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Get to know our new Field Services Manager & Software Technical Liaison, Steve Eagleburger

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EnergyLogic is proud to announce some exciting changes to our team! Get to know our new Field Services Manager & Software Technical Liaison, Steve Eagleburger.

Q&A: Learn more about Steve, his comprehensive background, and credentials!

What was your first job in the residential construction industry?

I’ve been involved in construction most of my life. I started as a painter/faux finisher around 30 years ago. I moved on to handyman work and eventually became a General Contractor around 2003.

How and when did you first become interested in high-performance homes and energy efficiency?

I’ve always been interested in environmental construction and design. I built the one and only Compressed Earth Block home in Denver and currently live there. It’s imperative that the construction industry realizes the impact it has on this planet and its inhabitants and take steps to move toward more efficient, cleaner and safer homes.

What insights did you gain in your time working as a general contractor?

Contractors can change the way we build homes and by making that change we can create longer- lasting, more comfortable, better performing homes. We often are focused on the bottom line when we should step back and look at the big picture. Success comes when we meet a triple bottom line -Economic Value, Environmental Sustainability and Social Responsibility. This is what drove me as a G.C. and eventually what lead me to work at Energylogic.

You’ve been with EnergyLogic since 2010 and have worked at a number of different roles.  What are some things you can share about your background in residential energy consulting?

You don’t know what you don’t know until you know it and as soon as you know it you need to share it. This is a constantly evolving industry and as raters and builders, we have to stay informed. Codes and programs evolve over time. It’s our responsibility as energy consultants to keep our clients informed and be as pre-emptive as possible when change is coming. Nobody likes surprises!

What are some of the common design mistakes or misconceptions builders should watch out for?

Demand a detailed set of drawings from your architect and engineer before you start to build and make sure those drawing specify local codes and builder program details! Refresh your plan set to include updated codes or details that were missed originally so you don’t keep repeating the same mistakes. So many failures and re-inspections can be avoided by having a knee wall framing detail somewhere in your plan set, or air barrier detail drawn for double framed walls, or by making sure there’s room between the stairs and foundation wall to add insulation, etc. These details allow everyone to do their job better, from estimators to installers.

Little things do matter. Even though we don’t like to delay construction schedules over minor issues, small improvements on a national scale can make an impact. We call these things out to help you build a better product, not to be obstructive. The building code and national programs such as Energy Star and DOE Zero Energy Ready Homes exist to help you build a better product and get to that triple bottom line. Embrace it and accept the future of construction!

What do you like to do in your free time?

When I’m not working you’ll find me hiking or camping with my wife and dog, but nothing too extreme. We like the quiet places.  Or maybe I’m down at the local brewery for a pint of cask-conditioned English ale.  Once a week you’ll find me at Zenko Kyudojo in Boulder, practicing Japanese archery.

 

Providers – Start Counting Your Quarters

Descending quarters on a white background showing loss or risk

RESNET QA Changes Now in Effect

There has been much deliberation over RESNET’s Quality Assurance (QA) requirements over the last few years, specifically the frequency of QA on raters.  In 2014, RESNET announced a big change that has gone into effect as of June 1st, 2015.

1% and 10% QA are still required for each rater based on annual volume – no changes here.  What has changed involves those managing a RESNET Providership and Quality Assurance Designees.

  • Providers must do 1% site QA every quarter based on the provider’s total counts from the previous quarter.
  • Once a Provider has met the annual quota for every rater (could be during any quarter) then you don’t need to keep going with the 1% of total provider count.

Addendum 15 states:

“904.4.2.3 The Provider shall complete a minimum of 1% quarterly onsite QA field reviews of the Provider’s ratings, based on the total number of ratings registered the previous quarter, until all annual QA requirements for the Provider have been met for each Rater. QA field reviews are not required on every Rater every quarter.”

EnergyLogic worked really hard to make it clear that quarterly QA of every rater would not be required.  We commented multiple times in the standard review process and we are glad this language was adopted.

However there is still a bit of gray area that providers need to consider. Let’s break down the site QA counting requirements in terms of buckets.

Pretend there’s a bucket for each quarter. Each bucket needs X amount of site QAs. The provider can mix and match which raters they choose to fill each of the buckets.  If a provider did 201 ratings in the last quarter then they require 3 field QAs in the next quarter. This way, providers have to spread out field QA throughout the year. However, once the annual 1% field QA requirements are met for every rater, then the provider no longer needs to fill their bucket of 1% of their total rating count for the quarter.  In other words, when all raters have met their annual allotted QA they don’t need to meet the quarterly QA requirements (assuming a rater doesn’t go over in the 4th quarter). RESNET is looking for the provider to spread out their field QA throughout the year, but not looking to put additional burden on the rater and we feel this was a good compromise.

We have worked up a visual aid with an example of how providers will need to track field QA.  In this example the provider is lucky enough to not need 4th Quarter QA.

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*The provider in this example chose to get a head start on their QA and do six site QAs in 2nd quarter where only three were required and five site QA’s in the 3rd quarter, where only three were required. This cut down on needing to do 4th Quarter QA, which is a good idea if you live in a snowy climate! We believe with a policy of only 2 site QAs per rater per quarter that this should still meet the intent of spreading out QA of high volume raters.

What should other providers consider?

Well let’s look at a scenario.  Let’s say by end of 3rd Quarter, a provider has done all the required QA based on each Rater/RFI like in the example above. Close the lid on site QA for the year right?  Well, 4th Quarter will probably see some raters going over the next 100.  In that case, the provider needs to do some 4th Quarter QA. This is pretty clear cut for some…

What is not clear is how frequently raters should get site QA. An answer lies in the justifications (found in the draft of the standard).

The justification states,

“A primary rationale for the proposal is to assure that QA field reviews are being completed on higher volume Raters within a timeframe that provides greater continuity of QA oversight.”   

This is one area where the standard and the justification do not exactly align and is creating some gray area for providers to fill in.

Our Raters Get 2nd QA Visit Free

EnergyLogic as a provider is considering a new policy that says “a Rater or RFI cannot have more than 2 field QAs per quarter, unless the rater has done more than 200 ratings in a quarter.” Since we are tallying Quarterly by the provider, but still trying to meet the intent of continuity of QA oversight of high volume raters, this policy seems fair and within the intent.  The good news for EnergyLogic’s Premium Rater Partners is that if a rater’s volume warrants a 2nd QA Visit, that rater’s 2nd visit is on us. This is our way of rewarding a successful rater and congratulating them on their efforts.  This is a major benefit to a rating company when time comes to budget their QA costs.

What if you did a bunch of site QA on raters in earlier quarters?  Is this cheating?

Not necessarily, but the intent is continuity of QA of high volume raters throughout the year so you should make an effort to spread things out for those raters. This is why EnergyLogic’s Providership is considering the policy above so that we align with the intent of the standard.

If you have questions, comments, or concerns, please share them here or email me directly at ratersupport@nrglogic.com.

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Glenn Pease
Professional Services Program Manager / Instructor
EnergyLogic, Inc.

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.

Top 5 Things Your Rating Company Should Do!

Are you committed to your success?  Here are our top 5 things every rating company (or any company) should do!

1.  Have Goals

If you don’t have any goals, you surely won’t achieve them.

This is a play on Yogi Berra’s famous, “If you don’t know where you are going, you will wind up somewhere else.” But think about it.  Most businesses don’t have a clearly defined set of goals. If they do, they may be too lofty (i.e. is it a mission or is it a goal?). They may not refine them as they are reached or as the world shifts around them.  Imagine a horseshoe manufacturer around the time that “horseless” carriages started to take off.  Think they needed to adjust their goals or even the entire business model?

2.  Be Accountable to Someone

Please, someone, anyone!  If everyone in your organization isn’t accountable to someone, then they are accountable to no one.  That goes most of all for you if you’re the leader.  Most of us that have the mantle of leadership might say that we are accountable to everyone in the organization.  That’s true, sort of.  But who above you are you accountable to?  Who is your trusted advisor, who will truly hold your feet to the fire?

3.  Know Where You are as a Business

Every business has a lifecycle. There are a number of great books that include discussions about this.  The venerable E-Myth is one and not as well-known is one called Navigating the Growth Curve.  As you guide your organization through its lifecycle, it is critical to know where you are and what’s coming around the bend. The great news is that you aren’t alone, many have blazed the same path!

4.  Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses

One of the great temptations in life, especially as a type A personality is to try to work on your weaknesses. As a business leader, it’s a mistake to focus on your weaknesses instead of playing to your strengths.  If you are a natural cheerleader, play to that.  If you are naturally process driven, go there. Hire the things that you suck at.

 

5.  Start with Plan A

You don’t really need a Plan B if you don’t have a Plan A. Too many organizations don’t even have a Plan A.  If you don’t have one, build one. Go ahead, I’ll wait… just kidding, but if you don’t have a plan, you need to start developing one.  Again, there are myriad books, articles and other references including mentors and coaches to help you work on this key area of business success.  Another great thing! – you get to refine the plan over and over, so your work in learning how to do this will serve you in the future.

 

EnergyLogic is committed to helping our partners succeed in business.  Our newest HERS Provider service is called Premium Provider.  Part of the package for Premium Provider is business coaching and mentoring.  All of the points above are part of the work we can do together.  As with many things that we believe in, if you don’t work with us on these things, work with someone, it’s critical to your success.

Quench Your Thirst to Learn

EnergyLogic is Leading Professionals to the Water

Premium Provider Services Part 4

You can lead an Energy Geek to water…

  • but they probably won’t drink it unless it’s from a low flow fixture.
  • and they’ll wonder where the water came from and ask to inspect the site
  • and once they arrive they’ll marvel at the water
  • and then they’ll search the shoreline for evidence of its origin
  • and even then you can’t make them drink.

However, we are doing our best to entice you to Quench Your Thirst to Learn by offering deep training discounts to Premium Provider Members.

All Premium Provider Members (including their staff and client network) will receive 50% discount for online EnergyLogic Academy trainings.

The EnergyLogic Academy was built on the foundation that your success is our success. Our focus has always been to prepare our clients and students to be the best educated home energy professionals in the industry.  EnergyLogic Academy has invested heavily in courses that offer the highest quality trainings available.  In order to continue offering trainings we are looking for Premium Partners to invest a little in their thirst to learn and we will meet you more than halfway to continue offering premium training services to help you, your staff, and clients all grow professionally.

EnergyLogic Academy currently offers a complete and comprehensive online training program and we believe it is the best in our industry.  Our online classes provide interactive learning resources; interaction with classmates and instructors through forums; complete activities that reinforce your knowledge; and finally quizzes and tests to measure your comprehension.  These courses are more comprehensive than our competitors for one reason: We challenge you during training so you are ready for the challenges of the field.

The deepest discount is offering SketchUp and ENERGY STAR v3 trainings at no additional cost to all premium members and their staff. And yes, this includes sales and office staff. We think these two trainings are important to the success of any rating company.  If you’re not already using SketchUp for takeoffs you’re missing out on a more accurate, visually appealing, and quicker form of takeoffs (cuts takeoffs in half).  ENERGY STAR v3 is important for all staff to understand and have working knowledge of, plain and simple.

The more staff you have the more valuable Premium Provider Membership becomes!  Sign up today by emailing ratersupport@nrglogic.com or calling 970-556-7195.

 

Glenn Pease
Technical Lead
EnergyLogic, Inc.

Shocking Results—EnergyLogic and March Madness

Premium Provider Services Part 3
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All Premium Provider Members who require a second Quality Assurance visit for the year will not incur any cost on that second visit.

March Madness fever from the NCAA Basketball tournament is still in full affect here at EnergyLogic and across the country. Most of us fall victim to the tournament’s excitement every year.  Upsets have shocked us and shattered brackets nationwide. But as we all know, “shocked and shattered” aren’t usually welcome characters in our businesses. Most notably unwelcome is sticker shock and we believe one of the biggest culprits leading to these shocking results is the onsite QA (Quality Assurance) costs, particularly when it comes to a second visit for the year.

Onsite QA is an integral part of the HERS Rating industry and its growth. Your annual QA should not only be considered a standard cost of doing business, but an opportunity to help raters grow and adapt to changes in the standard. It offers an in-depth cross comparison of a rating with your Quality Assurance Designee (QAD), and also creates a level playing field in working toward consistency in the HERS Rating product. These are important reasons why RESNET requires onsite Quality Assurance of every HERS Rater, every year and at an ongoing basis.

EnergyLogic takes this process seriously and provides an annual onsite visit for every rater who does ratings. For higher volume rating companies we are required to do QA at an ongoing basis. The cost of multiple visits in a year can be a pretty upsetting reality with sticker shock on the price tag of covering this expense. EnergyLogic has always made an effort to reduce these expenses whenever possible, but no matter how you dice it up, that second visit can be more shocking than any March Madness upsets to your bracket. EnergyLogic is providing a solution to this dilemma to our Premium Provider Members .

All Premium Provider Members who require a second Quality Assurance visit for the year will not incur any cost on that second visit.

Contact EnergyLogic now at ratersupport@nrglogic.com for more information and lock in on this offer by becoming a premium provider member with EnergyLogic today.  Plus you’ll enjoy all the other perks of premium membership.

And if you’re interested in joining the ‘EnergyLogic March Madness Challenge’ next year, just let us know!

Glenn Pease
EnergyLogic, Inc.
HERS Provider

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.

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.

EnergyLogic Introduces ‘Premium Partner Services!’

Here at EnergyLogic, we pride ourselves on the ability to think outside the box, break a few molds now and then, and continue to come up with new ideas on how to better our industry. We take this approach through each of our divisions;  offering new builder services, never ending software development, in depth and up to date training, and last but not least, improving and expanding rater services.

In comes Glenn Pease, EnergyLogic’s Technical Lead and oversees our HERS Provider Program for our Energy Professional’s Division.  Glenn is well versed on the growing needs of successful rating companies through his many travels and time spent with rater partners across the country. From his experience he has developed an idea to address those companies who are ready to take their growing business one more step.  With the help of Scott Doyle and the entire EPro Services Division, Glenn has created a new offering from EnergyLogic; Premium Partner Services.

EnergyLogic Premium Rater Partner Membership/Services

EnergyLogic is excited to announce a new suite of services with membership to our Premium Partner Services.  New and existing Rater Partners now have the opportunity to take advantage of premium membership, which includes a number of services and benefits designed for rating companies who are invested in growing their company.

Our Premium Services offer all the standard industry benefits of being a Rater Partner, but also include the following:

  • Partner Center – Free Access to Professional Development Resource 24/7
  • Second Quality Assurance Visit Free  – If Required
  • Guaranteed One Day Turnaround on Rating Registrations
  • Free ‘EnergyStar V3’ and ‘Sketch-Up for Raters’ online courses for your employees
  •  50% Discount on All Online Courses through EnergyLogic Academy
  • One Free Registration to RaterFest! 2013
  • Discounts on From Plans Rating Service
  • Free Business Coaching from EnergyLogic’s Top Executives

 

Existing rating companies, who switch over to EnergyLogic from their old provider and sign up for premium services by April 1st, will receive One (1) Free Rater Training valued at $1,700!  This is not your run of the mill rater training either.  It is a comprehensive blended training that is best in the industry.  Simply put this offer is our commitment to your growth as an independent rating company.

If you are interested in becoming an EnergyLogic Rater Partner (Quality services we provide to independent HERS rating company), please contact Marnie at 970-556-7195 or email ratersupport@nrglogic.com

 

Series to Highlight Premium Partner Benefits:   

In order to get the word out on the value of these services, we’re launching a series of blog posts detailing each one of these services/benefits and how they pertain to the rating companies we serve.  The first of this series will highlight our “Partner Center”  Be on the lookout for this post very soon!

 

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.