The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) recently announced the recipients of the 2012 Leadership Awards, USGBC’s highest honors. The awards recognize outstanding individuals who embody the vision, leadership and commitment to the evolution of green buildings and communities.

Steve Saunders, CEO of Texas Energy Solutions/Tempo Partners, Dallas, TX, was one of those selected to receive the “Leadership in the Residential Sector Award.” The award was presented to Saunders in November 2012, during the USGBC’s Greenbuild International Conference and Expo, San Francisco, CA.

“When people ask me where are the hotbeds of green building, my first answer is Texas. We have a great deal of activity going on there,” said Nate Kredich, vice president of Residential Market Development, USGBC. He attributes much of the forward movement to Steve Saunders.

“A [USGBC] leadership award in the residential sector isn’t presented annually. The world of sustainability doesn’t have a huge number of luminaries that do things in the right way and carry the message forward effectively,” Kredich said. “USGBC honors Steve Saunders for leadership to advance LEED in the residential space, but also as a selfless advocate for energy efficiency and sustainability in Texas, for pushing forward the local program, area incentives, and statewide energy initiatives in Texas.”

Saunders’ employee-owned companies — TexEnergy Solutions, Tempo Mechanical Services, and US Eco Logic, Inc. — have registered 18,710 LEED homes/multi-family properties, just over 20% of all LEED for Homes registrations worldwide.

Tempo Mechanical was named the Contracting Business.com 2003 Residential HVAC Contractor of the Year (see bit.ly/tempocoy). In 2011, Tempo Mechanical won a CB Quality Home Comfort Award for excellence in residential HVAC contracting (see bit.ly/tempoqhca).

Saunders believes that advancing the company’s belief in the environment and green solutions translates into success for its business. His involvement in green building including co-founding and serving as chairman emeritus of Texas HERO, the statewide organization advocates for energy efficiency in new homes. He trains and certifies HERS (Home Energy Rating System) professionals for home energy audits. Saunders also helped to establish the Texas Green Home Summit, one of the state’s largest green building events, and the only one specifically produced for residential building professionals seeking practical solutions to today’s challenges, including water conservation and energy efficiency

“This award is really a tribute to the leadership commitment of our wonderful clients and the dedicated effort of my coworkers —two groups I’m proud to serve,” Saunders said. “I’m grateful to the USGBC — particularly to the LEED for Homes team — for building a terrific platform for residential sustainability.”

Saunders believes that environmental stewardship is a mega-trend.

“We all have two choices: figure out how to capitalize on it or get run over by it. I prefer to collaborate with people to work on the positive option.”

As for the future of green building, Saunders says energy efficiency for existing buildings is the next frontier.

“That makes the challenge and the opportunity even bigger,” he said. texenergy.org / tempoair.com / usecologic.com

Blackman Supply Says ‘Thank You’ to Mueller Industries

Blackman Plumbing Supply Co. Inc., Bayport, NY, has issued a letter thanking Mueller Industries, Memphis, TN, for the emergency supplies provided to Blackman in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

The letter reads, in part:

“Mueller’s timely response and extremely generous proliferation of resources was greatly appreciated and speak to the value of the great relationship between our two organizations. We would like to specifically acknowledge Greg Christopher who spearheaded this initiative along with Jeff Harris, who acted on a local level and the two individuals who drove 19 hours straight from Memphis to our Mahwah, NJ branch.”

Read more of this letter at: bit.ly/ThankYouMueller.

ACCA Contractors Providing Hurricane Relief

The devastation of Hurricane Sandy remains a major challenge for residents and businesses along the eastern U.S. Among those HVAC contractors who are making a difference in helping survivors is Bobby Ring, president of Meyer &Depew Co., Inc., Kenilworth, NJ.

Ring is one of many Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) contractors who are helping to administer donations through ACCA’s Disaster Relief Fund. The fund was established to bring relief to victims of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

“Some contractors lost all of their possessions.”

Ring and ACCA president/CEO Paul Stalknecht recently distributed relief aid to ACCA member contractors whose businesses and employees were devastated by Hurricane Sandy.

“In some cases, these contractors lost all of their possessions. Some were businesses that were in areas that didn’t require flood insurance, but nonetheless lost their entire office and shop,” Ring explains.

The overall devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy is astounding.

“It’s unbelievable to see the number of homes that will need work,” Ring says. “Based upon FEMA data I’ve seen, I would say conservatively that 25,000 HVAC systems need to be replaced in New Jersey alone. It’s a huge undertaking and it’s already caused issues with material shortages in parts of the state.”

ACCA is asking its members to make a non-tax deductible, humanitarian donation of any size to help their fellow ACCA members. Donations can be made in one of three ways:

1. Visit bit.ly/ACCArelief to make a donation by credit card.

2. Mail a check payable to “ACCA Disaster Relief Fund” to Rosemary Graeme, ACCA, 2800 Shirlington Road Suite 300, Arlington, VA 22206.

3. Call Rosemary Graeme at 703-575-4477.

To read a letter from Bobby Ring to the leaders of the HVAC industry, visit: bit.ly/ACCAreliefefforts.

Standard Supply to Host NATE Testing During AHR Expo

Standard Supply will host North American Technician Excellence (NATE) certification testing at this year’s AHR Expo. The world’s largest HVACR event will be held in Dallas, TX, will run from January 28 through January 30, 2013.

The test session will begin at 1 p.m. on Monday, January 28. To help prepare technicians for the test, Standard Supply will offer an HVACR Review Session from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. the day of the test.

Registration forms are available on the AHR Expo website, ahrexpo.com, as well as on NATE’s website, natex.org.

This month in CB history...

1989: Need an easy way to evaluate your service offerings? Compare what you do to a ride in a taxi. That’s what our then-editor Jim Wheeler did, in an article on the “Quality Improvement Process” (QIP). Wheeler had used a cab during a recent trip to Houston, and it was a perfect combination of:

• comfortable, clean equipment

• friendly, helpful personnel

• honest, efficient service

• on-time arrival

• guaranteed satisfaction

• follow-up requesting repeat business.

“Quality service is a little different than quality in product, yet the results are the same: a satisfied customer,” Wheeler wrote. “Chances are, no matter how good your company and people are, you probably can do better. If you don’t have a program to encourage your employees to do their best with every caller/customer, you haven’t started a quality improvement program yet.”

THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT

Extech has released the EX845 MeterLink for Android application. The new industrial app displays electrical readings received via Bluetooth from Extech’s award-winning EX845 MeterLink clamp meter. Readings can be viewed remotely on an Android smartphone or tablet. Sources say remote viewing advantages include: safety by being able to monitor equipment from a distance; operating remote switchgear without a helper; leaving the meter in situ, to permit monitoring with normal load conditions, such as closed blower cabinets, etc. It displays large, easy-to-read values. Available at the Google Play Store at bit.ly/extechmeterlinkapp.

There’s No ‘Pixie Dust’ for Excellent Customer Service, by Bob Mader, editor, Contractor

Nobody wants to see Cinderella with a cigarette in her mouth. Dennis Snow saw a smoking Cinderella during the 20 years that he worked at Disney World, but it was in an employee break area. Similarly, service contractors have internal issues that their customers should never see.

Consultant Snow provided contractors with a how-to for creating a service-driven organization during the Mechanical Service Contractors of America (MSCA) conference and exposition, held in Carlsbad, CA in October.

Snow asked contractors for their impressions of Disney World, and not one of them mentioned the rides. That’s as it should be, Snow noted, because all amusement parks have rides but only one is Disney.

Sure, your technical skills are great, Snow told the contractors, but the customer assumes that they are. Service contractors need to offer something more. A task-based mentality makes the customer feel “processed.” A customer focus, on the other hand, creates a positive experience.

“There is no pixie dust,” Snow observed, especially for the Disney employees inside a costume in central Florida in August. First, contractors must look at everything through the eyes of the customer. It’s a mindset, Snow said. Service contractors are in a position to help customers navigate through all of their pressures, such as tenant complaints and energy bills. Don’t assume the customer knows the same things about mechanical systems, HVAC, water conservation or utility bills that you do, he advised.

For more on this presentation, visit bit.ly/MSCA2012.