Eye in the Sky: : Remote Video QA

Happy little pilot flying in retro jet fighter.Access to homes for on-site QA is challenging, costly, and difficult to schedule with low volume raters. EnergyLogic is piloting a quality assurance program using video conferencing. No, no, no, we don’t get to use the quad-copter mini camera drone I got for Christmas last year, darn it…

Limited accessibility requires careful planning and often means there is less room for random selection and “credible discovery” in the QA process. Compounding the issue of accessibility is that low volume raters often don’t have a provider in their area.  In this case, the provider often times has to schedule QA with the rater weeks in advance in order to accommodate travel schedules and access to a home.

While EnergyLogic still performs site QA to meet our RESNET obligation for every rater, we are piloting a quality assurance program using video conferencing. This pilot goes beyond the RESNET minimums and annual on-site QA. It does not replace those requirements. However, we would like to see if random video conferencing of a rater on-site would help strengthen our quality assurance program. We hope it will strengthen the argument that in some circumstances, remote video conferencing may actually be more in-line with RESNET’s intent of random QA selection.

So what’s next? Well, we need a few candidates to help try this out.  Are you interested?  Here’s what we’re looking for.

Pilot Candidates & QA Delegates

Ideally we are looking for a handful of folks in each of the categories below.  All candidates in this initial phase must have 4G cell coverage in their area and access to a smart phone and/or tablet.  However if you fit into either of the circumstances below and are willing to rent a satellite internet setup, we are willing to consider this as an alternative.

  • Mid to high volume (100 + ratings/year ) with blind QA where the rater is willing to redo a rating that was already submitted
  • Low to mid volume (1 to 100 ratings/year) with a friendly competitor in the area who can qualify as a QAD delegate (active with over 25 ratings experience)
    • The delegate could do the site QA and we would use live video conferencing to guide the delegate
  • Low volume (less than 25 ratings) with no delegate candidates in their area

In cases where a QA delegate is on site for the event, EnergyLogic may consider using the delegate’s visit as meeting the annual site QA requirements and will determine this on a case by case basis.  If you meet any of the criteria above and are interesting in volunteering in this pilot, please email ratersupport@nrglogic.com

Help us Create Change and Stay Ahead of the Curve

Sometimes you have to experiment and learn from experience before an idea has earned credibility.  Remote video QA is one of those ideas that has been thrown around, but never earned credibility to be implemented in the RESNET Standard.  Experiences from this pilot will be presented to RESNET Staff and committee members to help earn this credibility.

Contact  ratersupport@nrglogic.com for more info, or call Glenn Pease directly at 970-980-5919.

Marketing One-Oh…. Nice!

Surprised woman face with WOW bubble

EnergyLogic Academy Referral Program

At EnergyLogic Academy our most effective marketing has always been word of mouth. Our extensive trainings have provided the industry with ready-to-work graduates who are more prepared to enter the workforce than many others.  This is what our customer’s know. This is why they send their new recruits to us.

We asked ourselves a couple questions.  How can we make ‘word of mouth’ a marketing tactic for us? How can we reward those who send us new students and grow our business?

What we came up with is the EnergyLogic Academy Referral Program; a program which benefits everyone.  The referrer is rewarded as well as the referred.  Cash for the referrer and discounts for the referred are offered.

Over the next couple of weeks we will be sending out emails to our regular customers with their unique referral code. This code can be used on any training-online or live- and used by anyone!  We welcome you to visit our website for a full explanation and review our guidelines on this new program.

So thank you, word of mouth marketers! We wouldn’t be successful without you.

Feel free to call us with any questions at 888-997-5132. You can also visit our website for all the ins and outs of our referral program.

Thanks,

Matt Thornberry
Director of EnergyLogic Academy

RESNET® Pro Courses Now Available to Residential Building Industry

EnergyLogic Academy is now offering two new courses designed to educate residential home professionals the RESNET Home Energy Rating System (HERS). The course will teach the workings of the Home Energy Rating Industry to ‘non-Raters’ who work with Raters in New Residential Building.  We are proud to introduce the RESNET HERS Advisor and HERS Designer courses. Steve Byers, CEO of EnergyLogic, explains the purpose, the point, and the benefit of the classes.

HERS-AdvisorQ. What triggered the need for these classes, what do they accomplish?”

A. Over the years we’ve had professionals such as Architects, Engineers, Builders, Real Estate Agents and more recently, Code Officials take the full Rater Training to learn about RESNET and how HERS Raters work. It was time to offer something to them that was geared toward what they were looking for, and priced accordingly.”

Q. Why not take the full rater training? Wouldn’t that be more comprehensive?

A.  Well… for a person who wants to work in the field doing ratings, sure. But for a Code Official or an Architect, why spend that kind of time and money? In the past, they were compelled to take HERS Rater training in order to access the knowledge base and/or the software.  It is an exercise in frustration for these individuals as they know they are taking training that isn’t going to meet their ultimate objective. Now we offer an educational path that makes sense for their industry.  These courses address the true needs of those professionals, and we are a reliable and experienced source to offer that training.

Steve Byers listens intently

For a more in-depth look at the two courses, I interviewed Matt Thornberry,  Training & Education Manager for the EnergyLogic Academy, who is working with RESNET to develop these new designations, RESNET HERS Advisor and RESNET HERS Designer. Matt is also the author of the courses and oversees the students.

Q.  Who is a ‘HERS Advisor?’

A.  The HERS Advisor is a professional connected to the new residential building industry who understands and can advise others on RESNET’s HERS. HERS Raters are playing a larger role in the residential construction industry and are verifying compliance for the International Energy Conservation Codes (IECC). As the Rater’s role in the residential construction industry grows, so does the need for a wider understanding of their qualifications, process, inspections, computer modeling, and tools. A HERS Advisor holds that understanding and can apply it to their part of the home building process when needed.

Q.  Who is a HERS Designer?

HERS-DesignerA.  A HERS Designer has gone one step beyond the HERS Advisor training by learning the process of performing a from-plans rating just as HERS Raters do before a home is ever constructed to help guide decisions about designing the home. They have been trained on a step-by-step creation of a from-plans rating using REM/Rate.

Q.  Are these RESNET approved courses?

A.  RESNET is actively considering creating a “designation” for the HERS Advisor and Designer courses and ultimately, “certification” for the HERS Designer path.

Q. Do these courses offer CEU’s or designations from any governing body?

A. At this time, HERS Advisor has been approved for .50 continuing education units from ICC. HERS Designer has been submitted for approval recently. We’re exploring offering other professional development credits from AIA and other organizations as well. Currently there is no designation; however EnergyLogic is working to get both pathways recognized by RESNET as an official designation.

If you’re interested in learning more about EnergyLogic Academy’s RESNET HERS Advisor or Designer courses, you can visit them at the EnergyLogic Academy’s RESNET Pro page.

The 2015 Xcel® ENERGY STAR New Homes Program

xcel_on_whiteSpecific 2015 Program year changes:

On February 20th 2015, the program shifted from rebates based on a HERS index score to rebates based on the percentage improvement over above code in which the home resides. The HERS ratings will determine the percentage above code using a matrix on millions of BTU’s. The ENERGY STAR certified home label is now a bonus rebate category and available to any home that earns the certification.  EnergyLogic will continue to enroll your home in the program and provide all required documentation needed to process the rebate.

 

Xcel_2015_Rebate copy

How your home is assessed

In addition to complying with the requirements of the Energy Star Thermal Enclosure Checklist, EnergyLogic will use a software modeling tool, to compare the as-built home’s energy consumption to that of a reference home built to meet the minimum code requirements in your local jurisdiction. The energy savings, as measured in MMBtu’s, between the as-built home and the reference home is converted to a “better than code percentage.”  The more energy-efficient the home is, the greater the code percentage and the larger the rebate will be.  The HERS index score is no longer used to determine the rebate award, but it’s a valuable tool for you to communicate the home’s efficiency to potential home buyers.  And it is a piece of the information that Xcel requires of us to complete each homes rebate process.

Currently, homes built in 2009 IECC jurisdictions will have no difficulty meeting a rebate category.  Those built in 2012 or 2015 IECC jurisdictions, however will have a more difficult time.  Many of the homes are qualifying at just 10% better than the code, so if you would like to increase your rebate payment amount please contact EnergyLogic. We can model your homes and identify what cost effective measures may be available to increase your energy specification to bring you a larger incentive.

ENERGY STAR-Certified Bonus Rebate

Homes that meet the following criteria  are eligible to receive a bonus rebate of $100 from Xcel Energy, in addition to the Performance Rebate.

  • The home must have both Xcel Energy natural gas and electric service in Colorado; and
  • Qualify for a “Percent Better Than Code” rebate; and
  • The home must earn the ENERGY STAR label under all EPA guidelines at the time of certification via the performance path, and the ENERGY STAR label must be applied to the breaker box.

Additional ENERGY STAR Appliance Rebates

Builders who are eligible for the Xcel rebate can also receive a rebate for installing any combination of ENERGY STAR -qualified appliances and lighting. Homes that receive only natural gas service from Xcel Energy are not eligible for the ENERGY STAR refrigerator or Lighting Efficiency rebate.

EnergyLogic will confirm that the appliance is installed during our final inspections, and will document the model specifications. The information will then be submitted to Xcel Energy on your behalf for rebate.

Contact Robby Schwarz with any questions. 720-838-0677

Black Hills Energy’s 2015 New Construction Program

Black HillsBlack Hills Energy has come out with a new program for builders in 2015.  The program requires the home to be located in Black Hills Energy gas service territory with installed gas heating system as the primary source of heating. Homes must be completed between Jan. 1, 2015 and Dec. 31, 2015 and applications for rebates must be received by Jan. 31, 2016.

Additional mandatory requirements for the Black Hills Program include the following minimum efficient equipment:

  • 94% AFUE for furnaces
  • 67 EF water heater

Lastly, builders must choose either a prescriptive or a performance path..

Prescriptive path:

For the prescriptive path, rebate item must be chosen within each equipment type category.  Each category indicates how many measures must be included.  Each choice has an associated rebate value.

BH_2015_Prescriptive

Continued:

BS_2015_Performance

Performance path:

The Performance path utilizes a Home Energy Rating to determine if the home performs at a minimum 10% better than the local code jurisdiction in which the house resides. The incentive for this pathway is capped at $1000.

Before deciding on a pathway through the rebate program it is recommended that you consult with EnergyLogic in order to determine which pathway is the most effective in returning incentive dollars to you. In most cases the prescriptive path is the most fruitful – even if you are currently utilizing the performance path for code compliance, HERS Ratings, and building to ENERGY STAR.

Contact Robby Schwarz with any questions. 720-838-0677