To: Jack Goldman
From: HPBA Pacific
Re: Cal Green & Hearth & Home Technologies
HPBA Pacific represents California, Nevada and Hawaii with most of our Government Affairs time spent on regulations in the state of California. Many issues begin here and spread to the rest of the country. The NetZero issue began here and this affiliate is vigorously working on that initiative with John Crouch and other National HPBA staff.
California Green Building Standards Code (known as CalGreen) was developed through the Department of Housing and Community Development, the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, the California Energy Commission, and the Building Standards Commission. The purpose of this code is to improve public health, safety and general welfare by enhancing the design and construction of buildings through the use of building concepts that reduce negative impact or positive environmental impact and encourage sustainable construction practices.
HPBA Pacific had an opportunity to submit new/revised language pertaining to fireplaces since there is concern that some of our industry’s products were threatened. The new Cal Green language would take effect January 1, 2013. HPBA and HPBA Pacific had worked together on several aspects of the short section that dealt with Hearth Products. In addition to clarifying several aspects of the language, we had been able to advance the inclusion of “EPA Qualified” in this code. This language would not have preempted local Air District regulations, but it would have been the first recognition of this new product category in a state wide code. In a few jurisdictions, this language would have explicitly allowed the new Qualified Fireplaces to be installed.
In early August, at an Energy Committee meeting, during the discussion of our language, a representative of HHT objected. In response, the staff of the Dept of Housing and Community Development (HCD), tabled the section with our language as it suddenly appeared that we were an industry divided. HCD decided to drop all the important revisions dealing with Qualified Fireplaces that the affiliate had worked on for the prior two years. Their decision was to revert back to old language and not make any of our desired changes except for a simple Direct Vent definition that was added. The HCD action was directly due to the confusion that HHT had caused in that meeting. HCD was confused why one of HPBA’s members would so drastically differ with their other members of the association.
Many hours of staff, volunteer, and consultant time were used to draft and present the version that HBPA Pacific believed was in the associations’ best interest. Flights, in-person meetings taking place in Sacramento, phone calls, email communication, and billable hours of consultant time were spent. The process and notification of HPBA Pacific and national staff’s activities on this were well and repeatedly broadcast in newsletters (both print and email) to members, non-members, distributors, and manufacturers. It is HPBA Pacific’s position to be fuel neutral so the inclusion of other products in this code, like Qualified Fireplaces, which would benefit our members and their customers, made sense to the Pacific BOD’s.
HPBA Pacific wishes to express our extreme disappointment with the actions of HHT and make known the substantial difficulties caused by the company. There was ample time and open channels for HHT to come to HPBA & HPBA Pacific to express its point of view. Such an open exchange, earlier in the process, may have resulted in language acceptable to all and – most importantly – would not have damaged the perception of HPBA as a spokesman for the industry in future actions of the HCD.