Letter from the President
For me this is the time of year we start to slow down. Being relatively new as a business owner, I struggle with how to increase sales this time of year. This is a good time for me to examine my business as a whole and to evaluate which areas am I lacking. Where could I provide better service while at the same time increase profits? I believe that there is always an opportunity to improve your business and this time of year is when I really start thinking about areas I can improve. What services can we add? How can we improve upon services we now offer?
I would be interested to hear if any of you have ideas on how to improve customer service and increase profits. OHPBA will hold its annual spring conference on May 18. This conference is an opportunity for you to share both your ideas and to seek ideas from others. We are planning several speakers on the subject of sales strategies, internet/ social media marketing and other topics. I encourage you to attend and share your ideas. We are all in this together and we need to support each other. I’ll see you in May!
Richard Ridenour, Sunset Hearth & Home, Prineville, OR, OHPBA President
HPB EXPO is in the Peach State!
The official EXPO website is open but time is running out to register. Hotel rooms at this point are getting harder to find, so sign up to make your hotel reservations now for the best choice of rooms.
This year there will be some fun and educational things to watch including a Big Green Egg cook-off. Also, on March 3, special classes at EXPO are offered for free to members to learn about Wood Burning Test Methods at 10:00 am and an information-packed Government Affairs Update at 3:00 pm.
EXPO is unmatched in providing education, ideas and inspiration for hearth, patio, BBQ dealers!
Register Now! Click Here
OHPBA To Hold Events in the Spring, Summer
Oregon retailers, OHPBA has planned several events this spring and summer to assist you with education and certification.
NFI Gas Certification Test
If you would like to get your techs NFI Certified, we will be holding an NFI Gas Certification Test on April 20. NW Natural will host the test site and cover half the cost of the exam and manual fee. Our testing venue is limited to 12 people, so if you’re interested, register now.
OHPBA’s spring conference is scheduled for May 18. This year we will hold the event at English Estate Winery in Vancouver, WA. Gail English has arranged for the venue. Following the day’s education and updates we will have a wine tasting reception. Stay tuned for topics and speakers. Register now.
In April we are tentatively planning a membership breakfast. The topic will be an update on Washington County’s woodstove changeout and wood smoke curtailment program. The location will likely be in the Hillsboro area.
In August, we plan to hold an NFI wood or pellet certification test. We have not determined which to offer yet, but we will seek input from you and hold the test that’s more in demand.
OHPBA Spring Conference, 2016
Oregon Legislature Hears Wood Stove Changeout Bills
Oregon’s legislature convened Wednesday, Feb. 1. It turns out the first order of business, following the introductions of the legislators, was a presentation by the Oregon DEQ on the recommendations of the Woodstove Work Group. You may recall OHPBA participated on this workgroup over the last year.
Rachel Sakata Air Quality Planner and Palmer Mason, Sr. Legislative Adviser at DEQ presented the results and recommendations for workgroup. Recommendations centered around the need for sustainable funding for wood stove replacement programs in select communities that are currently involved in programs to curtail residential wood smoke.
Two bills have emerged this session that will bring those recommendations to the next level.
HB 2124: Creates a mechanism for allowing for rebates for wood stove change out projects.
HB 2725: Also creates a rebate program to fund the wood stove replacement programs but it goes further in setting up criteria for grant applications and qualifications for organizations who would apply for grants to help replace uncertified wood stoves. This bill also asks for a specific sum of funding from the Oregon general fund, so it will need to go to the budget (Ways and Means) committee eventually.
LC 1949: Another bill, likely a hybrid of these two bills, has been entered. The bill will probably combine these two other bills and will serve as the bill for any amendments. Representative Holvey, the Committee Chair encouraged all parties at the hearing to submit amendments.
Several people testified. The most compelling was the Mayor of Oakridge. He said without immediate assistance, this small town east of Springfield would likely fail the federal standard. He encouraged the legislators to designate the town as a pilot program to receive funding.
Our opinion, and that of several who testified, is that the bills should be amended to allow for a wide variety of projects and sources of funds; not just wood stove replacement, although that should be the primary purpose. Criteria for grants and projects should be very flexible because every community is different.
The “supply side” of the problem is also important to address. Access to dry wood, pellets and bio bricks is important. For example, if a household receives a new EPA certified stove but they only have access to wet wood; well, that’s not good. Also, weatherization should be addressed.
OHPBA’s amendments and comments will relateto identifying benefits to wood stove changeouts that have real economic results, such as improvements in fire safety, economic activity from increased service work and promoting markets for renewable fuels. We will also support programs that impact local economies such as construction of community wood sheds for dry wood exchange programs, production of bio bricks and convenient and affordable access to wood pellets.
Oregon Tax Credit has One More Year
The Oregon Residential Energy Tax credit program (RETC) will “sunset” at the end of 2017. Well, this will happen assuming the legislature doesn’t extend the sunset. Since we can’t count on that, OHPBA advises retailers to inform their customers that the tax credit will end December 31, 2017.
HPBA Challenges EPA in Court Over NSPA Step 2 Issues
The primary argument being made against the EPA’s Step 2 is there is no data to support their requirements. HPBA is also introduced a bill in congress to delay Step 2 for 3 years until details can be determined to be feasible. As it stands right now, on May 15, 2020, no wood or pellet stoves that don’t meet the “Step” can be manufactured, shipped or sold. The 3-year extension will give the manufacturers more time to produce the newer units and also give time for HPBA’s suit to go through the court process. Contact your federal representatives to support house bill HR453. For more information contact: John Crouch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NFPA 211 Modifies Rules
The NFPA 211 has modified the rule to allow decisions to be based on a decision by a qualifying agency, such as NFI or CSIA. Also, the rule about gas logs being certified for each unit that they are installed has been deleted, and the wording has went back to what it has been for the last 15 years. If you have any other questions, please contact Tom Stroud, email@example.com.
Oregon, West States to Hold EXPO Party
Oregon and all other west coast affiliates are throwing a party at EXPO in Atlanta! If you are headed to EXPO, join us Wednesday, March 1, from 6:00 - 8:30 pm at der Biergarten. It’s going to be bigger than ever with more states joining in this year! We’re expecting 500+ industry members for an evening of food, fun and friends the night before the HPBA EXPO. All states west of Colorado are involved. We thank our sponsors!
Major Sponsors: AES, Napoleon, Olympia Chimney.
Generous Sponsors: Travis Industries
Supporting Sponsors: Blaze King, Tri-State Distributors, Wing Sales/Morso.
Other Sponsors: Mendota Hearth, RH Peterson, Mason-Lite.
Your RSVP is required. Call OHPBA at 503-585-8254 or register online at www.ohpba.org. RSVP by February 25!
OHPBA Board Seeks Board Members
Are you interested in giving back to the OHPBA? Your association is looking for people to serve on the board of directors. We are currently looking for the following positions:
2nd Vice President
Region Directors (depending on where you live)
Director at Large, Codes Coordinator
If you are interested in serving, contact OHPBA’s office at 503-585-8254 or email Harvey Gail, Harvey@vannattapr.com. We will hold our election in June. Terms are two years. The OHPBA board meets roughly every quarter, two meetings are in person, two by teleconference.
NFI Update: Initiatives Expand Certification Options
NFI is pleased to announce three new initiatives. Please pay attention, you're going like these:
New HPBEF/NFI Web Site
Keeping track of certifications, NFI exam events, CEUs, classes and current information about the program requires a very complicated web site. The part you see is a very small percentage of what is really going on. But, we are happy to announce that our new web site is almost ready and should be online prior to Expo. There are a lot of differences. Visually it will be must easier to navigate. But it will also do a much better job of keeping track of each individual's data. Yes, that means you will need a user name and password. But once inside, I'm pretty sure you will be impressed.
New NFI App
Have you ever sat through a NFI Exam Review Class and got to the part where we talk about some of the mathematical formulas we use to install hearth appliances? If you watch the expression on people's faces, you will see their eyes glaze over. We now have an smart phone app that will do the calculations for you. The five most commonly used math formulas are now available on your phone.
New Hearth Design Specialist Certification!
Sales people of the hearth industry rejoice! We have heard your cries and are working on a new certification designed especially for you. Our current NFI certifications are exactly what an installer needs to know. But, there is material in each that a sales person does not need. Plus, the sales person needs to know some technical information about all three fuels, woodburning, gas & pellet. The new Hearth Design Specialist certification will answer that need. The manual is currently being written, the exam writing process will start shortly and we hope to offer the first certifications late this year. Watch this newsletter for updates.
More information about all three of these initiatives will be available at the Member Services booth at EXPO. Stop by for more details.