WHAT IS NEW > PRESS RELEASES
August 2011-NORA Education Center has Relocated to Virginia
The NORA Education Center is an online database that allows technicians to complete educational curriculum to enhance service in the Oilheat industry. This curriculum includes classes for technicians, drivers, customer service representatives, management, insurance agents & underwriters, home inspectors, and real estate professionals. Traditionally, the NORA Education Center has been operated in Watertown, Massachusetts by New England Fuel Institute; however it has recently relocated to Alexandria, Virginia at the NORA Headquarters.
In addition to this exciting change, the NORA store, an on-line purchasing center, is also managed in conjunction with the NORA Education Center in Virginia. The NORA store sells NORA Education coordinating products for technicians, homeowners, trainers, realtors and a variety of other audiences. The curriculum is designed to improve educational excellence in the industry. Training for the industry targets: technicians, drivers, customer service personnel, and management. Ensuring that employees are trained properly will guarantee customers achieve maximum value through cost efficient quality repairs and top notch service. A well trained workforce will also ensure that the Oilheat industry contributes to America’s future by providing safe comfortable home heating systems.
NORA is putting forward solutions that are attainable by clients who visit NORA’s multiple web pages. This exciting change started with the NORA Store in 2008 and now the NORA Education Center. The new contact information is: 600 Cameron Street, Alexandria, Virginia, 22314, phone number 703-340-1663 fax number 703-340-1642. For more information contact Traci Ross at firstname.lastname@example.org
March 2011-NORA AND NFPA Collaborate on Carbon Monixide Training Video
The National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA) and the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) recently collaborated to create the newly released Carbon Monoxide safety training video. This nineteen minute training video demonstrates the proper procedures, guideline and safety precautions that should be used when dealing with Carbon Monoxide. According to Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), on average, about 170 people in the United States die every year from CO produced by non-automotive consumer products. Due to these statics, NORA and NFPA saw the importance of training technicians on the proper inspection of heating systems in relations to CO safety. NORA’s goal for the Oilheat industry is to help consumers reach a better understanding of heating oil, improve the product and to educate both technicians and consumers. "NORA is working diligently to advance the Oilheat Industry in several core areas, education is a top priority", said John Huber, President of NORA.
June 2010-Award Winning Training Video
NORA Video 16 wins National Telly Awards-Founded in 1978, the Telly Awards honor excellence in local, regional and cable TV commercials. Non-broadcast video and TV program categories were soon added along with over 200 other categories. Today, the Telly is one of the most sought-after awards by industry leaders, from large international firms to local production companies and ad agencies.
NORA has developed a vast number of educational videos to promote service excellence in the Oilheat industry and video 16 has won the National Telly award for the best use of animation.
NORA Video 16, entitled Outside Reset Controls, was developed to improve upon this method of heat delivery to enable heat to flow from the heat emitters to the space being heated smoothly, continuously, and at just the right rate. The DVD starts by demonstrating electrical safety procedures that must be observed when working on Oilheat systems. Explanations of: operating sequences, wiring diagrams, troubleshooting techniques and much more, this DVD contains pertinent information regarding what you need to know about Outside Reset Controls. To view this video visit: www.mynoravideo.com
April 2010-New Research & Development Project Gets Approval
Low Power Residential Two-stage & Modulating Oil Burner is in the final stages of completion. NORI Project manager, MR. Richard Sweetser has been working with Heat Wise to investigate and develop a low power, two-stage and modulating residential oil burner. An extensive market study and overview was completed, as was a concept design and prototype testing in the lab. The modulating oil burner portion of the project was shelved, due to the desire for a “universal” burner; a modulating burner was determined to require specific design and matching to a specific heat exchanger. A two-stage burner could be adapted to any existing heat exchanger and held more viable market interest. The two-stage burner was lab tested, listed by Underwriters Laboratory (UL) and a limited field trial of four units were installed in the field, two on hydronic boilers and two on hot air furnaces. The overall fuel savings with the Heat Wise two-stage burner was shown to be approximately 8.7% to 13.5%. The burner has great potential as a retrofit burner or as part of an OEM package. Series TC Cast Iron Boiler with NEW PureFlow Technology!
March 2010- HVACR & Plumbing Workshop
The National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA) will be in attendance at the HVACR & Plumbing Instructor Workshop on March 24-25, 2010. This industry-driven event that provides instructors and administrators of apprentice and secondary/postsecondary school-based instructional programs with technical information and teaching techniques that will enable them to effectively train the next generation of skilled workers for the HVACR and plumbing industries. Last year the workshop gathered over 250 instructors from all over the United States. This workshop provides instructors and administrators instructional programs to learn about advances in their industry.
February 11-12, 2010 OILHEAT INDUSTRY SUMMIT AND MARCH ON WASHINGTON-
As members are aware, an unprecedented national summit was held on September 15, 2009 in Baltimore, Maryland in which oilheat industry leaders, stakeholders and associations met to discuss a new visions for the industry’s future. A resolution was overwhelmingly approved that would see the industry transition nationwide to an ultra-low sulfur product blended with sustainable biofuels, along with a new generation of super-efficient heating equipment complimented by zero emission solar technology. This vision is in-line with national governmental policies to increase environmental and energy security by reducing demand for foreign energy and conventional fossil fuels. In the states, region and in Washington, DC, this new vision sends a message – the oilheat industry and its mostly small business family owned and operated companies are an essential part of the solution for a greener domestic energy future for our nation.
February 11th – Sustainable Liquid Fuels in Home Heating – Getting it Done
A Second National Oilheat Industry Conference and Policy Summit has been scheduled for Thursday, February 11th in Washington, DC. The goal of the summit is to develop a strategic plan for the future of the oilheat industry. Two keynote presentations will be heard, the first by Jason Grumet, an Obama Administration official and Dr. Christian Kuchen of the European Heating Oil Association. The goal of Thursday’s meeting is to develop consensus and strong support for the heating fuel product of the future – a low carbon and clean burning alternative. Thursday’s meeting starts with a continental breakfast at 7:30am and will continue until the evening hours.
February 12: NEFI- and PMAA-sponsored March on Washington
The event will be followed by an industry “March on Washington” sponsored by the New England Fuel Institute and the Petroleum Marketers Association of America on Friday, February 12th. We are hopeful that every oilheat state will participate and send representatives. This march on Washington is timely, considering the cold winter will be on the minds of their constituents, and because of the many hot issues being addressed by Congress early this year, including NORA reauthorizations, aggressive new home efficiency tax credits, federal biodiesel incentives and commodity trading reform. Additionally, the industry will express support for the National Fuel Funds Network’s efforts during LIHEAP Action Day in which advocates for full federal LIHEAP funding will descend on the Hill s well on Wednesday, February 10th.
January 2010-NORA TO SUSPEND COLLECTIONS
Congress has not acted on an extension of the NORA fee. As a result, the NORA fee of $.002 per gallon will be suspended. This letter is to ensure that you are aware of that suspension. Pursuant to this suspension, no payments of the NORA fee are due after
As a result, the first quarter assessments for 2010, will now be only partial payments and will cover the period from
The Board of Directors has put a plan in place to maintain a high level of service through 2010. During the coming months, NORA will work to ensure that Oilheat consumers continue to receive information on oilheat’s great value, and that critical research that will advance the quality of our product will continue.
March 2009-HVACR & Plumbing Instruction Workshop--
NORA will be hosting two sessions during the three day workshop. John Huber and Richard Sweetser will be presenting the study on the emissions of greenhouse gases, and the responses by federal, state and local officials and how it affects the heating oil industry. They will be reviewing the activities conducted, to date, dealing with greenhouse gases and emissions. Included in this presentation will be how states are advocating improvements to efficiency standards and conservation measures.
Following these three day workshops, several different certification tests will be given at the end of the conference on Friday. Among those certifications is the NORA Silver Certification exam. A NORA proctor will be administering the NORA Silver Certification exam, in room 3.626 North, at the
March 2009-New NORA Radio Advertisments Coming Soon--
February 2009-Stimulus Bill will Provide Credit for Heating Equipment--
Alexandria, VA-On February 17, 2009 President Barack Obama signed into law the $789 billion economic stimulus package (the "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act" or H.R.1). The House approved the Conference Report by a vote of 246-183 and the Senate by a vote of 60-38. The stimulus bill does include a $1500 credit that applies to both equipment and installation costs, subject to the 30 percent qualifier.
There are several provisions that oilheat dealers need to be aware of, unfortunately, funding for LIHEAP is not included in the stimulus plan. The final stimulus package does include five billion dollars for the federal Weatherization Assistance Program and extends home energy efficiency tax credits through 2010. It also increases those tax credits to 30 percent up to $1,500 for equipment rated at 90 percent efficiency or above. This is good news for oilheat dealers because earlier drafts of the package limited tax breaks to equipment rated at 95 percent or higher, a rate not yet achieved by oilheat equipment. The equipment that is listed on the GAMA website meets the stipulations for the tax credit. The other key feature of this is that this $1500 tax credit is for both 2009 and 2010, and it is for several building features. Thus, if you install doors, windows, insulation, it will go against these expenditures.
February 2009-NORA Energy Conservation Analysis Seminar
Alexandria, VA— Constant fluctuations of energy markets have customers concerned about the future. Because of the long-term relationship as their energy providers, customers are turning to Oilheat companies for solutions. Now more than ever we must be part of their solution, not part of the problem. They must see us as their trusted energy adviser.
Mr. Bob Hedden will present a seminar that will allow technicians to knowledge fully guide customers to smarter energy solutions. The training will prepare candidates for the NORA written examination in several core areas. Participants will learn how to be sure the heating system is working at maximum efficiency. A critical component of this program will be to learn what advice we can give customers about free or low cost, "do-it-yourself", projects that they can implement to help lower their energy bills. They will also learn to identify potential problems with the building and recognize when it would be advisable for customers to call in building shell and insulation experts. NORA’s goal for this program is to be sure that every oil-heated building is using energy as efficiently as possible without compromising safety, reliability or comfort. Not only will this insure customers are getting the most from the money they spend heating and cooling their buildings, energy conservation is also the best answer for protecting the environment.
Upon successful completion of a short test given at the end of the program participants will receive the NORA Energy Conservation Analysis Certification. This national certification is similar to the NORA Tank Certification. The seminar is good for 7 NORA CEUs.
January 2009-The National Oilheat Research Alliance was in Attendance at the Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) Annual Conference in Florida--
Alexandria, VA- National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA) was invited to make a presentation at the Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) Annual Conference. This is the second year that NORA took part in the annual conference with IBHS. NORA’s presentation, entitled "Reducing Losses Related to Oilheat Systems", was well received. Not only was the presentation a success, there was a significant amount of activity at the NORA booth during the conference.
Among several demonstrations done at the conference, many of the participants were enthusiastic about the Certified Company lookup function on the NORA Education website. Many participants also had a special interest in NORA’s Static Test Process for underground storage tanks.
Over the past few years NORA and IBHS have worked together on numerous projects, more recently the development of tank inspection procedures and the production of a primer on the Oilheat industry. These materials have been distributed to insurance companies to enable them to understand how the Oilheating industry functions.
NORA’s relationship with IBHS has enabled homeowners’ and insurance carriers to have an open dialogue with the Oilheating industry, benefiting companies in both industries and consumers alike.
January 2009-The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) held a meeting of the Technical Committee on Liquid Fuel Burning Equipment at NFPA headquarters--
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) held a meeting of the Technical Committee on Liquid Fuel Burning Equipment at NFPA headquarters in Quincy, MA. The purpose of the meeting was to consider proposed revisions to NFPA 31, the Standard for the Installation of Oil-Burning Equipment. Several representatives of the Oilheating industry currently serve on the committee including: John Huber, John Maniscalco, Bob Boltz, Mike Markarian, Bernie Smith and John Levey.
Although several proposed revisions were acted upon, there was a general consensus by the committee that both chapters seven and eight should be thoroughly evaluated and rewritten due to concerns regarding the following topics: the location of thermally operated shutoff valves, tank heaters, tank gauge requirements, installing a gauge in the "first" tank of a cross-connected system is unsafe, fill and vent pipe size, oil filter location, clearances between tanks and sources of heat an other requirements.
A Task Group was established to address the rewrite the necessary changes, they are scheduled to submit input and meet on February 4 at the offices of the New York Oil Heating Association (NYOHA).
December 2008-Navigating the Oilheat Marketplace--
Prices can change for a variety of reasons including:
Seasonality in the demand for heating oil - When crude oil prices are steady, home heating oil prices tend to slowly rise in the winter months when demand is highest.
Changes in the cost of crude oil - Crude oil is a major price component of heating oil, changes in the price of crude oil will generally affect the price of heating oil.
Competition in local markets – Competitive differences can be substantial between a locality with only one or a few suppliers or dealers versus an area with a large number of competitors.
Regional operating costs - Prices also are impacted by higher costs of transporting the product to remote locations.
Prices move up or down during the heating season; retail price customers are not locked into a set price as they are with a Price Protection Program. The retailer typically sets his price for the day, and then deliveries are made at that price.
As a result of the competitive nature of the industry there are many different pricing alternatives. It is important for customers to understand their pricing options and pick the one that is best for their family.
November 2008-The Associated Press Delivered Incorrect News--
The Department of Energy’s Winter Fuels Outlook released in October indicated that heating oil prices would be higher than in 2007. However, since that time heating oil has fallen dramatically. Since that forecast, crude oil has fallen by one half. Under the current projection, The Department of Energy is forecasting a 17 percent reduction in heating costs from last winter. This dramatic decrease is based on $77 crude. However, the price today is $56, a further 27 percent decrease.
November 2008-Department of Energy Updates Consumers--
Alexandria, VA—2008 has been a difficult year for energy with escalating prices affecting homeowners throughout America. Oil prices reached an all time high during the summer months and as the economy has slowed in the U.S., prices for crude have fallen. At this time, the price of oil is down to the levels we saw in 2005 and 2006.
The price of oil has dropped for 54 days and counting, reaching a low of $56 per barrel for crude and $1.83 a gallon for heating oil. The Department of Energy’s Winter Fuels Outlook released in October indicated that heating oil prices would be higher than in 2007. However, since that time heating oil has fallen dramatically. Since that forecast, crude oil has fallen by one half. Under the current projection, The Department of Energy is forecasting a 17 percent reduction in heating costs from last winter. This dramatic decrease is based on $77 crude. However, the price today is $56, a further 27 percent decrease.
President of NORA, John Huber, noted, "We are very pleased that the prices have fallen. A price decrease is very welcoming to the heating oil industry and its customers, and the price decrease will make heating this winter much more affordable. Hopefully, these decreased costs will allow consumers to begin supporting the American economy again".
November 2008-New NORA Store is Open--
Alexandria, VA, November 4, 2008-Technological change is critical in our technology driven society. NORA is taking the time to catch-up with technology by analyzing the current consumer education being conducted by NORA. NORA is putting forward solutions that are attainable by customers who visit NORA’s multiple web pages. NORA is working vigorously to stay ahead of the change; this exciting change has started with the NORA Store.
The NORA store is an on-line purchasing center that allows customers to purchase NORA products with just the click of a button. The NORA store has products for technicians, homeowners, trainers, realtors and a variety of other audiences. NORA is striving to create a more user friendly, content based website geared towards technicians, trainers and consumers. The menus have been redesigned to be clear and simple, providing quick immediate access to educational products. Searches have been custom-tailored to user preferences. Available for purchase, NORA has developed a vast number of educational materials to promote service excellence in the Oilheat industry. The "newly remodeled" NORA store can be viewed at norastore.org.
October 2008-How Heating Oil Prices are Determined--
Heating oil is traded on the commodities market just like other home heating fuels. This means heating oil cost is subject to fluctuations, just like the stock market. The price of crude oil has the biggest impact on the price of wholesale heating oil. Due to the variations in crude oil prices, dealers are generally price takers on any given day.
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October 2008-New Technician Patches at NORA--
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October 2008-Short-Term Energy and Winter Fuels Outlook-- What the Energy Information Administration did not say
Alexandria, VA- The Energy Information Administration revealed its short term energy and winter fuels outlook this morning. The main numbers below warrant some attention;
DOE predicts that all heating fuels will be expected to increase 15 percent or more. DOE predicts that heating oil total expenditures will increase by 23.1 percent compared to last year and natural gas is expected to increase by 18.1 percent. Additionally, the Energy Information Administration indicated that total expenditures will be 450 dollars higher than last year, while natural gas will increase by 155 dollars.
A prime mover in the higher expenditure is the weather services prediction that northeast will be approximately five percent colder than last year. This impacts heating oil since it is predominantly a northeast fuel whereas natural gas is not.
The benchmark price for energy forecast was 110 dollars. Prices are now approaching 90 dollars; this is 18 percent drop which is not accommodated by this forecast.
October 2008-The Energy Information Administration-- Winter Fuels Outlook Conference, the Oilheat Industry’s Response
Alexandria, VA--2008 has been one of the most difficult years for oil in decades. However, prices are moving in a positive direction for consumers. Additionally, most Oilheat consumers escaped the high summer prices, as no fuel was used.
The price of crude oil reached a record price of $137. This price was fueled by a number of factors, including continued strife in the Middle East, intense speculation in the oil market as the value of the dollar declined, and increased demand from China and South Asia. However, as the economy slowed in the U.S., prices for crude have fallen. On October 6, oil was priced at $91 per barrel, a decrease of over 33 percent. Heating oil reached $4.05 and it is now $2.58, 36 percent decline. Energy has always been a volatile commodity. The high prices we have seen in 2008 have increased efforts to find crude oil, and increase production. The high prices have also encouraged production of renewable fuels and encouraged conservation. These two factors will continue to put downward pressure on oil prices in the future.
Inventory of Product
East coast distillate inventories are approximately 13 percent below normal. Midwest inventories are 3 percent below normal, and west coast 1 percent below normal. We would expect inventories to be slightly lower than normal at this time due to the volatility in the market. Purchasing product and storing it in late September could be disastrous to a business if prices continue to fall. In the summer, inventory "build" season prices have fallen almost $ 1.50. At currently inventory levels, this is a loss of over 3 billion dollars. Wholesalers and retailers have to be careful in managing inventory. However as we approach winter, suppliers will ensure that there is product available for needs in the event of a weather problem. The oilheating system is a just in time inventory system. Inventory is designed to bridge between deliveries or if it was profitable to store. In addition if there is a problem with inventory, the U.S. government has 2 million barrels of heating oil stored and available for use. We do not foresee any problems with the lack of inventory for the winter months.
The heating oil industry has been a leader in adopting renewable fuels. Currently, heating oil can be blended with biodiesel, which creates a renewable product that is not only grown in America, and has a lower CO2 profile, but also can be used in heating appliances without requiring any modification. This product will increase its share over the coming years, allowing heating oil to be a "green"
Through the use of renewable biodiesel, and improved efficiencies, Oilheat has done a tremendous amount in this area. The profile of a oil heated home today will continue to improve over the coming decade as they become more efficient and the biodiesel content increases.
The sulfur content of heating oil has been reduced from over 1% to as low as .05%, a reduction of over 93%. Through the efforts of the Mid-Atlantic Northeast Visibility Union (an association of state environmental commissioners), the amount of sulfur in heating oil will be cut to essentially zero over the next ten years. This will reduce particulate emissions to nearly zero, improve the efficiency of the heating oil appliance and make oil a very clean burning product. Oilheat is safe, clean, efficient, economical and reliable. New oil heat technology has helped solve critical issues related to the environment. Condensing boilers and furnaces, used for oil heat, reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Heating Oil refers to fuel containing .05% sulfur content (or less). There is a growing movement within the Oilheat industry to introduce and deliver low sulfur home heating fuel that surpasses earlier heating efficiency and performance achievements. The advantages to low sulfur heating oil include: reduced emissions from furnaces or boilers, improvements in equipment performance and improved fuel.
Department of Energy(DOE)-The Winter Fuels Outlook
The Winter Fuels Outlook Conference in Washington, DC, outlines EIA's forecast for U.S. crude oil, distillate, propane and gasoline supply, demand, and markets over the coming winter season. This conference predicts the winter fuel expenditures that are expected for the upcoming year. Unfortunately, in their reporting, many newspapers do a report comparing different fuels. In their report, DOE compares different fuel use, and provides for a comparison between the fuels. However, heating oil because it serves the colder areas of the country requires the most volume. Essentially, there is a comparison between heating a home with oil in New England, and a home in Florida with electricity. To compare in a region, fuels should be adjusted to uniform BTU measure. DOE’s Heating Fuel Comparison Calculator is a useful tool for this.
Use in Equivalent Gallons
Heating Oil 614
Natural Gas 569 Gallons
Propane 552 Gallons
Heating Oil 604 Gallons
Natural Gas 495 Gallons
Propane 447 Gallons
Electricity 197 Gallons
This leads to a gross distortion when a comparison of the fuels and likely winter costs is released. Additionally, regional prices should be used whenever possible. Heating Fuels are not like most items, you have to pay the price in your area.
September 2008-NORA Partners with the American Society of Home Inspectors-
ASHI is an organization of independent, professional home inspectors. ASHI Associates work their way to ASHI Certified Inspector status as they meet rigorous requirements, including passing a comprehensive, written technical exam and performing a minimum of 250 professional, fee-paid home inspections conducted in accordance with the ASHI Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics. Through this partnership, NORA customers gain access to the largest and most trusted network of home inspectors - an important step in the buying and selling process that can ultimately help consumers make a more informed purchasing decision.
Partnering with ASHI confirms NORA’s commitment to bringing consumers and professionals together, in a unique way that really enables both groups to take action and make better buying decisions. “We are extremely happy to partner with such a respected organization", stated John Huber, President of NORA.
September 2008-NORA Takes Education to the Next Level-
August 2008-NORA Budget for 2009-
Alexandria, VA-The National Oilheat Research Alliance has release the budget for the 2009 fiscal year. That budget plan, according to the Act, shall include the probable costs of all programs, projects, and contracts. After public review and comment, NORA must submit the proposed budget to the Secretary of Energy and to the Congress. This document constitutes NORA’s initial proposed budget for calendar year 2009, for which public comments are sought.
Although this document and the budget ultimately submitted to the U.S. Department of Energy and Congress will recommend spending levels, no grant funds will be expended as a result of NORA’s adoption of the budget. Under its rules, NORA must separately approve a detailed funding request for each specific project before grant funds may be expended.
The purpose of the bill is to reauthorize the National Oilheat Reliance Alliance Act of 2000, and for other purposes. If passed, the bill will allow NORA to change the rate, and eliminate the sunset provision. NORA is continuously working to have this bill attached and enacted as an amendment this fall.
NORA’s role in launching this initiative is to do the following: develop training materials for the industry, survey customers to ensure that this service is desired, develop turnkey brochures and customer pieces that could be used by companies providing this service, develop packages of equipment that could be used to deliver these services and provide marketing support for companies providing these services.
NORA is looking into this audit program as a joint venture with BPI. The reason NORA is thinking about partnering with BPI is because BPI’s certification, accreditation, and quality assurance services are recognized by the Home Performance with ENERGY
At the conclusion of the 250 hours investigation that covered operation with selected burner/appliance combinations, it was found that the results of tests firing both No. 2 fuel oil and B5 Biodiesel blend for each combination indicate conformance with applicable requirements. Additionally, the results observed showed typically lower levels of NOx were measured firing 5% biodiesel blend in comparison with firing No. 2 fuel oil.
June 2008-Heating Oil Dealers Focus of