Joe Cullen is one of the Building Performance Association's newest team members, serving in Washington, D.C. as the Director of Policy and State Outreach. Joe grew up in Scranton, Pennsylvania and recently took the time to answer a few questions about his new role.
What is your educational and professional background?
My educational background is in social science and the law. I have a JD from the Georgetown University Law Center and a Bachelor of Arts degree in U.S. History from Yale University. I spent two years as a Jesuit Volunteer teacher in Piura, Peru after college before attending law school.
In my first policy position, I served as the Director of Policy in the Governor’s Policy Office in Pennsylvania. During that time, our office helped support the passage of the Children’s Health Insurance Program which later became a model for federal legislation. That’s how I became convinced that many of the most interesting policy innovations get started at the state level. Since then, I have worked as a policy consultant at the state level with a number of Governors’ Offices on renewable energy, energy efficiency and economic development including: Governor Richardson in New Mexico, Governor Ritter in Colorado and Governor Culver in Iowa. Each of these Governors pursued the development of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects as economic development tools. Most recently, I have worked with thirteen Governors’ Offices in partnership with the Appalachian Regional Commission on the POWER Initiative, a $65.8 million federal investment to create a more vibrant economic future for coal-impacted communities by cultivating economic diversity and enhancing job training and re-employment opportunities. Although most of my work has been with states, during the Clinton administration, I served as a policy and budget director at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
What are your top priorities in your new role atthe Association?
I will be working withthe Association to help drive consensus on how data is collected, tracked, managed and marketed in the home performance and weatherization industry. This will involve educating stakeholders and allies in states onthe Association’s three data standard projects: 1) Data Transfer Standards; 2) Data Collection Standards; and 3) Home Performance Certificates. I will also be supportingthe Association’s efforts on promoting Smart Grid technologies and Cost Benefit Testing (through the National Efficiency Screening Project). Atthe Association, we will be exploring other opportunities for state outreach to make sure that the environmental, economic, and health benefits associated with energy efficient homes is accurately reflected in the market value of a home.
Why is the Association’s mission important to you?
My experience with renewable energy development policy is that when the private sector is engaged with the appropriate balance of information and incentives, the market penetration of new technologies, businesses and industries can really take off. I'm thrilled to be working for an organization that promotes the market adoption of energy efficiency technologies and practices through stakeholder engagement, education, policy development, and research. The energy efficiency business opportunity in the built environment is enormous and represents a critical component of climate change policy. The residential housing market is complex and diverse, but offers some of the greatest opportunities for efficiency gains, job creation and carbon emission reductions. I am excited to contribute to the organization's legacy of supporting a growing and important industry and helping to bring new ideas, approaches and best practices into conversations around policy at the state level.