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Last week HRAI received word from The Atmospheric Fund (TAF) that it approved an application for funding over four months to conduct research into the training and support tools needed to enable heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) contractors to drive demand for and implementation of home energy retrofits.  The research will engage industry members and stakeholders through a series of focus groups, interviews, and surveys.

The research project begins with the proposition that HVAC tradespersons are trusted experts, invited into homes and buildings by owners and operators and entrusted to install, maintain, and configure mechanical systems.  In theory, contractors are in a positon to build on these trust relationships to promote a broader range of home/building retrofits (e.g. envelope improvements) that would further enhance building comfort while improving energy performance and reducing carbon emissions. Yet contractors remain resistant to reconfiguring their businesses in ways that would allow them to seize these opportunities. This project will identify the barriers that contractors face (real or perceived) to such a transition and will develop initial strategies for overcoming those barriers.

HRAI will work with industry members and other stakeholders to identify barriers through focus groups, one-on-one interviews and surveys in efforts to probe for potential solutions to those barriers.  The research will be followed-up by design workshops (round-robins) to test and refine strategies for HVAC-led home and building retrofits.

For more information contact Martin Luymes at 416-453-5899 or email mluymes@hrai.ca.