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Four Questions for Ellis Guiles

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During the ACCA Annual Conference, the association launched its new Building Performance Council (BPC). The BPC is the second council within ACCA that will focus on a specific market segment. To give you a better feel for the council, we asked Ellis Guiles of TAG Mechanical Services in Syracuse, NY, chairman of the new council, a few questions.

Why do you feel it was time for this new BPC?

There’s an increasing interest in being sustainable and energy efficient. Our building environment holds the greatest opportunity for the United States and other developed countries to substantially reduce our energy and greenhouse gas emission footprint. It also represents a tremendous job creation opportunity, as well because we’ll need well trained people to identify improvement opportunities, implement those opportunities, and then provide ongoing maintenance so the improvements continue to provide benefit going forward.

What would you like to see the BPC accomplish in the next 12 months?

I’d like to see the Construction/Remodeling industry come together to support a unified, consistent message to consumers (home and building owners), which encourages them to seriously consider and take advantage of the existing knowledge base that supports healthy, safe, comfortable, and energy efficient buildings. When we think about the positive impacts that can be obtained by simply increasing the existing market penetration by 1 percent when there are 130 million single family homes and 78 billion square feet of commercial space; it’s just a no brainer. Rather than looking out for our own self interest, I believe a collaborative marketing approach, by industry leaders (manufacturers  wholesalers/distributors, and contractors) can and will result in substantial job creation (through diagnosis of opportunities, implementation of those opportunities, and continuing preventive maintenance), healthier buildings (lower healthcare costs), more comfortable buildings (improved productivity and learning), and lower energy usage (lower greenhouse gases).

So the membership has a better idea about who you are, what would you say are the best reasons for being in the building performance market segment?

To put it simply — it’s just good business. It opens up opportunities to be the “professional” of choice when it comes to looking at how a home or building can be improved. We (building performance contractors) understand how building systems work together to deliver superior environments and experiences to the owner and occupants of these buildings.

What is the most bizarre thing you have come across during an installation or service call and how did you handle it?

I wouldn’t call it the most bizarre, but instead would say the “most disappointing.” We provided an analysis of a building where the chiller plant had never worked right, from day 1 for 10 years. This to me is disheartening, because it says that we as design and construction professionals aren’t doing our jobs the way we should. That a building could be allowed to operated, at less than what its intended design was, for 10 years is scary. Who knows how many lost productivity days, lab tests (the building is a medical research facility), health issues, etc. were increased simply because the chiller plant couldn’t be operated as it was designed. Fortunately we were able to identify the problem(s), provide methods of fixing them, and helped the facility create a pathway so they could ultimately get what they originally paid for … a working system.

Posted In: Building Performance

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