Chair's Update 2nd Quarter 2013

By Joseph Brillhart posted 06-25-2017 16:55

Joseph Brillhart

Greetings everyone! As I sit here in Pennsylvania watching the snow blowing sideways at 20 miles per hour, I'm still feeling energized from the fantastic time I had in San Diego with many of you. IDEA's 26th Annual Campus Energy Conference was a resounding suc­cess with record attendance, a brilliant technical program, superb hosts and won­derful exhibitors. I'd like to thank our hosts Solar Turbines and San Diego State Uni­versity for their help and dedication. I'd also like to thank our generous sponsors. Lastly, I'd like to thank all of you who came to San Diego, especially all of our new members and our colleagues from Canada. It was truly a memorable event, and I am still chuckling over the University of Alaska's video. Thank you all for mak­ing the conference so special.

Now for those of you reading this and feeling sorry for yourselves because you were unable to attend, I have some great news. You still have time to register to attend IDEA's 104th Annual Conference & Trade Show. This year our theme is "Build­ing on Efficiency, Delivering Value." We will talk more about that in a bit. This year's conference is being held in beautiful Miami, Fla., June 2-5. We are looking forward to another rich technical program, so don't wait any longer. Go to and register today!

As I mentioned, the theme for this year's conference is "Building on Efficiency, Delivering Value." Nearly a year ago, when I was asked what the theme would be for my year as chair, I wanted the words to convey the message of how district energy has been delivering value for more than 100 years. We deliver value. It's what we do, and it's the very essence of why district energy makes sense. But I wanted us to be known for more than that. I wanted us to look "beyond the meter" and find ways to reduce the need for energy in our custom­er's envelope. By supplying the most effi­cient energy - while at the same time help­ing our customers reduce the demand for that energy - we provide the best possible solution and complete the circle.

Building on efficiency, delivering value. I think that is a winning combination, and as I look at the program for the upcoming conference I see lots of reasons to believe many of you feel the same way. We have made a lot of progress over the years, but there are still many opportunities for all of us on either side of the meter. There are combined heat and power systems to build in our central plants. There are opportuni­ties for us to recover heat that is presently being dumped into the atmosphere while just a stone's throw away we are burning fossil fuel to create more heat. There are thousands of buildings that can be retrofit­ted to dramatically reduce their energy consumption while meeting current busi­ness economic payback measures. Every one of these things will directly reduce our carbon footprint, save billions of gallons of fresh water and allow millions of dollars of savings to be used for things that are much more important than buying a bunch of fossil fuels. The icing on the cake is the fact that these things are all possible with tech­nology that is proven and available right now! I may be an optimist, but I believe we are at the beginning of an era where we will see heightened opportunities to make these things a reality. We, in IDEA, must lead the way!

It is with a bit of sadness that I write the last paragraph of my last quarterly col­umn as IDEA chair. It seems that the year has gone by very quickly. I want to thank everyone who helped me, including the awesome staff of IDEA; Peter, our editor; Rob, for all his wisdom and advice as well as putting up with my Ravens pranks. I also want to thank all of you for making this a memorable year for me. We have a great organization, and our incoming chair, Patti Wilson, will be stepping in to take us to the next level.

Thank you all. Believe in district energy!


Joseph Brillhart
Chair, 2012-13

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