Below is the text version of the webinar DOE Zero Energy Ready Home High-Performance Home Sales Training Part 1, presented in February 2015. Watch the presentation.

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Lindsay Parker:
Hi, everyone. Welcome to the Zero Energy Ready Home technical training webinar series. We're really excited that you can join us here today for this session on High-Performance Homes Sales Training, Part 1 in a two-part series with Sam Rashkin. Today's session is one in a continuing series of technical webinars to support our partners in designing and building Zero Energy Ready Homes. My name is Lindsay Parker. I'm the coordination support for the program, and I'll be covering some general notes on webinar housekeeping. All attendees will be in listen-only mode, however, we invite you to ask questions through the questions part of the GoToWebinar program. We'll be monitoring questions throughout the event, so near the end of the webinar, we'll try to cover as many of your questions as possible. This session is being recorded, and the recording will be placed on our DOE Zero Energy Ready Home resources website after a transcription process. But directly after the webinar, I will be sending out a PDF of the presentation so that everyone who's registered can have that as a resource. Now I'm happy to introduce Sam Rashkin, chief architect with the Department of Energy. He will be presenting today.

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His primary role at DOE in the Building Technologies Office is leading deployment of proven innovations for new and existing high-performance homes. This includes DOE's Building America program and the Zero Energy Ready Home program. In his prior position, he managed ENERGY STAR® for Homes since its start in 1996, which has grown exponentially to more than 8,500 builder partners, over 1 million labeled homes, and over 25 percent market penetration nationwide. He has most recently been recognized for his contributions to sustainable housing with the 2012 Hanley Award. Sam received his bachelor of architecture from Syracuse University, completed a master's in program planning studies at New York University, and is a registered architect in California and New York and has been a licensed architect for over 20 years. Now I'm going to hand it over to Sam to talk about high-performance homes sales training.

Sam Rashkin:
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OK, thank-you, everyone, for tuning in to the first part one of the sales training program. And before I begin, just a quick word about training as a concept. The way most training works is you provide some context, the what and why. What are we learning about, why it is important that I learn the training. Then you give concepts that are hopefully concepts that will give the person the skills, and then you go through the skills, give tools to apply the skills, and then training usually spends the most time with practice, because training is only as good as the immediate application of the skills that you learn. So practice by far is the most important of these five pieces of the training. And the reason I wanted to discuss this bigger overview of training before we begin is by limitation of how webinars work, I can focus on the first four buttons during this training program. It's not a normal classroom, and we can't get to the most important part of training, which is the practice. And so we'll emphasize many times during the program what we think is critical for you to do subsequent to the training in terms of practicing certain kinds of skills. So that's what we're going to cover today.

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And another thing that's important is, I'm going to keep referring to the goal of skill competency that you should be striving for. And there are four levels of competency, and for those who've heard me talk about this, I hope you don't mind going through this one more time. But the first level of skill is when you are unconsciously incompetent. And excuse my language a little bit -- it's kinda when you suck and don't know you suck. And a good example would be teaching your son or daughter to drive a car and the fear and horror you feel knowing that they are at a Level 1, behind a wheel and they have no clue how bad they are. And it's the most scary level of competency. You just don't know what you don't know. And often, we get real excited when we get Level 2, where we're consciously incompetent. Now we've started driving a little bit; we realize, oh, I don't know a thing about driving. They have a cautious, healthy appreciation for it; they have to be careful. So in consciously incompetent, you finally know that you don't have the skill. Level 3 is when you finally apply yourself and think, think, think you can do the skill. It takes a lot of thought. And I'm going to keep pushing and pushing for the importance of getting to Level 4. Unconsciously competent, when you can do the skill without thinking. If you're in front of a homebuyer, or any sales situation, and it's obvious that you're just thinking and going through mechanical steps, not just in the moment, and not completely focused on that interaction with that person that you're talking to, you lose 80 percent of your effectiveness. You've got to get to Level 4, and I keep talking about Level 4. You've got to work on being unconsciously competent in how we promote and sell to our consumers, and there are a lot of skills we'll talk about through the two-part program. And it's a lot to learn for selling homes that we haven't had to do, because most of you have been showing off what people can easily see: granite counters, full master suites, nice architecture. And so now we have to move into another arena: selling what you can't see.

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So that's the introduction to selling. Let's talk about the training program over these two-part programs. Part 1 begins with the context that I mentioned earlier. I'll point to some hard trends that suggest zero is your future. In fact, what I often like to present to builders wherever I go is that in three years almost all builders will be moving toward zero, if they're not there already. And then I'll provide the context for why we're so confident that's happening. Then Part 1 will go into the first of the skills. Knowledge matters is the concept. The skill will be that you are the expert. Knowledge breeds enthusiasm and earns trust, is a very famous sales concept, and it's so true. When you speak to a salesperson who just knows their stuff, you're confidence and willingness to engage in the purchase is so much greater. So the first skill will be product expertise, and the tool that we'll give you to achieve that is the Building America Solution Center. The practice that we can't get to, we'll have to do apart from the training program, is to work with the Solution Center, get facile with how it operates, and then develop your own customized field kits for your particular home or models that you sell. We'll talk about this during the training program. Now, Part 2 gets into four other concepts and skills. The first is that words matter. That's the next concept. And what skill that we'll be working on is how to translate jargon into value. A language of value. We have to speak to consumers in a way that they best resonate with what's in it for them, with the offering of the Zero Energy Ready Home. And the tool that we'll be providing you is the Building Science Translator, and the practice you'll be asked to do is actually develop power word fact sheets with your specific home or models. Then, on the next concept and skill, it's that questions matter. And the skill you'll be getting is how to uncover the need for each buyer. If you don't get to that point, when you know what each buyer wants, you can't possibly be relevant and personal for each individual consumer you're trying to work with. So the tools we'll be giving you is how to ask value questions. And this is a really important one to practice. You really have to role-play with your colleagues and learn to be almost surgical -- cutting in and finding out exactly what each buyer wants and then being able to position the product most effectively. Then the fourth concept and skill is clarity matters. And the skill we're going to give you is how to create contrast between your Zero Energy Ready Home and the other competition that you have in the marketplace. And the tool we'll give you is the comparison bars, the ability to develop and use experiences that are incredibly emotional and we'll ask you again to practice at doing the point-of -sale exchange using the comparison bars for demonstrating experiences. And the last concept and skill in the sales training will be that process matters. And the skill we'll give you is how to translate relevant value based on the questions that you ask in 45 seconds or less. The tool we'll give you to do this is a five-step process on how to do this 45-second presentation. Again, the practice with role-playing and working with colleagues, developing so you're at Level 4, is going to be essential. So this is a lot of agenda for two hours. I'm hopeful we can get through all this.

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And we're going to start with the context that I talked to you about in the agenda. So hard trends suggesting zero is right around the corner.

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And in predicting the future, note everyone thinks it's a really hard thing to do. I love this quote from the book "Flash Foresight." Daniel Burns is the author. And he says that you actually can predict the future accurately. You just have to leave out the parts you're wrong about. And here, the key is knowing how to distinguish between soft trends, which are not bankable, and hard trends, which are totally locked in for the future. An example of a soft trend would be something like granite counters. Maybe we'll move on to posit materials or other new innovations in counters for sure, because no material has a permanent lifetime. But in contrast, population growth is a hard trend we can bank on. We know that there are going to be more and more people, more and more young buyers coming to the market. Lots of things we know that we can use to inform how we develop our product. And it's all about recognizing certainty when you do this analysis, and really focus on the hard trends.

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So with that in mind, there are three hard trends I want to talk to you about. One is increasing the performance risk we face in the housing industry. The increasing differentiation opportunity we have, which is incredibly substantial in how it's growing and can take new homes to a whole new place. And lastly, it's this increasing innovation imperative, and it's happening all across every industry in the country. So let's talk about each of those one at a time.

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What's the driver for this performance risk I'm talking about? It's just basic requirements of minimum- code homes. And it's a good thing. But what's happened is after a very slow growth over time, codes have gone up tremendously faster from 2009 to 2012 iterations. The way to look at this chart is the vertical axis shows rigor by percent compared to a baseline in the 2006 IECC -- International Energy Conservation Code -- as a zero percent line. And if you look at the various iterations in the growth, it really is oppressive, and a 30-percent jump over 2006, represented by 2009-2012 IECC. And the reason this is so significant: Welcome to the building science tipping point. Everything changes with even a minimum-code home.

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And what's happening is we used to build homes that looked like this, and now with minimum-code homes, and even a substantial movement to very, very low HERS scores, I'll suggest the data is amazing. In 2013, 220,000 homes were HERS rated, about half the single-family housing starts, and the average HERS Index is 64, about 35 percent below code. And so that is really substantial, and what's happened is, even the builders who are building just these minimum-code homes, or just going up to low HERS scores, are in a new space. They're in the advanced thermal enclosure space right now, even if you're not doing anything advanced, in terms of zero energy ready programs. And what that means is now you're starting to move toward advanced insulation systems. You have for sure more insulation, often a higher R value. You have that insulation installed better, and no gaps, points, and pressures. And it's now complete so it really works effectively. It has complete air barriers, and it has details that ensure minimal thermal bridging, which is new. And then also, we talked about, we have advanced windows as just standard in new homes. We have windows that are double or more efficient than they used to be. And very significantly, the homes are getting more and more airtight, and levels that were considered incredibly aggressive are now the basic requirements of most codes around the country.

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So what does this advanced thermal enclosure mean? It means that we have a number of risks. And the first risk is the comfort risk that we face. So if we have this much-advanced enclosure, now we have very, very low HVAC loads, sometimes ultra-low heating / cooling loads. And this means we have much less air flow going through our ducts, because there's much less need for Btus of heating and cooling. And with less air flow, and less air flow time, there's less mixing. And with less needs for thermal heating and space cooling, we find that we're starting heating and cooling much later in the year. So we have a situation where maybe we used to air-condition starting in early May, and we don't do air- conditioning until mid-June, and now we have six weeks where we don't have air-conditioning. But in older homes we used to get as a byproduct that lower performance, free dehumidification. So what's going to manage the humidity in homes that are very high-performance homes, homes built to a minimum code or lower HERS scores, when they have these long swing seasons? It's a new risk you have as a builder. So to manage that risk, the comfort strategy that you would do as a builder and as a homeowner, you would want to buy for sure, is you want to make sure your system is right- sized, so you know that the air flow is right and the manner of heating / cooling is right, and it is installed properly so you know the air is getting from where it's produced to each room, so you have comfort and have mixing. And now you just don't care about heating / cooling, but you have an even greater concern about systems also providing comprehensive controlled relative humidity, RH. And then you want to know the system is tested, because this is the comfort system of your home. It's the lungs of your home. It should be tested and verified to deliver performance, just like any other product would be tested and certified. So this is strategy No. 1.

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Getting back to our risk driver, the advanced enclosure, there's another risk with moisture. And the reason for this is that now with all this extra insulation, we have that colder surface on the warm side in winter -- I mean, on the cold side. In the winter, that's on the outside in a wall but on the inside sheathing of the outside wall, in the winter, and then in the summer when it's very hot outside, it's on the inside surface of the sheetrock on the interior wall. Any air flow that can get to that colder surface, there's a greater chance of condensation because it's so much colder, less heat getting to it. On top of that, because it's less heat going through the wall, if the wall does get wet, and it has a higher propensity to get wet now because it's colder, it can't dry. There's not enough heat flow going through the wall systems like it used to be in older homes that were so much less an issue. We have much greater risk and responsibility to manage moisture in that construction assemblance.

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So our strategy for what we do is comprehensive water protection. We make sure, first of all, in airtight construction that we don't have vapor flow going through the assemblies to the lowest level possible, and then we have comprehensive bulk water protection at the roofs, walls and openings, site foundation, materials. This is an incredibly important way to build homes today.

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And then finally, risk No. 3 deals with the fact that homes are so much more airtight with an advanced enclosure, and that creates more risk with air quality, particularly as it relates to diluting the pollutants or contaminants in our home, and as it relates to having adequate filtration. For instance, the reduced things are interrelated, because with much reduced runtime of the heating / cooling system, we have less air flow going through our filter in the heating / cooling system, which is the primary filter in most homes. So we have less filtration, we have less dilution. How are we managing air quality in high-performance homes?

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And so the strategy for doing that is a comprehensive indoor air quality system. We suggest the EPA Indoor airPLUS specifications do a great job of that. And the first thing you want to do is have contaminant control by going to all the sources of products that could introduce pollutants and do your best job to minimize or eliminate those pollutants. Secondly, whatever residual pollutants are in the air should be diluted with a fresh air system. Most people call it the ventilation system. And lastly, we need a high-capture filtration system in the comfort system that's very effective at capturing particulates. I will talk more about in detailed seminars later about also capturing particulates at the most significant source of contaminants in homes, which is the cooktop, kitchens, where cooking generates a tremendous amount of particulates. So this is our three-prong strategy for managing risk.

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Now let's talk about the differentiation risk. We are going to be competitive in the future, relative to where the market is going. And let me suggest two drivers for differentiation risks. One is the next generation of buyers. And the other is the competition that we are competing against in the market.

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And the next generation of buyers for sure is a demographic that's talked about extensively: 78 million Gen-Y'ers.

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And what's significant about this group is their characteristics. One is how much debt they have. They have now over $1 trillion of student loan debt, which is substantial if you are going to engage them to buy a new house. Second, they're a population that isn't moving to own as much stuff as I can as fast as I can. They're very much into a sharing economy and very slow to acquire things, based on the demographic research that you read. So they tend to live in apartments together, to use bike- share, to use car-sharing programs. They're very much of a sharing economy. And they're also very delayed to make commitments. They keep waiting longer to get married, longer to finish school, taking longer to develop / finalizing careers. Everything they're doing, it seems to be taking longer. And maybe most significant about this population demographic is they have crash experience. They have not grown up and watched housing, for decades when they have been active adults, just keep increasing in value. In fact, they have watched the industry have a downturn of historic proportions, and they're still observing in many markets that housing hasn't come back to a level that it represents a compelling investment, as most older Americans have seen through the eons of time, real estate being a good investment. They don't have that same background and experience that older consumers have. So there is this challenge to differentiate for them in a way that is compelling against all these challenges to now move into the home-buying marketplace. Now there's one thing that's a very substantial trait for this demographic that's very positive. That's that they are 78 million innovation junkies. The willingness to wait in long lines to spend tenfold or a magnitude more for a new technology or product. For instance, a smart phone is introduced, costs $600 vs. $6 for a normal cell phone, and waiting in line to buy that $600 phone. This is a consumer base that is showing over and over again, they're willing to pay more for a better experience. You just have to be able to be crystal-clear this is a better experience, which is why we're talking about sales training.

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And what else we know about them is, a good chunk of this population is very committed to larger issues like the planet's too big to fail.

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There are also amazing research data showing how much this generation is committed and willing to invest in healthy lifestyle. I think over 43 percent of Gen Z is showing they want to spend more for healthier product choices. And we can just see in the marketplace, the fastest growing part of the food market industry has been organic food, well over $40 billion a year in that industry. Bottled water is over $20 billion. Health choices over and over again in the marketplace provide evidence of a compelling interest in healthy lifestyles.

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And so, coupled with that is the data that shows that we need to be concerned about the air in our homes. An average 2 to 5 times greater pollutants indoors than outdoors, and up to 100 times greater. And we spend 90 percent of our time indoors, 60 percent of our time in homes.

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So that's one factor, but maybe even more significant is every day, families are living with a reminder that health is being compromised. Consider yourself lucky if your child doesn't use an inhaler. One in 10 children do in the U.S. because they suffer from asthma. And that means, if the average family is two children, 1 in 5 households that you're trying to sell a home to, would truly resonate with a choice that would help improve that healthy lifestyle for their children.

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Now the other factor in differentiation is sweeter to compete against. And about 90 percent of home sales in the current marketplace are existing homes. And we track the age of these homes, from 1985 to current times. The average age of the home has gone from 23 to 35.

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As they get older and older, this is what your competition looks like. The aging housing stock is over and over again a choice where you the consumer are knowingly getting to a situation with really, really high utility bills, often 2, 3, 400 dollars or more per month. And people just are accepting or forced to accept amazing compromises in comfort, based on the dank cold, that southwest bedroom that never gets cool in the summer, and hot climates, the upstairs that always feels cold in cold climates. There's so many different comfort factors and drafts and things that you have to accept in older homes. And then there are all these issues with homes built before 1978, that have asbestos, they have much more moisture issues in many older homes, that create other, in terms of mold, mildew. So all those concerns are on the table. And then people living in older homes we know have more bugs, and pests seem to come in their homes, and adds to a bunch of problems, how leaky they are. Then there are all these durability issues in older homes and all the obsolete technology throughout the house. So this is a competition profile that I think offers a tremendous opportunity for differentiating the new home product. And this is about 90 percent of your competition.

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The other differentiation opportunity is the interest in solar coupled with the fact that the cost of solar is dropping so fast and for so long. And to be able to have a house that has the ability to put solar on its roof and mitigate most or all energy use, is a substantial differentiation opportunity.

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So let's look at how we can take advantage of this with two key factors. And one is obsolescence. So here's differentiation opportunity No. 1: If you're building an optimized enclosure, so you're going from what is the least requirements by code, but go beyond code to an optimized enclosure, one that might be 15 to 20 percent better than code, you're now meeting the future code. And that's put you into the house of the future, where people buying your competitor's homes or a used home are buying homes that are now illegal to build. You now, by building an optimized enclosure, are selling someone a home that is meeting or exceeding future expectations. This is only the largest purchase of a lifetime. And you have a choice, right then at that moment, when you buy a new house, if you buy an optimized enclosure, that you make a choice where your home will actually stand the test of time and not be obsolete in three years. But even an ENERGY STAR home, if it's built to the minimum requirements of the 2009 IECC, will be illegal to build in three or four years in most markets. So this is a very powerful differentiation. You're selling the house of the future, almost like selling the 2020 model car today in 2015.

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And the second differentiation opportunity is to jump on this very substantial interest in zero energy that's over, appearing in the marketplace. So we have the optimized enclosure, now we have incredibly low heating and cooling loads. So much so that over half the energy use in our homes is now, with all the stuff we're putting inside of our homes -- the equipment, the water heaters, the appliances, the lighting and fans -- so we make all those components energy efficient. Now we have a house that's truly ultra-low energy, and we can make the house ready for solar for very simple low-cost / no-cost details and practices so that at any point in time the homeowner can add a solar system at hardly any cost penalty and have a house ready for offsetting most or all the annual energy consumption, a Zero Energy Ready Home.

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So let's put all this together. We have advanced enclosures now just because that's where you are with the code, or with the low HERS score, and now what we're going to introduce, with selling Zero Energy Ready Homes, is a home that actually manages your risk as a homeowner. A home that actually has an optimized comfort system that recognizes it's a high-performance product in the marketplace by minimum code, and very special technologies and practices have been applied, to ensure optimized comfort. Secondly, you're giving the homebuyer a piece of mind that they have comprehensive water protection. Forty, 50 incredibly important details, none of them left out, all of them done, to ensure complete water protection. And then you have a comprehensive indoor air quality system -- all of the requirements specified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency -- to provide a complete system at minimizing risk of indoor air quality problems. That's an amazing value package. And then, on the differentiation side, you're offering your buyers an optimized enclosure, therefore a home that meets or exceeds future expectations. And you're offering them solar-ready construction, so the house is ready to deliver zero energy whenever they want. They can either buy an option for solar if it's offered during -- by the builder during the sales process, or whenever they want in the future, knowing the house is ready to go to zero. This is a house that we call a house to the power of zero, and it's so easy for your buyers to find it because all they have to do is look for the trusted U.S. Department of Energy label, Zero Energy Ready Home. This is what you're selling. And before we can even begin the sales training, it's so important that we understand our product. This is your product.

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And this, the differentiation space, is how you're differentiating. You have a label that is an exclusive label. It's a label that a good consumer can trust, and it means performance, it means energy and solar ready.

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And what it brings to the consumer is a different experience. A house that lives better. Actual comfort like they've never experienced, by completely managing surface temperatures, by having ensured delivery systems for heating and cooling, managing moisture, you're delivering a level of comfort buyers have really truly never seen before, and you're giving them a comprehensive package that helps them manage and minimize their risk that may conflict with healthy living. Then a house works better. It has ultra-low or no utility bills, an amazing emotional experience for a homebuyer, and advanced technology throughout the house. And then it lasts better. The quality construction features, in so many different places throughout how the home is constructed, and then there are all these detailed quality assurance systems in place to make sure the home is constructed to better standards. And it's built with features and equipment that will last longer. So this is an amazing value package. It's a completely different experience you're giving the homeowner. You know that next generation of buyers is willing to pay more for a better experience. You just have to communicate that experience. And that's why the sales process is so important.

Now I don't want to forget three other value messages, as well, that have nothing to do with the performance but everything about what happens when you are selling a home as a salesperson in this space. And first is one that you're an exclusive builder. Much the way I would feel incredibly more secure knowing when I needed a complex medical procedure that my doctor was in the top 1 or 2 percent of his or her profession, I feel so much more secure buying the largest purchase of a lifetime, knowing I'm buying from a builder that's one of 1 percent in the country demonstrating they can meet and exceed the requirements of the U.S. Department of Energy Zero Energy Ready Home program. A level that the DOE advocates as an incredibly high-valued consumer choice for all American homebuyers. Secondly, you're able to differentiate by the fact that you're a visionary builder. You're not building to the least requirements of the codes that are in the marketplace. You're looking to where housing has to go, where the next code cycle is. You're building to meet or exceed future requirements. Your home will not be illegal to build in three or four years and meets future requirements. You're a visionary. And you're a smart builder. What you're doing is giving the homebuyer a choice to buy a home where in so many cases we see with our builder partners, able to demonstrate that the monthly utility savings more than offsets the increase in the mortgage that would be attributed to the improvements made to achieve Zero Energy Ready Home certification. Better home, lower cost. That's our definition of smart. So this is the value that you're selling.

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So the last trend I want to talk to you, is it's great to have this extra value because there's an innovation imperative in the marketplace. This is trend No. 3, hard trend. And what's driving that trend, most experts believe, is just the explosion of information. Buyers are smarter. And you see the evidence with the data. Basically, Web searches, Web research, shows that over 250 percent more homebuyers over a four-year period use the Web before going to a builder to buy a home. Over 250 percent more buyers using the Web before going to see a builder. You have to be showcasing in a very special way when people consume on the Web, so you can be on the list of three or six or seven homes that a consumer might go to.

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Now, so here's a list where 90 percent of homebuyers, so the numbers can't go much higher in terms of, most we'll get like 95 percent of buyers go to the Web before they buy. But what will grow exponentially is the amount of content the buyers are going to get on the Web. Right now, there's very little content compared to what there will be. There's going to be so much more information about builders' reputations, about repair records, about energy, other performance issues, about the quality of the home experience, when homeowners give reviews of living in people's homes. It's going to be there because it can be there and because it's what's happening in virtually every other sector of the economy. Be ready for it. The amount of content buyers get is about to explode.

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We're going from information asymmetry, where the seller knows more than the buyer, to information parity, caveat venditor, where the seller and the buyer are now equal players in the transaction.

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And so we don't want you to just have to look at those factors. We also can just look at the media and see evidence about innovation happening. This is an issue of Time magazine from a few months ago. All the innovations that it's forecasting about zero energy ready, and of course, you're right there in that space, with the Zero Energy Ready Home. And we're going to make it even easier for consumers to realize, this isn't eclectic kind of home scenarios where, wait for the distant future. It's happening now.

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And we're going to be providing the Power of Zero Home Tour on the U.S. DOE website for the Zero Energy Ready Home. And we're going to show consumers case after case after case of homes in their region that are evidencing amazing different consumer experience.

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We'll begin with, of course, what people most -- care most about, is what homes look like. And you'll have tours of the outside of the home, tours of the inside of the home, even tours of some of the construction details at the very end of the picture galleries, to let people dive in, if they're interested in how the home is constructed. But people will see home and after home after home and very exciting projects that meet or exceed their expectations, visually and esthetically.

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But then you go down to the bottom of the page and there's a whole bunch of information that is really powerful. Of course, in the upper-left corner, we have the builder's name and the project name, but we'll be generating lots and lots of testimonial statements from buyers living in this home, because it's so important we do convey that experience. "Now that we've lived in a DOE Zero Energy Ready Home, we couldn't imagine living anywhere else. It's so quiet and comfortable. We love our new home." "In two months, we threw away our inhaler. It's a totally different lifestyle for us and our children living in this home." Whatever the buyers will be saying, these statements are going to be so helpful for us to start conveying the experience that people don't understand because they haven't lived in this kind of excellence. Then, moving to that second column, the Zero Energy Ready Home key features, you'll have the full list of features -- or not the full list; you'll have the key features provided -- and not in technical jargon. We'll talk more about in sales module -- sales training Part 2 about power words. We'll be featuring what's in these homes using terminology that is experience-based. Why is this home a better experience, those kinds of term. Fresh air system vs. the ventilation system. Comprehensive draft protection instead of three air change per hour less air sealing. So it will be language about why consumers should care.

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But if someone clicks the "read more" button about the features, they'll get the direct link to the profile about the home that provides more of the gory detail for people who just want to do a deeper dive into what makes this home so special.

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Now, on top of that, there will be the floor plans for the home. And if you go to "more," you'll get the full set of floor plans because people love looking at floor plans.

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And then if you want to buy a home, if you click on "I want one!" it will take you to the builder partner's page on DOE Zero Energy Ready Home locator tool. The DOE Zero Energy Ready Home locator tool features all the builder partners, often with direct links to their websites and information about their business, and so forth. And this way, if you want to buy one, and you like the project that you're taking a tour of on the website, you can go directly to that builder vis-a-vis our locator tool, and all the pieces that we have in our website are kind of directly linked. And then lastly, to your right, the fourth column has key stats that people love to get and look at when they're taking a tour. So in that blue box you have the square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, number of floors, and the climate. The conditions that it is, to show it's the same climate as maybe the one you live in, the cold climate, in this case. And then there's a HERS score. In this case, it is -3, which means this house has a negative energy use each year, based on a HERS Index score, compared to a typical existing home that would be 130. So it's a very quick look at just how efficient it is, based on a HERS metric. And then we have, in the green box, the cost information. What's the average utility bill? Because it's a -3, zero dollars or less. The average savings per year might be $1,900 or $2,000. And the savings over a 30- year mortgage might be 60, 70, 80, 100,000 more. This number that we show in the hypothetical example should be more, inflated more for the escalated cost of energy.

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So this is the Power of Zero tour to make sure innovation is front and center and accessible to the American home- buying public. OK, so hopefully this context makes sense and you understand better why you're selling Zero Energy homes and what you're selling. The context of what and the why. You're selling an amazing product, and why it is so important is because it's ready for where the industry should be going to manage risk and optimize the differentiation to the competition. So now let's go through our skill No. 1, our concept No. 1, that "Knowledge Matters."

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And welcome to your new best friend. The Building America Solution Center is absolutely like having the best expert guidance in the world at your fingertips, like you have your own consultant right there, 24/7 at your beck and call to give you any information you need. And it's so easy and helpful that this -- like I said, it's your new best friend. So let's talk about the Building America Solution Center.

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What it is, is an online tool or a tool that can be accessed from a mobile app with your smart phone or tablet. And most significantly, it's fast, it's free, and it's incredibly reliable knowledge. It's all driven by a database engine, and it's kept continually up to date and improved, so you have access to a tool where you don't have to figure out is it up-to-date content, or content at that point in time, and it's so easy to get to exactly what you want. There is easy access by going to checklists for individual programs like Zero Energy Ready Home, Energy Star, Indoor airPLUS, WaterSense, or you can get to it just by knowing what the item is, and going to a picture of a house pointed out and finding the information. More about how you do all of this in a moment. And the guidance you'll get will be how to specify Zero Energy Ready Homes, how to install them, and how to learn about them, and how they have precedence. There's so many examples over and over and over again that these are proven innovations that offer great value.

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So let's look at the program support. There are a lot of ways to directly get to content based on a program interest: Zero Energy Ready Home, ENERGY STAR for Homes, airPLUS, Water Sense. And then there'll be a whole new suite of content for existing homes coming up later this year, and you also have direct access to a whole array of content of the hub of innovation in the residential sector of the U.S. Department of Energy Building America program.

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Now the interface looks like this when you go to the Building America Solution Center. There are four key boxes. If you want to go by components and you know exactly what you want by measure, and that's the point of interest, you might use the building component interface. If you're working with a program like Zero Energy Ready Home, you might just want to go to our checklist and use the checklist option. This currently says ENERGY STAR checklist, but it offers all the checklists -- program checklists that we mentioned earlier. Or you may just want to go to specific guides or research information in the lower boxes. We'll spend a lot less time in those today.

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So looking at the checklists, let's assume you're working with Zero Energy Ready Home. Exhibit No. 2, the target home, if you click on that, will take you directly to the specs and you'll see the requirements of the program. But if you go to the mandatory requirements, you'll have a whole suite of checklists that are all part and parcel of participating in the Zero Energy Ready Home program. So this is how you can learn about your product. How you can become the expert. Knowledge breeds enthusiasm and it earns trust. This is so important for you to be able to earn trust and be the experts. This is where you'll get loads of information in the Zero Energy Ready Home portion of the Solution Center. So let's say the checklist is open and I clicked on "duct system."

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I would have these choices for content, and in this case it's six different ways I can do ducts in the home's conditioned space, or the thermal air barrier, to be more technical. So the ducts are inside, not outside. And for your homebuyers, that's a good thing. Rather than putting the comfort system outside the home, you as a builder decide you're going to put the comfort system inside the home, and protect it, because it's crazy to run 55-degree air in an oven, which is what you're doing when you're running your air conditioning through a hot attic. So if you want to become smart about how your company did this and your company builds with ducts buried in attic insulation, you can go and click on that.

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And then you get to the key part of the Building America Solution Center, which are the guides. The guides have eight different tabs of content to make you the expert. Let's go through those one at a time for this example, the ducts buried in an attic insulation. So the first tab says "Scope," and this is a scope of work that explains how you would specify this innovation and how it's installed, step by step. So it's good background about the details of what it takes to do this correctly, and how to install it.

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Now the second tab, "Description," gives you your knowledge about what this is and how it works, and just an understanding in a good, concise description, what this innovation is. So now you can become an expert in innovation by studying the description and learning about this innovation.

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Now "Ensuring Success," the next tab, helps explain other related safety, building science, and planning issues that need to be addressed part and parcel to using this specific measure. So it helps you understand other things that are related to using ducts buried in the attic insulation. And it's very important, particularly in the case of the builder, to plan for implementing this measure most successfully.

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Now, the "Climate" tab helps explain any nuance about this innovation, how it's used in your home and it's specific to your climate. It gives you specific conditions going to how it was used in the ENERGY STAR program, Zero Energy Ready Home program, or in general if there are some climate concerns that are attached to this specific measure.

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The "Training" tab is excellent at showing you exactly what was done in terms of constructing this home with this substantial improvement. It gives you pictures of what is right and wrong. You know if you look at the pictures above, you'll see there's a blue smiley face and a red sad face. The blue is the proper installation picture; the red is the improper. There are captions about why, good or bad. Often we're going to be creating opportunities to add presentations that you can dive deeper into what this measure is about, how it's installed, how it works. And sometimes there'll be videos, as we get access to those, that you also will be able to access. So to the degree you want to further staircase down into more and more detail and understanding, the training tab is your source for that.

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The "CAD" tab is for particular use for builders in having construction document drawings that can be put into the architectural set of drawings to be submitted for permitting and most importantly, for contracting, to ensure the house is constructed with these improved measures. And so this is something to look at more for the technical people, but if the salesperson might want to take a look at the technical drawings they can go to the home, as well.

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Also more for the builder is a -- under the "Compliance" tab is a detailed list of all the related standards and codes involved in this measure, including a direct link to the Staren code provision, if it's available, without any proprietary restrictions. If it is a cost requirement to access the document, or a restriction in how the information can be accessed, the link takes you to that site, website, where you can buy or follow the procedures necessary to get access to the content. But you can find all the code provisions.

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And "More information" is for the person who wants to become truly an expert in this measure. It has case studies and established precedents in how this measure has been met in a number of different buildings very successfully, and it provides a link to references and resources, and unabridged documents and details, studies, that look at this specific measure. So they're really, really involved at whatever level of interest you have as you become an expert.

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Now, here's an example taking you to how the checklist can be used for another program, the ENERGY STAR Qualified Homes program. Let's say I'm a salesperson. I want to have raised ceilings in our home with attic knee walls and I want to understand what this thing called an attic knee wall is. I would go to the ENERGY STAR Home checklist. Now I need to go to the thermal enclosure section, because that's what would include the attic knee wall. I click that and I see all my options. I would click on "Fully aligned air barriers." That would give me, further my options, and there "Attic knee walls" is one of my selections. I would click on that and get to the guide.

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Ultimately, I mentioned, there's a building component interface. I can go to "Walls and openings," click on that and it will give me a full list of my options. I click on "Fully aligned air barriers," and again, my list of my options, and there's "Attic knee walls," and I click on that and I get to the attic knee wall guide, which is just like the previous guide I showed you, an eight-tab guide with all the same type of content. You are prepared now to be the expert.

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Now the key is, how do you create a resource so you can have that resource, and study it and continue to get better? Now before I go there, I just want to explain one more thing. If you simply want to go to look at images, you can go to "Image gallery" and pop up images of interest.

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There's a CAD file. You can pop up CAD files of interest.

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But the key thing is, you need to have a way that you can study and become an expert. That's going to be a customized field kit. And the only way you can use and take advantage of customized field kits is if you log in and become a member. So this is going to be critical. The first practice assignment is to log in and become a member of the Building America Solution Center. So more about that later. But if you look at the upper right, you'll see there's my field kits. In this example this user has three field kits: one with 12 items, one with four, one with five items. You click on plus below, "Add a new field kit," and start adding new content to that field kit.

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When you hit "Add a new field kit," we'll have a screen that shows you a line to create a title for that field kit, could be the name of the subdivision, name of a house or client, whatever it may be. You give it a name, and then you can start adding content to the field kit.

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And basically, you go to the content page and add all the content you want, by hitting the field kit icon above the content, and eventually a field kit can look like this. In this case, the San Francisco Challenge Home Project No. 1 that's in this list of field kits, has a number of images and it has five field guides.

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And you can basically click on the images that you want, look, scroll through them, or you click on your guides, study those, and become the expert in how with cantilevered floors you've actually stopped cold floors from happening in this house and how and why it works.

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And then I mentioned above how you can add guides to your field kit. This is the field kit button above each guide. And then you can see, if you click on that, that it's -- you can add or remove this item from your field kits. If it's not in a field kit you already have, you basically can add it, and if it's there already, you can subtract it by hitting the minus button. So you can continually manage and keep your field kits up to date.

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And a very important functionality feature is being able to print and having PDF options, and so you can print your field kits in their entirety and have a reference book for each home, each model, each subdivision, whatever it may be. This is what you have to study.

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And so before I wrap up on this skill, I want to also recommend that you also look at the Solution Center optimized climate packages to maybe benchmark how your homes compare to a recommended set of measures for that climate zone. What these climate packages are, for each climate zone in the country -- cold, mixed, dry, hot-dry, hot-humid, marine, and so forth -- you can see what DOE recommends as a 30-percent more efficient package, pretty much where the Zero Energy Ready Home specifications are. And for all climates, it gives you kind of a reference to what is recommended as a good technical package.

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And if you click on this in the Solution Center, and you click on a climate zone of interest, what will happen is you'll have a four-tab set of content for you to look at. One will show you how much savings you can expect from a 30-percent package by climate zone. And then you can look at the thermal enclosure recommendations, the HVAC recommendations, and the efficient component recommendations, and start comparing with what you're doing. Say there are opportunities to talk about with your builder or consider in any way you want.

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And lastly, to wrap up about the Solution Center, the mobile app is so useful for so many of our registered users because it lets you access your toolkits wherever you are, whether there's wi-fi accessibility or not. Once you have created a field kit and then you load the app, wherever you go you then have full access to all the content you put in each field kit. So you may be out at the sales center and you may not have access to wi-fi, and you want to be studying what you have, you can pull out your smart phone or tablet and pull up all your field kits anywhere you are.

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And what's coming soon to this Solution Center will be a ninth tab called "Translator" that lets you take the technical language and convert it to a power word. Again, Part 2 will cover the skill about being more effective with the words we use. For now what we'd like you to know is that the Solution Center in April or May will be updated to have a substantial amount of content about how to speak more effective words. So stay tuned for that.

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And as part of that functionality, we generate point-of- sale material that we'll talk about later, that list in power words how your homes are better across six different attributes that are really powerful value propositions for your consumers. So this is a lot of stay-tuned information.

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And lastly, I'll talk about, for people that do go into the research mode and really want to see our reference material for the Building America program, the Building Science Publication module is one where you can pick your construction type, and climate or technology type, and have very simple graphics that will connect you to information by their size. You know how much information is available, and it's a way to be more effectively able to research information. Anything that it takes to build a Zero Energy Ready Home. And you can go to it and open up a section, you get lists of very important and useful documents if you are looking for a lot more detail.

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So register and log in. This is your first assignment. You have to be a user to create the field kits. Also, provide feedback and content. It will let you do the customized field kits, and track them, and it's going to also help us, if we know how you use the tool, to help make the Solution Center better and better, as it's a cumulatively proven product for us here at the Department of Energy.

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And so the way you log in is you go to "Log in." If you're not a user, it will say "Log in" at the top of the screen and "Register," so hit "Register." Give a simple amount of information to become a registered user. And then you'll have a password and you'll be able to log in anytime you want when you use the Building America Solution Center and start using the mobile field kits, provide feedback, and so forth.

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So this brings us to the end and to the practice part. Remember what I said at the beginning -- training is really great, but it's only so useful if you don't practice. So the very first thing you do, bar none, is register as a user. It's so important that you register as a user. And it's simple and easy, and it costs nothing. Second, you go and compile a list of all the measures for any specific home you're selling, model or subdivision, get a list of measures, and get it listed so you know exactly what your product is. Then create a field kit for that home or model or subdivision. Give it a name, and start populating it with the Solution Center guides for each measure. In other words, you're creating a reference document that's incredibly powerful for your specific product. Then print the guides and compile them in a binder so you have a reference document that will be so valuable, because it's great content but it's about your product. Then it's time to study the package. You have to be the expert. I want you to get to Level 4. When people ask questions, you are facile, quick and you don't have to think about how you can answer any question your consumers have. You show your enthusiasm, your knowledge. They trust you. This is a big deal. So this is the practice that's so important to what has to happen next if you're going to be a Level 4, for being an expert.

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Now, we've kind of finished Part 1. Kind of a heavy dose in just one hour. What are we going to do in Part 2? We're going to review Part 1 really briefly, and then I'm going to go into the next skills: words matter, questions matter, experiences matter (which is missing), and process matters. So we'll have this agenda for Part 2 on February 12. I hope most of you will take the time and commit.

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And at this point, I'm going to hand off to Lindsay.

Lindsay Parker:
Alright, thank-you, Sam. That was a wonderful and really informative presentation. Thank-you so much for spending the time. Now we have a couple minutes for questions. I know I did answer a few as we were going along. So if anyone has any questions, now is the time to ask. We have the expert here to answer them. So we have a couple coming in. Let me see ... So yes, we will make access to the Building America Solution Center on the Zero Energy Ready Home site, exactly. You'll see on the resources site right now that there's a website to the Solution Center, which I boast around to everyone. It's basc.pnnl.gov. And there you can find all the resources that Sam mentioned about the Solution Center. So, let's see, there was one question that, he's a builder building a Zero Energy Ready Home house. When completed, how do we go about posting it onto the Power of Zero Home Tour page?

Sam Rashkin:
The way the Power of Zero Tour is being developed is every year DOE does a Housing Innovation Award for leading builders in the country, and they submit their homes to us, and we distinguish these very special homes usually at the Energy and Environmental Building Alliance conference in October. And so all the homes that are winners -- there are only about 20 to 30 homes a year that win those awards so far -- are posted. A profile is created, and they're posted on the website. And then we create a page for the Tour of Zero, which will launching in about June. And so by being a partner, by certifying your homes -- you've got to remember to certify your homes -- and then you'll be getting newsletters as a partner when it's time to submit for the Housing Innovation Award competition. So you submit your -- you'll be submitting your homes, and then, when they're selected, automatically, we do the heavy lifting. We create the profiles for you as a builder, and we create the home tour pages and we work with you to get the content we need to really showcase your excellence. So that is the best way. Now to the degree that we have some bandwidth to do some additional homes that don't come through the Housing Innovation Awards, we may be expanding. We also want to network with groups like the Zero Energy Home Coalition and other programs around the country to submit content for the Tour of Zero. We want it to be effectively a repository for all the best facing projects for consumers that are achieving zero energy performance. So we're going to welcome content people can give us and follow our templates. So lots of opportunities to work with us and to be recognized for your excellence in being the top 1 percent.

Lindsay Parker:
OK, thanks, Sam. And we had one question on what resources are available for builders looking to work with existing housing stock?

Sam Rashkin:
The Building America Solution Center is going to be launching an incredibly helpful module totally dedicated to existing home upgrades. So stay tuned for that later in the year, probably in the fall, and we'll have the same kind of content I showed you for the new homes in this particular webinar, and it's very very useful. On top of that, you can go to the Building America Solution Center now, and there already is some content about existing homes, particularly if you go to the reference portion of the interface, where you can start pulling up documents about, that are the unabridged studies, and research work done at Building America. But do stay tuned. I think the Building America Solution Center existing home interface is going to be really powerful for people in the existing home upgrade profession.

Lindsay Parker:
We'll read one last question on how one gets their home certified. If they're already in ENERGY STAR and Indoor airPLUS and NGBS-certified, how do they get Zero Energy Ready?

Sam Rashkin:
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If you are a builder who's already in the ENERGY STAR for Homes program, you've done the heavy lifting. If you're also doing Indoor airPLUS, you're remarkably close to Zero Energy Ready Home. This is an amazing differentiator for so little additional effort. We welcome all the builders that are already doing ENERGY STAR to double-down and get a (inaudible) more value propositions added for a small investment. So we welcome you. So you've done the hard part. Now join this program. And the way you do it is go to our website, just like you do with ENERGY STAR, and you simply go to the join portion of the website to become a partner. And we provide you with so many resources and great content, that guidance to be a partner. But remember this, it was designed in every way to parallel and align with ENERGY STAR for Homes. ENERGY STAR for Homes is such an important and such a valuable program. It gets you the comprehensive building science. It's such a vital place to be. We then build off that, and we follow the exact same structure in our specifications. We have exhibit 1, 2, and 3, are just the same exact template. And then we have ENERGY STAR as a prerequisite, and then we have the same two inspections. You don't have to get a HERS rater to learn to do anything special or new. They do the same two inspections; they're just generally looking for more stuff. More insulation, higher graded window or higher level of airtightness, or higher rated equipment. It's not more work; it's just looking for a different level, a higher level of excellence. So my message to you as you're doing ENERGY STAR, you're already getting a HERS Index score approaching 60 or below 60, this is a easy, easy solution to truly differentiate your product at a substantially higher level.

Lindsay Parker:
Well, thank-you very much, Sam, and thank-you to everyone who joined us today. We look forward to seeing you again on Part 2 next Thursday at noon Eastern time. And if you have any questions, feel free to email zero@newportpartnersllc.com and we'll be sure to answer your questions. Otherwise, thanks again for joining.