Heads Up, Raters! Nice New Resource!

The Building America Solution Center has taken the knowledge and experience of the DOE’s research program and applied that to a user friendly web resource for building professionals.

The most useful thing for raters is the “Checklist Manager”.  The Checklist Manager aligns the DOE’s resources, with ENERGY STAR v3 checklists and if integrated into a rater’s process could arm them with the information they commonly need to educate builders and trades. The coolest thing about the Checklist Manager is the “Mobile Toolkit”. Raters commonly find themselves in a position to educate on site without the proper resources at their fingertips.  The Mobile Field Kit allows a rater to not only access these resources that align with ENERGY STAR checklists in the field, but also flag resources for quicker access to be used for reference in the field.  This allows the rater to share these resources more easily with a contractor including  scope of work, training materials, and code compliance references that align with the ENERGY STAR Requirement.  The Mobile Toolkit can be found if you drill down into the specific checklist item details.

Sign up for free and try it out yourself.  I think you’ll find it useful in helping ensure success in correcting issues as you see them.

To really geek out also check out the “Building Science Explorer” or the “Component Explorer”.

Access all of this from the following website:

http://basc.pnnl.gov/

 

Glenn Pease
Energy Pro Services – Technical Lead
HERS Provider
EnergyLogic, Inc.

Energy Avenger Prepping for the ‘THRILLA IN THE VILLA’

The Energy Avenger has been donning his favorite cape and putting on quite a show for the locals here in Berthoud, CO.  Over the last few days the recently incarcerated super hero has been publicly working out for the enjoyment of the community.  His press release dated February 12th announced his promise to begin, “… a rigorous new training program to steel myself for the coming trials.”  He has certainly held true to his word.

We spotted the Energy Avenger during one of his ‘work-outs’ at the Logical Living Center, home of the EnergyLogic Academy.  He was busy bench pressing bags of insulation and tubes of caulk. At one time, he attempted chin-ups on a neighboring swing-set.  After three chin-ups he windily declared, “Why do chin-ups when I can do fly-ups?”  He then repeatedly hovered above and below the swing set much to the onlookers delight.  I couldn’t help but ask him about a beverage he was surreptitiously consuming.  The Avenger declared is was his ever present ‘Super Power Enhancement Potion. It is a concoction I plan to share with the energy efficiency community at #RESNET13.  This reporter could not help but noticed how it look strikingly familiar to a bottle of Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA.

        

According to the Avenger, he plans to take on energy inefficiencies head-on during the 2013 RESNET Conference during the evening hours of the 27th and 28th of February at a neighboring hotel villa.  He called this his ‘THRILLA IN THE VILLA!’   He’s packed his boxing gloves and other fairly unnecessary training equipment in preparation for an all out throw down of ideas and thought provoking conversation on how to save the world this coming year.

I asked the Avenger if he was planning on staying the straight and narrow path, and if a repeat of his recent episode in Las Vegas may happen during #RESNETafterdark.

He then smiled, belched somewhat discretely, and flew away.

 

 

 

Why Get an Energy Evaluation?

We all have choices when it comes to our homes.  Should I remodel the kitchen or replace the roof?  Get new windows or put in wood floors?  Paint, wallpaper or put up the wood-grain paneling we had as a kid? The list of decisions goes on and on.

One often overlooked area in all of this is the cost of “running” your home.  That is, the energy used to heat, cool, cook, clean, light, and provide enough warm water so that the kids don’t run screaming from the shower.  All told … thousands of dollars spent every year.  What’s the cost of evaluating all of this?  A fraction of what you’d spend having a decorator tell you what tile to put into your bathroom.

There are several levels of energy evaluations these days.  They range from an on-line fill-in-the-blank survey to several hours of a professional in your home with fans, specialized cameras, smoke emitters and various other tools.  Your local utility likely offers an energy evaluation for no cost or a nominal charge.  Worst case, you’ll pay anywhere from $150 to $500 depending on the depth of the audit; a pretty small price to get some recommendations that could save you hundred of dollars each year.

Will your house sell for more because of well sealed rim joists and an attic with R-50 insulation?  Don’t be so hasty to discount these items.  These are the types of things that are going to give back every day you’re in that home – not just when you’re selling.  There is a growing trend toward having an energy score for your home – like MPG for your car.  Some people are still going to want a 17 MPG Hummer (for whatever reason) but like the Hummer – it will eventually go out of production and out of style.  Likewise, a 100 HERS home (today’s standard new home) may not be good enough for many in the future; people will start seeking out homes that have better energy performance — lower HERS scores.  Why?  Because that granite counter top and walk-in closet aren’t going to bring you much joy if you’re walking around shivering.

Will Lorey
COO of EnergyLogic, Inc.

The Service Industry Gets a Bad Rep… When We Give It Reason To!

Something has gone missing and I need your help to find it. Unlike most of the things that go missing in my world, this time dog didn’t eat it, my 5 year old didn’t lose it in the bottom of a toy box, and my 12 year old didn’t hide it under the bed.  I’ve identified something that is missing from our entire industry: service.  Ask any rater what industry they work in.  What sort of answers would you get?  Home Performance Industry, Construction Industry, Building Science Industry, Energy Efficiency to name a few.  But guess what they won’t answer?  Service Industry.  The term “Service Industry” conjures up thoughts of retail and hospitality jobs.  But the term is much broader than that.

   Time for a quick review of Economics 101.  The Primary Sector of a nation’s economy harvests goods from the Earth.  The Secondary Sector manufactures products from those harvested goods.  And the Tertiary Sector- also known as the Service Sector or Service Industry- is not about producing goods.  Instead, it is an exchange of the worker’s knowledge or time.  These are not just bartenders and cab drivers.  The Service Industry includes professionals and tradesman as well.  The range is wide, from banking to transportation to pest control and health care.  In fact the Service Industry represents something close to 75% of the US workforce, including home energy raters and auditors.  But in my experience, many of us have completely neglected the “Service” part of our work.  That’s a dangerous proposition for any business given that good service is a key component to customer loyalty, company reputation, and word of mouth advertising.  For context, I had about 15 years of experience in the customer service departments for banking and retail businesses prior to joining EnergyLogic. Improving the company’s customer service is part of the reason I was hired.

So what’s got me so worked up?  It’s the slow turnaround time that I see with regard to raters getting their reports to clients.  Part of my job at EnergyLogic involves uploading ratings to RESNET’s National Building Registry database.  That means I personally handle several thousand ratings that get submitted by EnergyLogic’s Rater Partners all across the country each year.  All too often, I come across files that are submitted several weeks after the last field visit!  Since no RESNET Accredited Rating Software can print reports without watermark until AFTER submittal to the National Buildings Registry, I can deduce that no official reports have gone to the client for several weeks after the date of final inspection!  We understand that ENERGY STAR Version 3 has added a few more hoops to jump through (chasing down checklists from contractors), and it can cause some extra time getting everything together (not to mention re-inspects).  But let’s face it; this is not just an issue for ENERGY STAR Homes.  The rating reports (and associated certificates or labels) are the primary deliverable in the rating world- particularly on new homes.  So a client is paying for a service, and the business they’ve hired to perform this service is running several weeks behind in delivering?

There is no other way to put it; that’s just bad service.  If builder clients seem okay with getting this sort of turnaround time, then what does that say about how much they value your reports?

Marnie Doyle
EPS Administratvie Coordinator

ENERGY AVENGER SPEAKS ON HIS RECENT ARREST!

Monday, February 11th, 2013
2:45 pm

The Energy Avenger released a public statement regarding his recent arrest in Las Vegas on two charges of disturbing the peace and public nuisance while defying gravity.

From: The Energy Avenger

With regards to my recent detainment by the good people of the Las Vegas PD, I can only beg forgiveness from my legion of fans.  The continual struggle to bring energy efficiency and conservation awareness to the public had worn me down to a point of mental and emotional collapse.  I appreciate the support and friendship of my compatriots in the struggle; Energy Vanguard, Energy Circle Pro, The Green Building Curmudgeon and the many others who came to my aid in my time of need.

I’ve seen the light (LED please).  I hereby renew my commitment to seek out and spread the warm glow of energy knowledge; the sublime and the mundane.  To fight the good fight; supporting the work of RESNET, by attending its conference and checking in with those mentioned above and learning more about new and exciting programs like EcoHome from my friends at Southern Energy Management.  I’ll keep working to defeat my foes like Robin’ Heat, a villain who rides the coat tails of thermodynamics to steal your hard earned money.

I’ve begun a rigorous new training program to steel myself for the coming trials.  Follow along if you will on my road to redemption.  See you in Orlando at #RESNET13.

–The Energy Avenger

Energy Avenger Will Rise Again!

We’ll be keeping you updated!