of winner and presentation of award will take place at 6:35 pm.
•The cook-off ends approx. around 6:45 pm.
•Teams can provide their own utensils, but a supply of equipment will be provided for usage.
•A cleaning sink area will be in place if needed.
•Teams will be judged based on overall appearance, taste, and tenderness.
•Teams must have company branding/identification on their uniform attire.
•An Emcee will be spending time with the teams during the cook-off.
•Teams must be onsite at 3:30 pm for proper training of equipment and to get set.
•One award will be presented based on judge’s votes.
•Winning Team receives two Big Green Eggs along with an award and major bragging rights!
Need more information? Contact Karen@nehpba.org or Kelly at HPBA email@example.com
15 October 2019
On Thursday, October 24th both the Northeast HPBA Executive Director and our President (Joel Etter, HHT), along with members of HPBA’s Board of Directors, North American Government Affairs Committee, and the other Affiliate Staff and Leaders will meet with legislators and their staff on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.
HPBA members will be promoting legislation that would create a federal changeout program fund, legislation that would extend the biomass stove tax credit, and introducing our industry to legislators and staff who may not know our industry very well. Be on the lookout for stories and pictures from our Day on the Hill!
9 October 2019
There are so many reasons to being a member of NEHPBA! Here are just a few!
1. Enjoy Cost Savings Benefits on insurance, computers, shipping, credit card processing, business coaching, technical training, marketing, and advertising, saving members hundreds of dollars each year.
2. Complimentary tickets to the HPBExpo.
3. Receive discounts on HPB Education Foundation courses and NFI certifications.
4. Promote Your business to consumers via the Online Member Directory and HPBA Member Store Locator.
5. Benefit from HPBA’s Consumer Campaigns that include traditional and social media.
6. Access vital industry information and consumer use and awareness with HPBA’s online Market Research Reports.
7. Stay up to date on legislation and regulation affecting your business with HPBA’s Government Affairs Team.
7. Expand your company’s reach via HPBA Affiliates. HPBA’s 13 regional trade associations support the hearth industry at the local, state and regional level with services, educational opportunities, and legislative monitoring.
8. Stay informed with HotNews, HPBA’s monthly newsletter, and Newscast, featuring weekly articles on hearth and outdoor living products.
1 October 2019
Throughout October, National Fireplace Month, the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association is helping consumers prepare for the height of fireplace––and freestanding stove––season by emphasizing fireplace safety and promoting cleaner burning appliances. The crispness of fall air is a reminder that the colder weather and holidays are coming, a chance to spend quality time with family and friends around a glowing fire.
HPBA will be participating in Fire Prevention Week from October 9–15. Some tips for enjoying fireplaces and hearth products safely:
On October 19, HPBA will also be participating in the fourth-annual National Bioenergy Day to increase awareness about just how cleanly wood and pellet appliances burn. Spearheaded by the Biomass Power Association, HPBA is pleased to help fund the event.
HPBA’s October activities are part of a larger effort through February 2017 to educate consumers about the array of fireplace, stove, and other product options available. HPBA will be featuring tips and general information throughout the hearth season on both its Facebook and Twitter channels. Later in 2016, HPBA is releasing its upgraded website with an enhanced area for consumers to find safety tips and learn about the different types of products, and more.
Market research is another way that HPBA provides public education for the hearth industry. On September 16, HPBA released key findings of its biannual survey of decision-making homeowners: the 2016 Hearth Ownership and Market Potential Study. Balanced against the U.S. Census, the study was implemented by surveying homeowners throughout North America on their experiences in relation to factory-built fireplaces, stoves, and fireplace inserts.
26 September 2019
Why should you become a member of the Northeast HPBA? Here is what one of our very satisfied, and long time members had to say:
"We had an issue regarding the interpretation of regulations related to the installation of direct vent appliances so we called NEHPBA to ask for their help. Karen Luther quickly grasped the issue and thru her industry contacts the issue was quickly resolved. Thanks again to Karen and the NEHPBA. We appreciate your responsiveness when we needed you! It's a plus for our industry to have a voice supporting our interests. Everyone in the hearth product industry should be a member!" -
Randy Titsworth, Owner - The Fireplace Showcase, Seekonk, MA
Interested in joining the NEHPBA or have some questions? Contact us!
17 September 2019
A newly-proposed bylaw would prohibit installation of new gas or oil piping in major construction, defined as new developments and significant building rehabilitations or additions. This would prevent developers from installing appliances reliant on fossil fuels, including certain boilers, furnaces and cooktops.
“When we make a new investment in gas heat, gas hot water and other gas appliances, we are lighting fires that burn on and off for decades,” said Town Meeting Member Jesse Gray, who is petitioning the warrant article.
Speaking at a community feedback session Aug. 22, he cited the town’s goal to be emissions-free by 2050: “In Brookline, we’ve said that these fires have to be put out by 2050. So if we continue to put in new fossil fuel infrastructure in Brookline, our goal would require it to be ripped out, potentially prior to its useful end-of-life.”
Retrofitting could be more expensive and more of a hassle than just installing electric appliances to begin with, he said.
He called the proposed bylaw an “essential step” in achieving zero emissions in Brookline’s building sector.
“If we assume that half a percent of our building stock is built or rehabilitated every year, then this bylaw alone could result in 15 percent of our buildings operating climate-neutral by 2050,” Gray said.
Even with those goals, the warrant article has a ways to go before it becomes Brookline law. The proposed bylaw will be filed with the town by Aug. 29, when the warrant for the November special Town Meeting closes. TM members will then debate and vote on whether to amend the town’s General By-Laws.
In two community feedback sessions, one on Aug. 20 and one on Aug. 22, developers, property owners, building trade professionals and members of the public were invited to ask questions and make suggestions. Many questions focused on how the bylaw would be implemented, and what technology could be used in the process.
Some attendees also raised concerns about how the ban on new fossil fuel infrastructure would impact restaurants reliant on gas cooktops and stoves.
“A lot of people who are skeptical about cooking without gas haven’t tried induction cooking,” Gray said, adding, “It’s essentially superior to gas cooking and it’s been embraced by a lot of famous chefs in the area, including Ming Tsai and Barbara Lynch.”
Not only is induction cooking safer for kitchen staff, he said, it also keeps kitchens cooler and heats water faster.
Meanwhile, Chestnut Hill Realty’s Marc Levin expressed concerns about the bylaw’s impact on property owners and leasing companies.
“In the end, I think that a sophisticated cost-benefit analysis should be done, that this feels ... as though there hasn’t been a significant analysis of what the costs would be, what the economics would be and what the other heavy consequences may be,” he said.
Zoe Lynn, Brookline’s sustainability program administrator, acknowledged it is still early on in the process. “We’re early on in our climate planning, but we’re also early on in the warrant article,” she said.
Still at hand is the matter of exemptions — whether to allow certain projects to go around the bylaw, and which buildings to exempt.
According to Lynn, some analysis have made it clear that the bylaw may need to exempt large units that require a lot of hot water heating, such as homes or commercial buildings. The technology, she explained, isn’t cost effective. This would exempt, for example, Chestnut Hill Realty’s upcoming mixed-use Waldo-Durgin development, she said.
This is being put to vote on 11/19/19, November Special Town Meeting Begins!
Do you know of an issue in your town that we need to know about? Let us know so we can help fight!
Members of the Northeast Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (NEHPBA) and its regional Affiliates are the leading companies that produce, sell, or service appliances and accessories in the hearth and barbecue industries in North America. Join today to take advantage of all the benefits your company will receive.JOIN NOW
Servicing Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, Maine, New York
Copyright © 2020. Northeast Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association | All rights reserved.