Mechanical Insulation Marketing Initiative 2009 Activities and Accomplishments

Ronald L. King

Ron King is a Past President of NIA, the World Insulation and Acoustic Congress, and the Southwest Insulation Contractors Association. He was awarded the NIA’s President’s Award in 1986 and again in 2001. He is a 50-year veteran of the commercial and industrial insulation industry, during which time he held executive management positions at an accessory manufacturer and specialty insulation contractor. In 2004, he retired as the Chairman, CEO, and President of a large national insulation distributor/fabricator. He currently serves as a consultant to NIA on a variety of educational, outreach, and governmental initiatives, including coordinating many association alliance-partnership activities, serving as Chairman and Past Chairman, respectively, of the National Institute of Building Sciences’ National Mechanical Insulation Committee and Consultative Council, and as NIA’s liaison to the Federation of European Insulation Societies (FESI), which represents the European mechanical insulation market. He can be reached at RonKingRLK@aol.com.

April 1, 2010

In February 2009, the National Insulation Association (NIA) began efforts to expand awareness and support for increased use of mechanical insulation technology. Mechanical insulation has the potential to save over $4.8 billion in energy costs and 43 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, as well as create 89,000 green jobs per year in maintenance applications and simply going beyond the minimum current ASHRAE guidelines in new construction and retrofit applications.

In May 2009 NIA joined in an unprecedented alliance with the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers (International) to advocate for a public-private partnership to establish a national education and awareness program. Together, they are committed to working with Congress, the administration, federal and state agencies, industry trade organizations, and other stakeholder groups on this and other initiatives that will lead to greater energy efficiency and a cleaner environment nationwide.

By working to boost building and industrial energy efficiency, initiatives championed under the direction of NIA’s Foundation for Education, Training, and Industry Advancement and its Mechanical Insulation Marketing Initiative (MIMI) will increase energy savings, reduce emissions, and create sustainable green jobs.

The primary Capitol Hill objectives are:

  1. Secure funding to launch, execute, and manage a multiple-year national education and awareness campaign.
  2. Secure a tax incentive for mechanical insulation in the commercial and industrial markets’ new construction, retrofit, and maintenance segments.
  3. Raise the bar on codes and standards, including enforcement.

Many activities and accomplishments took place in 2009, including:

  • Conducted nearly 100 meetings on Capitol Hill. An additional 30 meetings have occurred in the first quarter of 2010.
  • Delivered 19,000 letters from NIA member companies and International members to Capitol Hill in support of the NIA/International initiatives. An additional 60,000 have been delivered in the first quarter of 2010.
  • Worked with Rep. Deborah Halvorson (D-IL) as she introduced a resolution for mechanical insulation in the House of Representatives.
  • Worked with Rep. Halvorson as a champion for mechanical insulation and in drafting language that was included in the House of Representatives’ Waxman-Markey energy bill to authorize $3.5 million a year for 5 years to enact a mechanical insulation education and awareness campaign.
  • Worked to designate $500,000 in the FY 2010 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill to jump-start the national education and awareness campaign.
  • Worked with Rep. Halvorson to introduce legislation creating a tax deduction to incentivize increased mechanical insulation use and maintenance (H.R. 4296, the Mechanical Insulation Installation Incentive Act of 2009), and continue to work with House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committee staff and others to explore its possible inclusion in an energy or jobs bill in 2010.
  • Met with Cathy Zoi, Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, and her top staff, in pursuit of a partnership with the Department of Energy.
  • Met with governors and state energy directors (KY, MT, NJ, OH, WA, and WV) to explore the best approach to ultimately take our campaign directly to the states.
  • Established contact with governmental affairs representatives of allied organizations (ASHRAE, ACEEE, NASEO, NAIMA, NRDC) and conducted four webinars to educate members of NIA and the International on our legislative activities and asks.
  • Executed a grassroots letter-writing campaign to bolster the tax incentive legislation promoting mechanical insulation.
  • Conducted presentations on our joint legislative initiative to the International’s annual convention.
  • Worked with a coalition of 27 organizations to make a recommendation for federal stimulus activities in the manufacturing sector, which included suggestions for $1 billion in grants for mechanical insulation upgrade and maintenance activities.
  • Finalized the DOE Industrial Technologies Program (ITP) Save Energy Now data and other new construction estimates related to “Going Beyond the Minimums.”
  • Joined the DOE’s Zero-Energy Commercial Buildings Consortium.
  • Met with the DOE ITP to present an overview of the proposed national education and awareness campaign.
  • Began developing a data-gathering process for information related to mechanical insulation in the commercial building sector.
  • Began work on potential inclusion of mechanical insulation in a jobs bill. Those efforts have since secured mechanical insulation’s place in the Building STAR program, which is supported and endorsed by over 60 organizations and companies and is part of the “Rebuilding America” campaign.
  • Met with the Thermal Insulation Association of Canada to discuss mutual opportunities and how NIA could help them achieve the same type of awareness campaign.
  • Provided ongoing Insulation Awareness and Insulation Energy Appraisal Program classes to 192 contractors and individuals.
  • Provided 44 mechanical insulation awareness presentations to 1,687 mechanical contractors and engineers, specifiers, facility maintenance managers, etc.

In 2010, NIA and the International continue to push forward with these initiatives, including a March 2010 congressional briefing on insulation before the House of Representatives, thanks to the outreach efforts with the Congressional High Performance Building Caucus.

All these activities are supported by the contributions of NIA’s Foundation supporters. If you are not already a supporter, consider becoming one. Whether you are a small company considering $1,000 or a very large company considering $100,000, your contribution will make a difference and give you a voice. For a contractor employing two or three people, $1,000 a year is a lot of money—but that $1,000 buys you a seat at the table. If you are a large company, you have always been expected to lead by example, and you stand to gain proportionally in the rewards. Yes, you may always feel you are contributing a larger share while others sit on the sidelines contributing little, if any. Take pride in being a leader and tell the world of your leadership role.

The fact remains that nothing will happen without industry support, whether it is financial or human resources, volunteerism, or just taking the time to contribute your views and support when asked and needed. Everyone can make a difference—one vote matters, and you can have your voice heard without attending every meeting. Commit, get involved, and help the industry gain its rightful place at the table and increase the opportunities to motivate industry growth.