Green Coordinating Panel Keeps Effort Focused

MCAA has made tremendous progress in recent years in educating its members on green and sustainable construction. MCAA subsidiaries have led the way in this effort, beginning in 2004 when the PCA (Plumbing Contractors of America) identified green building as an important emerging trend in mechanical construction and service.

MCAA has made tremendous progress in recent years in educating its members on green and sustainable construction. MCAA subsidiaries have led the way in this effort, beginning in 2004 when the PCA (Plumbing Contractors of America) identified green building as an important emerging trend in mechanical construction and service.

Since those “early days” in 2004, MCAA has responded to its member contractors' demand for quality education by rolling out a myriad of green programs and offerings. In 2007 MCAA's Board of Directors amended its Mission Statement, elevating green building and establishing it as one of the organization's top priorities. In the past two years MCAA has trained more than 400 members to take the LEED Accredited Professional test in both New Construction and Existing Buildings. A successful mid-year Green Opportunities Conference was held and the new hands-on MCAA Website debuted at www.greencontractors.us. MSCA (Mechanical Service Contractors of America) instituted its Green Awareness and Training Certification as well as the new reference guide for LEED Operations and Maintenance. Most recently in May, the MSCA received a commendation from USGBC President and co-founder Rick Federizi on its groundbreaking work on LEED-EB and its GreenStar certification program.

The United Association took bold steps last year by joining MCAA and forming the MCAA/UA Green Task Force and by designing and building the Mobile Green Education Trailer, which made its debut at the annual convention this year in Palm Desert, Calif. MCERF, the Mechanical Contracting Education and Research Foundation, has become involved in several projects related to sustainability, including a joint study with the USGBC on “Post-occupancy Performance of LEED-certified Buildings.”

In addition, sustainable solutions have become a major focus within the phenomenally successful Career Development program at MCAA's 40 student chapters at universities across the nation.

Manufacturers and suppliers are likewise involved and motivated through the Manufacturers and Suppliers Council (MS/C). MCAA's most recent concept became a reality in March of this year with the first of six planned offerings in its Green Webinar Series, a collaboration of industry and business experts focusing on economic opportunities within the Mechanical Contracting community.

There is a remarkable level of excitement going on with green at MCAA, no question about it, but when the association's leadership took a deep breath and realized the depth of what had been accomplished, they realized one glaring and potentially detrimental inconsistency. There was no central source keeping an eye on the increasing number of green activities being presented throughout the organization, and there was the fear that “green-washing” or “green-burnout” could sidetrack the wonderful progress made to date. So, at its meeting in Palm Desert in March, the Executive Committee of MCAA decided to form the MCAA Green Coordinating Committee.

The mission of the Green Coordinating Committee is to coordinate MCAA's increasing number of green activities conducted throughout the association — to ensure there is no duplication of effort, to ensure that association resources are allocated properly and to provide an overall coherency to its diverse and expanding green activities.

The new committee will cut across all segments of the industry including representatives from MSCA, the Manufacturers/Suppliers Council, local association executives, MCERF, the Education Committee, PCA, and staff.

MCAA Executive Vice President and CEO John Gentille believes that, “Our members will appreciate and benefit from a coordinated, well thought-out and synergistic approach by their national association in developing the programs and resources those members are expecting as they try to navigate this new and ever-changing green world of which they suddenly find themselves a part. A Green Coordinating Committee will go a long way toward ensuring that MCAA does not let them down in this regard.”

On June 2, 2008, the committee held its first meeting in Scottsdale, Ariz., where the mission was further defined and future actions discussed. There was an extremely positive and upbeat energy in the room as those involved agreed on the concept of a focused and concentrated effort to apply MCAA's significant resources in a more organized, focused and cohesive fashion.

The committee will not create programs, but will continue to encourage all entities within the association to further the green cause. The role of the Green Coordinating Committee will be to assist and correlate these offerings, while embracing the challenge of using available assets efficiently to remain on the cutting edge of green and sustainability.

Those in attendance were for the first meeting of the MCAA Green Coordinating Committee were myself, David Kruse, L.J. Kruse Co., chairman; Jim Allen, Sloan Valve Co., representing MS/C and PCA; Bob Turner, EMCOR Tucker Mechanical, representing MCAA; Don Giarratano, D/K Mechanical Contractors, representing MCAA; Troy Aichele, Stirrett-Johnson Inc., representing the Career Development Committee; Scott Berger, Arista Air Conditioning, representing MCERF; Mark Rogers, West Chester Mechanical, representing the Education Committee and standing in for Brian Helm of Mechanical Inc.; David Allen, McKinstry Co., representing MCAA; Wayne Turchetta, HMC Service Co., representing MSCA; Russell Borst, Hurst Mechanical, representing MSCA; and Mike Krueger, J.F. Ahern Co., representing MCERF

Also participating were MCAA staff members John Gentille, Dennis Langley, Cynthia Buffington, Barbara Dolim, Sean McGuire, and MCAA consultant Sally Gentille.

Dave Kruse, president of L.J. Kruse Co., Berkeley, Calif., is past president of MCAA. He can be reached at 510/644-0260 or at [email protected].