All RaterFest!

Our Newest Reason to Brag and Your Best Reason to Attend!

Autumn LodgeWe’re stoked!  RaterFest! 2015 is now officially a RESNET® Regional Conference.

We couldn’t believe it, but when we applied for continuing education credits for our upcoming RaterFest! event, it took less than 24 hours to approval from our friends at RESNET. Thanks, RESNET. We’re proud to be called a RESNET Regional Conference. We won’t let you down!

What does this partnership mean for you?  It means that when you join us September 18-20 for the 7th Annual RaterFest!, you will also be earning 12 hours of RESNET Rater, QAD, & Trainer Professional Development.

The RaterFest! Experience:

  • RaterFest! 095 - Copy12 Hours of RESNET Rater, QAD, & Trainer Professional Development
  • 2 ½ Days in the Rocky Mountains
  • 10 Speakers
  • 5 Colorado craft brews
  • 6 Meals
  • 2 Night’s lodging
  • 4 Rater Olympics obstacles
  • 1 Amazing weekend to celebrate the home performance industry.

Learn more and register for RaterFest! 2015.

We’re easy to reach by phone at 888-917-5532, or by email.

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RaterFest! 2014 Recap

As we arrived at the site for RaterFest! 2014, the sky was overcast, the clouds basically right at our just over 9000′ elevation. The glory of our setting wouldn’t be revealed until the next morning.

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The education and the interaction began right away with fantastic and thought provoking talks. One of the points of RaterFest! is to drive our industry forward, to stretch us toward the future and our speakers all delivered on that promise. Discussions on innovation and the direction of RESNET® and code were really valuable. The evening was chilly and damp, but the fireplaces in the outdoor pavilion made for a cheery environment. Many malty beverages were consumed as friendships were both made and deepened. The sound of beanbags hitting the cornhole board went deep into the night.

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Saturday morning dawned clear and it was only then that we could all look up and see Long’s Peak and a multitude of other peaks surrounding us. Our speakers continued throughout the day with great questions and intriguing ideas flowing freely. After a great and full day of predominantly technical talks on ducts, mini-splits and real life experiences we moved on to one of the highlights of RaterFest! the annual Rater Olympics! It was its usual mix of intense competition, geek filled entertainment and our very own EnergyLogic Raters placed first and second with wildcard Colby Swanson, our keynote speaker placing third and earning a free registration for  RaterFest! 2015.

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We wrapped on Sunday with more excellent presentations and culminating with zip line rides for interested parties. It was probably our best event ever and we’ve definitely found the perfect location for future RaterFest events, so stay tuned, dates for next years event will be announced soon! Thanks to everyone who attended it’s you who make it awesome every year.

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Please enjoy our pictures of RaterFest! 2014. We promise we were wise in choosing those to post.

If your interested in participating next year, please give us a call for more info at 888-970-2191, or check online for updates on RaterFest! 2015.


Steve Byers
EnergyLogic, Inc.

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night – RaterFest! 2013

It wasn’t exactly as we planned. However, RaterFest! 2013 may well be the most memorable RaterFest ever, if for no better reason than the “biblical” level of flooding that our locale received starting Thursday morning, the kickoff day for the event. We were supposed to be at a super lovely place in the mountains between Blackhawk and Nederland here in the mountains of our beloved Colorado. However, by noon, we knew we had to zig as the weather was zagging. The worst flood in Colorado history was making it’s debut. We made the call and our amazing EnergyLogic team sprang into action to move our nearly one hundred person event. In a matter of two or three hours we secured a new venue, redirected our caterers, our musicians and all of our attendees and presenters.

One of the nifty things about RaterFest is that we are getting in touch with our youth camp side, staying in bunk houses, cabins and camping depending on preference. Well that all went out the window, and we had to find accommodations for all the attendees as the cost of RaterFest includes lodging (I know! It’s really a super deal – remember that for next year!). We reached out to our amazing friends and neighbors in our headquarters’ town of Berthoud. They responded as only a small town generally can and doors were flung open; travel trailers were brought and by the evening; we had beds for all of our awesome attendees.

As we had roads closing and bridges going out all around us, we employed all the technical tools at our disposal and via attendees and staff reports, worked to help folks driving into RaterFest negotiate the flood waters safely. Result? Nearly everyone who planned to make it to RaterFest made it! Out of the ninety-three people signed up, we had just a bare few who couldn’t get here. A testament to the passion of our attendees and the coordination and crisis management skills of our incredible staff..

RaterFest itself was smooth if not as scenic as it would have been (though our little town is lovely!). The sessions and speakers were top notch. Our best ever (presentations will be up on our website very soon!)

Sam Rashkin of DOE was first up and led the way with a great presentation on DOE Challenge Home. We’re deeply indebted to him for braving the enormous initial uncertainty of the Great Flood and trusting and working with us to kick things off.

Rob Moody of Organic Think followed Sam and gave a super presentation on very innovative work that he and others are doing in Arkansas with the HEAL program. The Clinton Foundation and a ton of passionate people in Arkansas and beyond are doing cool stuff to drive energy retrofits for some of the most at risk folks in the market.

Bill Spohn of TruTech Tools took the stage next, and we had the world premiere of the TruTech Airflow trainer. Bill guided the audience through a detailed and fascinating discussion of the right and wrong, the true and false of airflow testing and then entertained a mob of folks around the trainer. Awesome!

Ari Rappaport and Graham Davis of IBACOS introduced an idea to the audience that has the potential to change the nature of our work as HERS Raters. For many years, IBACOS has developed and executed a best in class quality assurance program called CQA. The discussion centered on presenting and gathering feedback from the audience on how Raters can be a part of a builders QA process at a much more meaningful level via a program partnership between IBACOS and EnergyLogic.

Frank Kinder of Colorado Springs Utilities presented on his organization’s embracing of WaterSense and gave a great presentation on the program, products and his utility’s experience with the program.

We finished up Day One with Pecha Kucha presentations from Bill Spohn of TruTech, Tiger Adolph of BPI, Dan Wildenhaus from Fluid Strategies, and Bob Kingery of Southern Energy Management. Pecha Kucha is a challenging and fun presentation style that allows a speaker twenty seconds on each of twenty slides, that’s it. It really makes you get to the point and synthesize your thoughts!

After that, we had the traditional Rater Jam and had a great time listening to our compatriots play some great music. Those who jammed – Ron Hughes, Laura Capps, Rob Moody, Mark Jabaley – thanks to you all! Much craft beer from our very own City Star Brewing was consumed, and we all got safely tucked away in bed ready for Day 2.

Our one casualty of the weather was unfortunately our keynote speaker Mark LaLiberte, but we’ll drag him back here another year! In general, you can run but you can’t hide from the RaterFest minions.

Ron Hughes of HERS, Inc. started off Day 2 with a fantastic House (industry) as a system presentation. Ron has done pioneering work in Arkansas bringing HERS ratings out of the dark and into the mainstream, and there is much to learn from him and his colleagues as they drive the industry ahead in his home state.

The indefatigable Laura Capps of Southface (All Hail!) gave a very interactive and amazingly useful presentation on both hiring and getting hired, the ins and outs of making yourself marketable and the corollary of finding good folks.

Abe Kruger of Kruger Sustainability Group led everyone through the intricacies of conducting ENERGY STAR work on multi-family high rise buildings. This is a great business development topic for all raters in areas with big buildings. Abe has it down, and there was a great Q&A session.

Paul Morin of TEC (The Energy Conservatory) followed on appropriately with a super detailed discussion of how to test multi-family and big buildings. How many of you have done a twenty blower test? Amazing work and again a big (pun intended) opportunity for Raters everywhere.

We ended Day 2 with Stephen Davis of Demilec USA. Now Stephen is a shy and retiring type, but somehow broke out of his shell to deliver a rousing, humorous and very educational session on spray foam insulations. Anyone who presents knows how difficult the dance between humor and information can be and Stephen did an amazing job.

We then proceeded to the Coliseum (also known as the EnergyLogic training center) for Rater Olympics! Our team of Olympian organizers put together a challenging course that pitted contestants from across the nation against each other on a course that tested dexterity, decision-making, building science knowledge, observation, athletic skill and stamina. Blower doors fell down; hard hats tumbled; foam blocks flew and not a little beer was spilled. Yet everyone completed the course, most with some measure of grace and dignity. Daniel Johnson from Arkansas is your new champion of Rater Olympics, and as such received the Golden Banana (and a free pass to next year’s event)!

Following a sumptuous repast, we were mightily entertained by local musician Esther Sparks (buy her CD!) and our coterie of Rater musicians, Ron Hughes on various strings, Rob Moody on sax and Laura Capps on mandolin. A damn fine time was had by all.

Day 3 and the final day of RaterFest. Last but far, far from least, Gary Klein of Affiliated International Management did his truly outstanding workshop on Hot Water System Efficiency. This is a highly interactive, “hands on” training that absolutely brings to life the myriad issues surrounding hot water distribution. Highly recommended wherever you can catch Gary!

That was it! We shooed everyone off to the airport and highways as the waters were rising again. We packed it up, cleaned it up and collapsed like the heap of monsters in Where the Wild Things Are. Yet, through a fog of fatigue and the aftermath of a four-day adrenaline rush of crisis management, we began to think ahead… to RaterFest! 2014. Oh yes, even better? Well, we’ll see. We can certainly do with less weather, but it will be hard to beat the people who joined us, the intrepid presenters who blessed us with their humor and knowledge and the fun we had with music, great food, competition and camaraderie.

See you next year!

Steve Byers
CEO of EnergyLogic

For more pics of RaterFest! 2013, click HERE!


RaterFest! 2013 in Pictures

Check In!

Check In!

Checking out equipment at RaterFest

Checking out equipment at RaterFest

Josh Taylor at RaterFest

Josh Taylor at RaterFest

Pecha Kucha

And RaterFest! begins!

RaterFest Organizers

Marnie and Kathleen take a moment to breathe!

Stephen Davis

Stephen Davis begins every presentation by attempting Spock fingers. Maybe next year, Stephen!

Tom Flanagan preps the EnergyLogic drone for Rater Olympic camera coverage

Tom Flanagan preps the EnergyLogic drone for Rater Olympic camera coverage

Dan Wildenhaus

Dan Wildenhaus enjoys the organic food served at RaterFest

Wynne Maggi and Parker Lahti have a chat at RaterFest

Wynne Maggi and Parker Lahti have a chat at RaterFest

RaterFest organizers closely monitor the weather.

RaterFest organizers closely monitor the weather.

Glenn and Meagan at RaterFest in Berthoud CO.

Glenn Pease and Meagan Foster at RaterFest in Berthoud CO.

Steve Byers listens intently

Steve Byers listens intently

Robby soaks in the info given at RaterFest

Robby soaks in the info given at RaterFest

Ari Rapport and Mark Jabaly at RaterFest

Ari Rappaport and Mark Jabaley at RaterFest

Charlie Stevens - the envy of every receding hairline

Charlie Stevens – the envy of every receding hairline

Chow line at RaterFest!

Chow line at RaterFest!

Mark Lane signs up for CEU credits

Mark Lane signs up for CEU credits

Carrisa braves the elements and pregnancy to participate at RaterFest

Carrisa braves the elements and pregnancy to participate at RaterFest

Wade Bischoff takes a lot of notes!

Wade Bischoff takes a lot of notes!

Stephen Davis proves very entertaining at RaterFest

Stephen Davis proves very entertaining at RaterFest

Dan Moody at RaterFest!

Rob Moody, a favored speaker and guest at RaterFest!

A fearsome foursome of EnergyLogic employees

A fearsome foursome of EnergyLogic employees

Will Lorey serves as official 'Dang, we're out of beer' reporter

Will Lorey serves as official ‘Dang, we’re out of beer’ reporter

The home brew kegs are always a hot spot

The home brew kegs are always a hot spot

Your face could get stuck like that, Peter Oberhammer!

Your face could get stuck like that, Peter!

The food at RaterFest is De-Lish!

The food at RaterFest is De-Lish!

That's Meagan on the couch - the Mastermind Organizer of RaterFest

That’s Meagan on the couch – Master RaterFest Organizer

Josh Jacobs and Nancy Kellogg have a chat at RaterFest

Josh Jacobs and Nancy Kellogg have a chat at RaterFest


Laurie and Susan enjoy their time at RaterFest

Laurie Hindman and Susan Mathes enjoy their time at RaterFest


RaterFest attendees listen intently to current speaker

Mark McLain, Graham Davis, and Phil Drotar listen intently to the wisdom that is Sam Rashkin


It's a plane, it's Stephen Davis, no... it's the Energy Vanguard

It’s a plane, it’s Stephen Davis, no… it’s an Energy Vanguard Impersonation!

RaterFest! Silver Lining

RaterFest! Silver Lining

Stephen Davis and Dan Wildenhaus ham it up.

Stephen Davis and Dan Wildenhaus ham it up.

Carrisa, Barbara Ann and Marnie at RaterFest

Carrisa, Barbara Ann and Marnie at RaterFest

The taps at RaterFest appear to be a popular attraction

The taps at RaterFest appear to be a popular attraction

Matt Thornberry and Brad Smith at RaterFestr

Matt Thornberry and Brad Smith prepare for the next speaker

Checking out equipment at RaterFest

Bill Spohn reveals flow testing secrets

Andrea Inglesbe at RaterFest!

Andrea Inglesbe at RaterFest!


Jack Beal and Steve Byers

RaterFest is Off

Sam Rashkin delivers a stellar presentation to kick off the event.

Kathleen Barb and Laurie of EnergyLogic

Kathleen, Barb, and Laurie enjoy a beer after a hard days work.

Ben Graham does sit ups to prep for his announcing job at Rater Olympics

Ben Graham does sit ups to prep for his announcing job at Rater Olympics

Silently dueling Stephens!

Silently dueling Stephens!

Steve Eagleburger gives up.  Gives up what?>

Steve Eagleburger gives up. Gives up what?>

Tom Flannagan, an official Rater Olympics Judge

Tom Flanagan, and official Rater Olympics Judge

Tom Flanagan shows off his excellent Peter Pan impression.

Tom Flanagan shows off his excellent Peter Pan impression.

As always, Rater Olympic's starts with a box and a beer.

As always, Rater Olympic’s starts with a box and a beer.

Charlie, always picking up the pieces!

Charlie Stevens, always picking up the pieces!

Mmm. Silver Star brew at RaterFest

Mmm. Silver Star brew at RaterFest. Yum Yum!

Adam Jonash and Josh Taylor text girls.

Adam Jonash and Josh Taylor text girls.

RaterFest! 2013 – A Few Presenters to Ponder

RaterFest! 2013

Don’t miss out on the most entertaining conference in the home performance industry. RaterFest! 2013 will be packed with great sessions, incredible networking, beautiful surroundings, and fun evenings.

Don’t forget to visit our RaterFest! website for event information and to register!

You can also see a list of all of our presenters, along with their companies and topics, here.

Message from Steve Byers

I’d like to share a secret with you. We have an ongoing debate about what to call ourselves. That is, what to call the individuals who make up our community. Some of us are HERS Raters, some of us are BPI certified, some of us are both and some of us are neither. Though it gives us some headaches, we typically settle on Energy Professional. Almost all of us are about energy, and we’re striving to uphold professionalism in our industry. Why do I tell you about this? As an introduction to RaterFest! 2013.

RaterFest! isn’t just for raters. It’s for anyone who cares deeply about our collective industry – which is, loosely, residential energy efficiency. That covers a lot of ground, and yet doesn’t cover everything we all do. That’s part of the point of RaterFest!: to create an intimate, non-conference-like event where we can learn from each other, share experiences and drive our industry ever forward.

This is our 5th RaterFest! and it promises to be the best one ever. We have a great new venue (which has the rustic mountain charm our attendees expect, but which is better able to handle our needs), a great line-up of speakers, and a great team that will ensure it’s the superior event it is every year. I sincerely hope you’ll join us. Space is definitely limited, so jump in soon and make sure you’re here with the most passionate people in any industry!

Register for RaterFest! today



Steve Byers, CEO
EnergyLogic Inc.

RaterFest! 2013 Presenters

Abe Kruger – Kruger Sustainability Group

Abe’s Session: ENERGY STAR Multifamily High Rise
Energy efficient multifamily buildings from townhomes to high rises are eligible to earn ENERGY STAR certification. This session will discuss which multifamily buildings are eligible for certification through the Homes program and the new Multifamily High Rise (MFHR) program. We will compare the programs and discuss business opportunities for Raters in the MFHR program.

About Abe Kruger: Abe has honed his expertise in sustainable construction over 9 years as a contractor, educator, author, and consultant in the residential construction industry. In 2009 he founded Kruger Sustainability Group to provide green building training, certifications, consulting and curriculum development for colleges, companies, utilities and nonprofits. Read more…

Ari Rapport – IBACOS

Ari’s Session Title: Construction QA/QC for Raters
For those of us who are HERS Raters, we are in builders’ homes every day looking at energy code and program compliance construction details. As a builder, there is an everyday need to maintain high levels of construction quality to attract customers and reduce risk exposure. What opportunities exist for you to utilize your building science knowledge and add value to your services by addressing the builders’ need for construction quality assurance? Where do common risk issues occur? How do you assess construction quality? More importantly: Does the rater belong in the arena of construction quality assurance? Together, we’ll explore the possibilities.

About Ari Rapport: Ari has worked in the home construction industry since 2004, when he began work as a RESNET Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Rater in Wilmington, NC. In 2008, Ari joined IBACOS, where he is Manager of Systems Integration. Read more…

New to RaterFest!: Pecha Kucha Session

We will be including a Pecha Kucha session after dinner one evening…this exciting hour-long session will include 9 brief presentations lasting 6 minutes, 40 seconds each. All attendees are encouraged to apply to present; this is a great chance to briefly introduce a program or initiative to the group! The first 9 attendees to contact us with a viable (short) topic will be added to the agenda. Moderated by Chris Dorsi, this session should make for a fun, interactive evening.

To apply for the Pecha Kucha session, please contact Meagan

Register Today!

RaterFest! September 13th-15th, 2013

Stop. Exhale. Close your eyes. Wait, no… keep them open. Now inhale and repeat.  As you take in the crisp Colorado morning air, take in the awe inspiring surroundings of September in the Rocky Mountains. It’s hard to describe how beautiful Colorado is in late summer. It’s simply one of the best times of year to visit.

RaterFest! 2013 Site

As always, this year’s RaterFest is poised at this time of year to offer up the best of Colorado and provide you access to a few of our industries finest professionals.  Already, we have outdone ourselves with our speaker line-up, and we expect an early sell out for this year’s festivities.  We are excited and honored to announce this year’s keynote speaker; Mark LaLiberte.

New site for RaterFest! 2013

As a distinguished trainer, author, and consultant, Mark LaLiberte (of LaLiberte Online Inc. and Construction Instruction Inc.) has devoted over two decades to educating the home-building industry about the benefits of constructing durable, energy efficient, healthier, more environmentally sustainable homes. It’s his commitment to helping the building industry that keeps Mark traveling nationwide, reaching more than 8,000 builders annually. A very high demand presenter, Mark has been featured at leading industry events such as the NAHB International Builders Show, PCBC, West Coast Green, Sunbelt Builders Show, Energy Star Summit, GreenBuild and JLCLive conferences. Every energy and building professional (from rater to HERS provider, builder to LEED provider) should see Mark at least on time while working in our industry.

I’ve had the pleasure of hiring Mark to speak with a wide range of audiences throughout the years, including homeowners, builders, code officials, trades, and others.  Mark has the talent to comfortably engage with people at any technical level. There are few trainers that I’ve come across in my work with this ability.  Beyond his immense expertise and excellence in the home performance industry Mark is truly one of the best presenters working in our industry. If you haven’t seen Mark before, this is your opportunity!

RaterFest! 2012 View of Rocky Mountains

“This was my first RaterFest (2012) and I loved it. The overall energy of the conference was great and I think that there is something special about being at 7000′ with no cell phone service. The size and remoteness of this conference make it a unique experience. I felt that I really connected with some folks and did not miss the oversized trade-show atmosphere one bit.” 2012 RaterFest Participant

We hope you see you all there! RaterFest 2013

Matt Thornberry
Deputy Director of ePro Services
EnergyLogic Academy



Evolution of the Take Off

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.

Rater Fest! 2009 Pictures

Rater Fest! 2009 Postscript #1

Hi everyone (and especially those who came to Rater Fest! 2009),

It was great to see everyone who journeyed out to Colorado this weekend.  We had a great time, met a lot of folks that we’d only talked with on the phone before and learned a great deal from each other.  We also had a fantastic Rater Jam, drank some great beer, and had a wonderful band on Saturday night.  I really feel like the vision of Rater Fest! came off as we’d hoped.  That is, a really open, freewheeling exchange of ideas and information from all those on the front lines.

And of course, we shouldn’t forget Rater Olympics.

EnergyLogic’s own Doug Bursnall took the Gold with a time of 3.48 after penalties.  I’ll go into more detail on Rater Olympics when we post pictures of Rater Fest! in the next couple of days.


Rater Fest! 2009

Rater Fest! 2009 is less than two weeks away.  Here’s a quick list of reasons (in no order and not comprehensive) that you should be at Rater Fest!  or be excited that you’re coming already…

Dunk Tank – I’ll be in the dunk tank and though Scott Doyle can’t think of any reasons why you’d want to dunk him, he’ll be there too

Local Beer – we have the best and most local brews per capita in the country!

Excellent CEU’s – not just your average CEU’s…

Fantastic food – predominantly organic and local

Great music – Rater Jam on Friday night and live bands on Saturday night

Run with Steve – Saturday morning we’ll run off Friday night

I’ve had this idea in my head for probably five years now and I’m so excited to see it come to fruition.  Thanks for being a part of it.

Remember, Rater Fest! is by Raters, for Raters, and about Raters!