Our New Classroom – What it Says about Our Training

We just finished creating a new classroom for our live training professionals here at EnergyLogic and the EnergyLogic Academy. What? What! What you say?  Your “LIVE” training?  But I thought that EnergyLogic was all in for eLearning and online education?   The hypocrisy!

Ah Grasshopper, we are indeed heavily invested in the best that eLearning has to offer.  We’ve seen the impact that thoughtful well-crafted eLearning has on our effectiveness as a training organization.  However, sometimes live training is required (i.e. RESNET, BPI, LEED for Homes) and sometimes it’s the right learning environment whether required or not.

Toward that end, we’ve converted the garage space at our training facility, The Logical Living Center, into a new classroom.  We’re really excited by the way it turned out.

Here are some nice features:

  • Daylight – Yes!  Real live daylight that we can control
  • Classroom lighting – Proper direct/indirect lighting fixtures
  • Improved A/V – built-in cabling and controls for all of our A/V needs
  • Whiteboards! – 128 square feet of whiteboard (I know, I know, the first step is to admit you have a whiteboard problem…)
  • Classroom tables – Proper classroom tables that flip up and all that!
  • Cork Floor – Warm, quiet, and best of all, salvaged!
  • Mini-split heat pump – another type of machine for heating and cooling!

There’s more, but that gives you the idea – a bright, comfortable, well-lit space (with no pole in the middle!) that allows us to continue delivering the finest live training to pair with our best-in-class eLearning.  Hopefully you’ll join us for one or the other sometime in the near future!

Steve Byers
CEO
EnergyLogic, inc.

Tape a Cheetah to Your Provider’s Back:

Premium Partner Services Part 2

We can all relate to the series of AT&T commercials where the kids offer their perspective on what’s better. Some raters (and their builder clients) may relate most to the commercial on faster is better and wish they could “tape a cheetah” to their provider’s back to speed up the process.

In short, if we don’t get back to a premium member on their rating within one business day, that rating(s) is free.

More on the cheetah and the EnergyLogic guarantee later, but let’s provide some context on the importance of this commitment; HERS Raters provide a service, and the primary deliverable of that service is HERS Rating reports, certificates, and labels. There are other “value adds” to a builder in requesting HERS Rating services; less call backs and comfort complaints, and better rates of sale than non-rated homes just to mention a few. However, where the rubber meets the road in passing on the value of rating services to the home buyer nothing sells that value more than having reports, certificates, and labels in hand. This documentation is the cornerstone to the HERS industry and acts as the final “stamp” of an official rating. Timeliness in delivering these reports is not only important, but often times crucial to the sale of a rated home, however there also has to be a balance between quality and speed of processing and any good rating company and rating provider have found that balance. One thing that might tip that balance a bit in either direction is the RESNET requirement that all ratings must be registered before rating reports can be printed.

RESNET’s Policy clearly states that:

  • All rated homes must be registered
  • The rating provider is required to register ratings
  • The RESNET Registry serves as the means of “unlocking” rating reports

This means that any legitimate provider must touch every single rating in the process before those ratings are to be official. EnergyLogic has made a commitment to provide quality, timely service and we are now offering a money back guarantee to our Premium Provider Services members on the processing of their ratings.

All rating companies, including basic members, have come to expect this one day turnaround from EnergyLogic. In almost all cases we have provided that turnaround. However, as a benefit to our premium members we are offering this money back guarantee to partners who have invested in the growth of their rating company with our Premium Provider Services.

So how do we make this guarantee and follow through it?  Buy offering the following:

  • DASH, the EnergyLogic Cheetah or rating management tool
  • Dedicated Staff willing to tame that cheetah
  • We are a rating company too, we understand the value of timely reporting

For more information, contact Marnie at 970.556.7195 or ratersupport@nrglogic.com

Glenn Pease
Technical Lead
Energy Professional Services
EnergyLogic, Inc.

We’re Not iRate Anymore!

Introducing DASH!

We’re still impassioned by building science, we’re still crazy about running the best business possible, but we’re not iRate. Why? We’ve grown up as an industry, and so has our software. As we grew and changed, and as our industry matured, we revised our software to manage those changes.

We thought the name iRate was funny. (Actually, Robby Schwarz and I still think it’s funny, but it seems that we are the only ones…) In 2005 we started working with SCC Data, we built iRate to run our company—or I should say, we have been building iRate to run EnergyLogic as long as we have been a company.  Seven years ago, Steve Byers and I merged our company, EnergySmiths, with Robby Schwarz’ company, BuiltWright. We were faced with the daunting task of unifying our processes—our staff, scheduling, billing, inspection data, quality assurance–across three offices and spanning the whole state of Colorado. In August of 2006, we let go of the side of the pool (in this case, the messy collection of spreadsheets and file folders and sticky notes we’d cobbled together over the years to corral all that data) and from that moment forward, we did absolutely everything in iRate. Our efficiency skyrocketed, and so did our service to our builder clients. We had no more AWOL paperwork, no missed or duplicate billing, and we could schedule the whole state from our tiny office in Berthoud. Everyone on our team knew where everyone was—so if one rater finished early, he/she could easily see who out there needed a hand. And since all our data about every address was available to everyone, anyone on our staff could answer client questions about any address, done anytime and anywhere.

As our company evolved, our software grew too. iRate literally grew up with us. As we refined our field processes, we added fields to iRate to allow for the state of the art energy ratings we were committed to producing. As our billing processes grew more sophisticated, we refined iRate’s billing module that integrates with QuickBooks. As we got serious about existing home auditing, and energy retrofitting, iRate got serious about managing those activities. As scheduling grew more complicated, iRate morphed to meet the challenge. And as our industry professionalized, and demands by RESNET for quality assurance and file registration became more specific, and programs like Energy Star even more data intensive, iRate grew also. We have literally not taken a week off of software development in seven years—every week brings a new idea, or a new challenge, so every week we work on crafting iRate to do what we need it to do—run our entire business, a control center, a dashboard for everything we do, all in one place.

In two weeks we’ll launch the biggest software update we’ve ever released. And with it, our new name, DASH. You’ll see a complete revision of the way that data is collected and managed and reported. You’ll see awesome new industry specific features like the ability to prepopulate a REM/Rate template and calculate targets. You’ll see the same commitment to flexibility, just more of it—you can revise inspection items and lists to fit the way YOU do your work; you can create and track your own programs; design custom work-flows for every program; you can build your own forms. And you’ll like  the new technical features that allow you and your team to be even more efficient—for example, you’ll be able to upload multiple photos directly from your iPhone.

And so we’re not iRate. Now we’re DASH, a name we hope conveys both lighting fast pace and the tight control necessary to run our energy rating and auditing company—and yours.

If you’d like a demo of  DASH, Kathleen (kathleen@nrglogic.com) would be happy to show you around. An no, that is not Kathleen in the tights pictured below!

 


Wynne Maggi
President
EnergyLogic, Inc.

Building Science – The Oldest Profession

I had the pleasure of presenting with my good friend Allison Bailes at the recent RESNET conference in Orlando.  While watching Allison present, he made the statement that the Canadians or perhaps the Swedish invented Building Science.  It didn’t really hit me then, but this weekend, pondering my own house and sustainability efforts in preparation for a panel at the upcoming ACI Conference I realized that Allison is perhaps short selling our fine industry.  I think we can make a case for Building Science as the oldest profession.

We’ve been putting dwellings together for a very long time.  We’ve been building huts for at least 25,000 years.  Evidence for even cruder shelter stretches back as far as 30,000 years. It’s very likely that we’ve been crafting rough shelters to keep out of the elements considerably further back than that.  Any of us today working to survive in the wilderness would do what we can to stay  warm, dry, out of the wind and feel more safe than we would otherwise.

Many moons ago I visited Mohenjo-daro (awesome website Dr. Mark Kenoyer!) in Pakistan.  It’s an archaeological site, part of ancient Harappan civilization. It’s somewhere around 5000 years old and had toilets, street drainage systems and a variety of other mod-cons.  You need only look at the archaeological record to see that we’ve been doing building science as long as we’ve been building.  And of course, as we’re human, we’ve been improving as we go, forgetting much of what came before, making mistakes, discovering

new (and old) techniques and materials.  We continually blend the best (and worst – Amish miracle heater anyone?) of what we have today with the knowledge of our forbearers to advance the state of building science.  That is my point really – not only is Building Science the oldest profession – but that we are all building scientists in the applied fashion.  We tweak and adjust our structures, we do stupid stuff, but we also do brilliant stuff.  We orient our tents to face the opening away from the prevailing wind, we orient our homes to take advantage of the sun (except when we do a stupid thing like bring a design from England and plunk it down in New Zealand facing the same direction it did in England – Ooops – the Sun is the other direction down there! – Thanks to Ben Adams for telling me about that).

Vernacular architecture is the fancy term for recognizing that we build our dwellings to take advantage of what’s locally available to us and address the local conditions we face.  We generally make mistakes when we don’t at least understand the vernacular and ensure that whatever design we are proposing takes the same care to address the environment.  We’ve gotten lazy with our vernacular in no small part because of our current (and temporary) abundance of cheap fossil fuel.

High ceilings in hot regions, steep roofs in snowy regions, openings positioned to catch ocean breezes; that’s us evolving, that’s vernacular and that’s building science – we’ve been at it a long time.  So thanks Canada (and Sweden) for “modern” building science, but building science is old, perhaps even the oldest profession.

Steve Byers
CEO
EnergyLogic, Inc.

Partner Premier Services Installment #1: Partner Center

Series to Highlight Partner Premier Services:    The Partner Center

In order to get the word out on the value of EnergyLogic’s Partner Premier Services, we’re launching a series of blog posts detailing each one of the benefits and how they pertain to the rating companies we serve.

This first installment highlights our “Partner Center”.  Well over 300 Energy Professionals have taken EnergyLogic Academy online and blended training’s such as ENERGY STAR v3, SketchUp, or even Rater Training.  Now we are applying that platform to our provider services with our “Partner Center,” which will become our Rater Partner hub for sharing information.

Currently the Partner Center offers Top 5 Advanced Features of REM Rate, Tips and Tricks on Tax Credit Printing, Creating a Google + Page, a multitude of technical bulletin resources, and a technical forum to share ideas and experiences. The “Partner Center” is currently now offered to all of our Rater Partners to encourage use of its resources, but the Partner Center will also host training’s and services available free exclusively to Premium Members.

The most immediately useful Partner Center offering is our “Tips and Tricks on Tax Credit Printing”.  The process of mining through all of your REM files to retroactively issue Tax Credit reports is a daunting task.  This training will help guide you through the process, show you how can run analysis on 50 ratings at once and then how to weed through the data.  This training is valued at $100 and is well worth the price to the rating community at large, however our rater partners will benefit from this training for free.  Rater Partners please check your email on how to log in to the “Partner Center” for free access. If you are not a Rater Partner and you are interested in purchasing this training click on the link here.

Please, take a look!

Glenn Pease
Technical Lead
HERS Provider
EnergyLogic, Inc.