EnergyLogic assesses compliance with the Federal tax credit for every home that we inspect. In addition, we provide a tax credit compliance report that is signed for every home that is tested.
Over the past several years EnergyLogic has had to reissue these tax credit documents due to software updates that have also changed the physical look and content of the document. Due to the need to reissue the reports, we were able to issue new passing tax credit certificates and lump them together for your convenience. The reports were typically sent in an email at the beginning of the year or a builder login was issued directing you to pull these reports from our DASH data system.
For 2016 homes, EnergyLogic will not need to re-run tax credit certificates or make any adjustments to the certificates you have already received. Therefore, builders will not be receiving an email containing all passing tax credits. EnergyLogic has already emailed all final report packets to you at the time the home has been rated and certified. Within those final report packets, you will find the tax credit certificate. It clearly states on the tax credit certificate if the home passes or not. In addition, the tax certificate is signed only for the homes that pass.
Builder Login for EnergyLogic’s DASH database
You can also access these final report packets using your builder login to EnergyLogic’s DASH database. Contact Tracy Larson at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need directions, username and password for the DASH builder login. Tracy will be sending you a spreadsheet in the next few weeks that lists all homes that qualified for the tax credit which will narrow down the list of packets you’ll need to locate and make your search easier.
The Federal tax credit expired on January 1st, 2017. As in the past, Energylogic will continue to issue tax credit certificates for all homes that we inspect. We will do this because historically every time the tax credit has expired it has been re-authorized and made effective retroactively to the date it expired. For example, on January 1st, 2015 the tax credit expired. In December of 2015. the tax credit was re-authorized to be effective from January 1st, 2015 through December 31st, 2016. The only way we can be sure that your homes will be able to get the credit if the tax credit is re-authorized is to keep track of whether they pass or not at the time of the final inspection. We strongly recommend that your office file the tax credit certificates for those homes that pass and are signed off on, so you are prepared to file for your credit if and when re-authorization occurs.
At this time, because nobody knows if re-authorization will occur, EnergyLogic does not recommend changing your building specification to optimize for the tax credit.
Additional information regarding the rebate structure and requirements is located on our website.
Who to Contact:
Principal, Director of Builder Relations
You asked and we answered. DASH by EnergyLogic has created instant access with ability to download reports. It is fast and completely eliminates the cat-and-mouse game of chasing paperwork. Reports, certificates as well as other documentation specific to a home’s performance can be accessed directly from our system, using your own individual and builder-specific login.
Sending emails in search of items or searching within your own email to find something you may have received is inefficient and time-consuming. You will no longer need to wait, as you can now log in, search by address and retrieve the documentation you need!
Contact Tracy Larson for your USER ID, password and a how-to guide.
July’s DASH release included many new and exciting features for DASH. Several of the new features came as requests from our DASH users. Those include, but are not the only:
- The new Home Performance Summary Report is available in the Inspection Form system. Generate the report after the final inspection has been completed and email it directly to your client from DASH.
- Set the time zone on your system to your time zone so that all of the DASH tracking and auditing are recorded in your local time zone. Access the time zone setting form the Admin screen-Other icon.
- Eight additional user-definable checkboxes have been added to use on the individual service records: four checkboxes for the Builder Services, and four for the Existing Homes Services. Set them up from the Admin screen-Checkboxes icon.
- Your business log can now be embedded in the email templates that DASH uses to generate emails to your clients. Check this out in the Admin screen-Email Settings-Email Signature Images section.
- Specify whether Environmental Programs should display on the job inspection reports. When you set up an Environmental Program, there is a new question: “Show this program on reports?” to set as “yes” or “No”. This setting determines whether the inspection report should contain information regarding that particular Environmental Program (IECC 2012 Code, for example).
- Easy access to DASH documentation. You can now access all of the documentation and videos regarding using DASH from the new Resources link at the top right of your DASH screen. Look for the toolbox icon:
These features represent just a few of the features and upgrades from the July release. Hope you find them as helpful as those who requested them. We think you will.
EnergyLogic and DASH
When my daughter and her first real boyfriend broke up, I said, “Honey, it’s not that he’s a bad person, but he’s not the right person for you. He doesn’t see your complexity and your depth. When you’re in the right relationship, you’ll not only feel appreciated and seen, you’ll both be able to be the best people you can be. In a good relationship, you help each other grow.”
When I first got the message, I was a little heartbroken. Our DASH client—a client we loved! A client on whom we had lavished attention!—was leaving us. And for what? For a come-hither CRM that doesn’t even come close to the depth, the breadth, the specificity, the thoughtfulness of DASH.
As it turns out, our main cheerleader on our clients’ team had left, and so for some time they weren’t really using DASH well or fully. They just couldn’t take advantage of DASH’s complexity and depth. And they weren’t right for us for another reason—our best clients make DASH better by using it. They are committed to the same things we are at EnergyLogic—data, efficiency and consistency, industry specific process and best practices. DASH is very flexible, and we learn a lot by seeing how our peers use DASH to run their companies—and when they have a fabulous idea or a new need, we design it into our software. The relationships with our clients allow DASH to be the best software it can be.
The next day, I walked in on a demo with a new client who was thanking Kathleen profusely for all the thought and care that has gone into developing DASH. They’d been searching for solutions, he said, cobbling together systems—and here it was, already complete. Pleased, of course, Kathleen thanked him for the appreciation, but said it would never be complete. “Our industry is complicated, and always changing. We need to be constantly growing as well.” With the right relationships and the right clients, we will.
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 (email@example.com) would be happy to show you around. An no, that is not Kathleen in the tights pictured below!
The other day as Janet (our controller) and Will (COO) and I were looking over our budget, we wrestled again with the question of how iRate, EnergyLogic’s proprietary enterprise management system, should be classified. It always looks sort of costly to them, both in terms of cash and time and brain cells. Is it an Expense? Revenue stream? Asset? Company Pet?
Is it an expense? It certainly is expensive. In addition to paying our developer, we spend lots staff time figuring out how to make iRate do what we need it to do, and change as the sea of programs and expectations of our clients shift beneath us. Like our other business expenses—phones, computers, office space, RemRate fees, cars—iRate is just another cost of running this company in the most efficient and best way we can. And like other expenses, it constantly requires upgrading.
Is it a revenue stream? It is, but we don’t market it very hard. We want it to be wonderful because we use it to manage both our field ratings division and our ResNet providership. We sell it to our friends and to our Rater Partners. The revenue offsets, but doesn’t cover the costs of development. We’re not software developers—we’ve just developed amazing software. Like our other business expenses—phones, computers, office space, RemRate fees, cars—iRate is just another cost of running this company in the most efficient and best way we can. And like other expenses, it constantly requires upgrading.Ollie, the REAL EnergyLogic Pet.
Is it an asset? We couldn’t run EnergyLogic without iRate. It’s hard to even imagine what this company would look like without the iRate database at the center of everything. We schedule through iRate, and we also bill, track, communicate, report, and archive. It allows everyone in the company to have access to the all the work we’ve done and are doing at the same time. It allows all of us to work remotely, and to share everything in real time. Without iRate, we’d have to double our scheduling staff, double our bookkeeping staff, and we’d have to add raters and auditors too. So, yeah, it’s definitely an asset. Next to our amazing staff, it’s our biggest asset.
Is it a company pet? Maybe it’s that most of all, at least to me. It’s a working dog, for sure—probably a herder of some kind, like a super-smart border collie. I’ve seen this software grow up as we have grown up as a company. It’s loyal and dependable. We pay attention to it. We log in to it every day and fill it up with everything we know. We teach it new tricks. We care about it as the distillation of our best practices over the years.
Each month EnergyLogic will be posting a blog that pertains to our proprietary software, iRate. Irate is software that organizes your energy services company with features such as scheduling, reporting, and QA. It also integrates with Quickbooks® and REM/Rate®. For more info on iRate, please visit us at MyiRate.com.
We SO thought we were done….
In fact, we knew we were finished. An effort to replicate the Energy Star V3 checklist as iRate inspection forms evolved into a year-long project of re-vamping the iRate inspection form system. The Energy Star V3 checklist would be integral to the new inspection forms, and vast flexibility to accommodate other inspection protocols would be incorporated. Long awaited features like emailing reports directly from iRate and storing site-specific REM templates in iRate would also be included.
We tested it extensively. A rater ran multiple test inspections and ratings through the process, his feedback incorporated into the forms system. Each rater attended two separate trainings to gain exposure and supply further feedback. A live field rating was performed collectively by the entire field staff to iron out the final wrinkles and launch the new software.
iRate 2012 was complete. With much fanfare, we released it to our live iRate site and transitioned our Energy Logic field staff.
Only to discover that we were far from finished.
Inspection Items in the wrong place, appearing multiple times, cumbersome switching between windows, too many save buttons. After so much meticulous, detailed planning and testing, all those meetings, how could things be so off?
We needed someone to use it-use it when it mattered to them. Until the day’s work depended on this tool, until the product for the customer was at stake, it was just a mental exercise for everyone involved. Things “looked good”, “worked fine” until it made a difference in producing a rating. The impact on the process couldn’t be measured until the process changed.
So we’re not basking in the sun with our Pina Coladas just yet. Our EL raters are using the inspection forms in the field and continue to provide valuable feedback. We now recognize that while we may reach a stopping point, and will release changes to the field, we really can’t ever call it “done”—because as processes improve and programs change, iRate changes too.
Launch delayed, lesson learned.
Folks have been doing take offs for buildings pretty much since we scratched designs into the dirt. The state of building takeoffs has advanced a great deal since then. For most of us.
For Energy Raters though, most of us have been doing something with paper, spreadsheets, red pens, highlighters, pens that “measure”, digitizers… Oi Vey! Architects use fancier tools. Why can’t we do better? We can.
For the past two years, EnergyLogic has been using Google SketchUp, a free tool on Google’s site
One of our intrepid staff, Doug Bursnall took on the task of writing the script that calculates all of the Rater specific stuff that we all need. To be fair, in the grand tradition that is taking good ideas and improving them, it was our Rater Partners in Nebraska that first made us aware of SketchUp. We took the idea and improved on it and we haven’t been alone. Energy Vanguard out of Atlanta recently announced a training on how to use the tool. We’ve presented our use of it at RaterFest! over the past two years.
Over the course of the past two years, we’ve done hundreds, possibly thousands of takeoffs with SketchUp. At first, we were cautious that we would make mistakes, that we would somehow be less accurate with SketchUp. The inverse is true, we’re far more accurate, our work has on multiple occasions pointed out flaws in the actual plans and the architects own takeoffs. We get the huge added benefit of our field staff having a 3D image to look at in the field. The files are light and the tool is free, so our staff can readily pull them down for each job wirelessly via our management system iRate. State of the art in the field.
SketchUp is easy to learn and fun to use. We’ve reduced our takeoff time dramatically and increased our accuracy. What’s not to like? It’s altogether too easy to make mistakes with paper. Nothing reduces your credibility faster than mistakes in your calculations.
Two modules, SketchUp Basics and SketchUp for Raters.
We are launching our own online training within the next few weeks, stay tuned by following us on Facebook, our weblog, my Twitter announcements @elstevebyers or on LinkedIn as well (following tool in the column on the left). Lots of ways to stay in touch! The training will be available to everyone, with a discount for our Rater Partners. We’ll provide you with the script to get all the Rater magic that you need, areas and volumes and program targets for code and ENERGY STAR in particular.