Here is the text version of the Zero Energy Ready Home webinar, "Calling all Indoor airPLUS Builders: Join Forces with Zero Energy Ready Homes!" presented in May 2018. Watch the webinar.

Alex Krowka:
Presentation cover slide:

Hi, everyone. Welcome to DOE Zero Energy Ready Home's training webinar series. We're excited that you can join us today for "Indoor airPLUS Builders Joining Forces with Zero Energy Ready Home." Our presenters today are Sam Rashkin, chief architect of the Building Technologies Office and program director of Zero Energy Ready Home, and Jamie Lyons of Newport Partners and technical director of Zero Energy Ready Home. Today's session is one in a continuing series of training webinars to support our partners in designing, building, and selling DOE Zero Energy Ready Homes. My name is Alex Krowka, and I provide account management support for the program. I'm just going to take a quick moment here to cover some general notes on webinar housekeeping. All attendees will be in listen-only mode, however, we do invite you to ask questions throughout the session in the questions section of the GoToWebinar program. We'll monitor these throughout the webinar, and after the presentation we'll have some time to go over your submitted questions that weren't answered during the webinar. This session is being recorded and will be placed on the resources page of the Zero Energy Ready Home website. Please allow some time for us, since it does take a few days to go through the process to be added online. However, we will notify everyone once everything is uploaded. Now I'm going to hand it over to Sam Rashkin to go ahead and get us started. Take it away, Sam.

Sam Rashkin:
Hey, thanks, Alex, and welcome, everyone. We really appreciate you taking some time, particularly if you're engaged with the Indoor airPLUS program. You're just so close to being also qualified to place yourself in the top 1 percent of builders in the country meeting the federal government's most rigorous guidelines for high performance in the nation. So let's talk about the easy lift. I'm going to start you off with the business case and some background information, then I'll hand off to Jamie Lyons, our technical director, to walk you through the specifications that will tell you precisely the off-the-shelf solutions that get you from where you are now with Indoor airPLUS to Zero Energy Ready Home.

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So starting right now first with a prologue. I always like to provide context for where you sit when you engage in these programs.

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And I do larger workshops with builders apart from DOE about an opportunity to transfer the business model from first class to consumer experience. And we talk about five key experiences. The first is community experience and how important that is to the total lifestyle of the family living in that new home. Then the home itself and how it's designed is the next experience, and the five key factors that drive good housing design. Then comes performance. There are five key factors that drive high-performance homes. Then there's quality construction. There's three key factors that drive construction with minimal waste, minimal defects, and innovation that helps improve quality. And lastly, there are three key factors for really good effective home sales that lead to a great buying experience. So all these together are what a consumer looks like when they're buying a new home. And we sit right there. We're going to address, with the programs that we do, airPLUS, ENERGY STAR® and Zero Energy Ready Home, three of the five slices of performance, and there's this whole larger context. And so it's really important to know where you are. You're part of this much bigger system of consumer experiences, and we're going to nail these and help this part of the pie be absolutely top-notch.

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So let's talk about how to get there, what is Zero, and how is it achieved.

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And it begins with an understanding that, as we look over time at the code cycles, they have substantially improved in rigor. Codes really came into full force starting on the heels of the two oil embargoes in the 1970s. And then after some initial growth, they really stayed flat in terms of their rigor. Then 2006, 2009, and 2012 come along, and essentially almost a 40-percent improvement in the stringency of the energy codes on a national level. And what's significant is, those code cycles made homes that much more efficient. We've become, even with the worst home allowed by law, effectively engaging what I call the risk zone. We have to address new risk now that we build homes differently unto the new codes. And let's look at those and see how they lay the business case for why we recommend Zero Energy Ready Home.

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So the first thing I want to talk about, risk No. 1, is the increase in wetting potential in homes constructed that are more efficient. So I have the less-efficient enclosure on the bottom, the more-efficient enclosure on top, and the warm side on the right, cold side on the left. And when we add more insulation, the thermal flow and air flow are much more substantially reduced. And that's just inherent with having tighter construction and better insulation. As a result, we create a much colder side, on the cold side of the building, facing the cavity. That could be the inside surface of the sheathing in a cold climate. In a warm climate, that could be the inside of the drywall. Essentially now we're having temperatures so often that can enable wetting, and if air flow and thermal flow go through, that is greater wetting potential. At the same time that the wetting potential increases, the drying potential is substantially reduced. This is because with the reduced thermal and air flow, your drying will be so much slower. What this really dictates is that you have no choice. You need comprehensive water protection in a high-efficient enclosure.

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Risk No. 2 has to do with comfort challenges. Again, the same reduced thermal and air flow in a more-efficient enclosure. Now that means that you need a lot less Btu to provide comfort: less Btu to add heat in the winter, and a lot less Btu to remove heat in the summer. So you'd have a much smaller comfort system. And if you don't do a smaller comfort system, you have a lot more cycling and lot more comfort challenges just with that. But there are other related challenges.

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First, the more -efficient enclosure has a lot less air flow, 40 to 50 percent less air flow. And the challenge there is that how do you ensure mixing with so much less air flow, when as an industry HVAC installers have been paying very little attention to really rigorous design practices for duct systems. And also with how ducts are installed. So we have now less tolerance for not addressing good duct design because of less brute force pushing air through the system. So how do we ensure mixing with less air flow is a big challenge, given we haven't paid nearly as much attention as we should to how duct systems are sized, installed in homes. The second challenge has to do with the fact that a much more efficient enclosure creates a much longer swing season. In fact, two to three months longer for the more-efficient home. So that means where air conditioning may have started in late April / early May, maybe now it doesn't start until early June or mid-June. And those are important weeks, five, six weeks, when often there'll be a latent load in eastern parts of the country and no sensible load. And so what are you going to do to manage moisture? So the challenge is how do we ensure humidity control when there's no sensible load? So these are two big challenges that really are exacerbated when we get to high-performance enclosures with more insulation and more air-sealing.

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Third risk, final risk I want to talk about, is contaminants. Again, with a more-efficient enclosure, a lot less air flow, which means a lot less dilution. So what are we going to do to get rid of the contaminants that can accumulate without that exfiltration or infiltration that's happening in leakier construction per older codes.

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So let's look at a complete risk management strategy, vis-a-vis the Zero Energy Ready Home program. We're starting with the advanced enclosure because the code already delivers that. So this enclosure that you see here is already pretty good. But what we're saying is that if there are new code cycles looming ahead that speak a little bit more energy-efficient performance, we should build to that. We should always build to whatever code cycle is looming ahead. And that could be a little more insulation, a little better window, a little better air-sealing. But essentially, at the juncture where a consumer is about to engage in the largest purchase of a lifetime, to make a decision to build with practices that will be obsolete and in fact often illegal in the next three to four years just doesn't make any sense. You want to build to that next code cycle. And even if you are doing ENERGY STAR in most parts of the country, to its minimum program requirements, that would be illegal to build since ENERGY STAR program is pegged to the 2009 IECC for version 3. So optimized enclosure, just don't take on the risk of obsolescence or even homes that will not stand the test of time. And then, more than half the energy use in the home with that optimized enclosure will be relegated to all the appliances, fans, equipment in the home, so make sure all of those components are highly energy-efficient. ENERGY STAR or better types of equipment. Together the enclosure and the components provide a complete energy-efficient strategy, which is great. You allowed a cost-effective strategy and savings to be had. But now the three risk factors we talked about come into play. So, have a comprehensive checklist for water protection. You have no tolerance because you have less drying potential, more wetting potential. Make sure the roof, the walls, the openings, the foundation, everything is detailed and installed so it's protected from bulk moisture. Two, since your comfort system has longer swing seasons and less air flow, make sure you have a comfort system that's designed to provide mixing and knows what to do during swing seasons to help ensure moisture control, humidity control, at that juncture. And then lastly, since there's less air flow, or is less air leakage, and therefore less dilution, make sure you have a comprehensive indoor air quality system. Source control to minimize contaminants from coming in, or being integrated into the materials we use to build. Filtration to capture particles in the airstream and going through our heating and cooling systems. And dilution through a whole-house ventilation system. Together these three strategies ensure optimized performance that manages those three key risks. And now we have a house that's both energy efficient and high performance and still low energy-using. A solar-ready system can position us to go to Zero anytime we want in the future, if it's not included during construction. Low-cost / no-cost details avoid disruption of the home in the future and cost penalties if they are not integrated during construction. And that makes our house zero-ready. So these six building blocks form an incredible, thoughtful set of systems that every homeowner would want if they were thinking logically about what will deliver a great home living experience. And if we were to map out where ENERGY STAR is -- well, first, this is a home to the power of zero. It has a label; consumers can easily find it.

If we were to map out where ENERGY STAR is on this scale, I show graphically with the light blue boxes what percent of each of these building blocks is addressed by the ENERGY STAR program requirements. Most of the optimized enclosure are there. We're about 20, 25 percent more efficient. Half the energy-efficient components are there. Almost all the water protection, except for a few additional requirements in the Indoor airPLUS program, are there. Most of the ensured comfort are there, except for things in Zero Ready like ducts inside the conditioned space and humidity control in hot-humid climates, things of that nature. Half of the indoor air quality features are there, because those will come along for the ride with the energy-efficient measures. All the Indoor airPLUS requirements are not there, and virtually none of the solar-ready details are there. So that's what you get with ENERGY STAR. And for those of you in the Indoor airPLUS program, you're kind of here. You've added all the indoor air quality improvements, and you've added the little pieces of water protection that we're missing. I show you this graphically because the whole purpose of today's webinar is to show you how easy a lift it is for you to get from Indoor airPLUS to Zero Energy Ready Home. As a virtue of doing airPLUS, you have to do ENERGY STAR already, and then the only thing missing are the optimized enclosure, and I would submit most builders are starting to move further and further beyond the minimum requirements of ENERGY STAR, so that's a very easy lift. I'd also submit most builders are using ENERGY STAR appliances and equipment, so that's an easy lift. The comfort measures may be the most significant additional requirements, And then the solar-ready are low-cost / no-cost details, so they're incredibly easy to do. Jamie Lyons is going to walk you through the specifics of these specifications that get you there, so you can see how simple and easy it is to do. But in a nutshell, this is all you have to do from where you are now to place yourself in the top 1 percent of builders, meeting the federal government's most rigorous guidelines for performance excellence.

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And what we're really excited about is this is the gateway to where homes are going in the future. This is the Tesla image of a home where the shingles look just like each other, both for those with PV and those that are just roofing. The solar battery is there to provide resilience and more backup power and more economics. Even the car may be powered by the solar roof. It's a whole different exciting way for homeowners to look forward to the next new generation of housing coming along in the very near term.

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So why is this all happening now? Why do we think now is the time for you to take this easy lift?

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Well, it begins with the fact that homebuyers are so much better informed. Already we know by a number of different measurements that, by and large, homeowners are almost all going to websites before they go visit builders. In fact, over 92 percent frequently or occasionally go to see builder websites. By the amount of content they're getting, I would graph like this personally, knowing that exponential jumps are about to happen. And let's talk about that exponential jump and additional education consumers will have before they buy homes.

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One of the catalysts for that increase and awareness will be the infrared camera. Where this used to cost $20,000, $30,000 or more to buy a camera, today for $200 you can buy a snap-on camera to go right on your smart phone. Cameras are so powerful because they emotionally convey defects in a home. That way consumers can understand in nanoseconds and respond emotionally. People buy on emotion and justify with facts. Emotion is the most powerful way to influence buyers.

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And as evidenced in Bristol, England: They did a study where they went around offering home improvement audits, and then the ensuing home improvements, with and without the infrared camera diagnostic. And what they found is that almost five times greater propensity for consumers to install the energy improvements where a company with an infrared diagnostic. So this is an incredible, effective way to emotionally grab people's attention and make them appreciate the difference in high performance.

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And some examples. Informed buyers are going to know a lot more about insulation defects, and things we used to get away with because it only showed up maybe as a utility bill increase that was not really well-understood. Now this is an emotional image.

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And now we'll understand why our floors are cold. Could be next to a balcony; it could be a slab edge. Whatever it may be, when a company by an infrared diagnostic any home evaluation will be a lot more powerful. Consider that 70 percent of all home sales include a home inspector and how much more easy it is for inspectors to now include this additional useful information because cameras cost so little.

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Homeowners will know a lot more about thermal bridging, construction that doesn't manage the entire wall assembly to minimize too much heat loss through the wall.

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And homeowners will understand drafts, and why drafts occur. Visually, they'll see the defect and react to it emotionally.

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And in a nanosecond, homebuyers will see the difference between quality windows and poor windows. And there's a basis now for getting more and more homeowners interested in the higher-performing windows.

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And homeowners will really understand moisture risk. And images like this will really scare homeowners, particular existing homeowners, given that 90 percent of homes don't have pan and window flashing at doors and windows, and 100 percent of doors and windows leak.

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And they'll understand moisture problems that occur because of simple details like a kick-out flashing is missing where roof meets the wall.

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In effect, the total package, homeowners will know the difference between good and bad construction. And a home that's in the background that hadn't been retrofitted like this apartment unit on the right, will just be a glaring difference that's obvious to even the most lay homeowner or consumer in the marketplace.

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And moving beyond infrared diagnostics, homeowners could have a lot more information about comfort. There'll be dashboards that are tacked on to systems, and there will be fault detection diagnostics built into every heating / cooling system sold. And that's going to be a huge immediate transformation in the HVAC industry, because HVAC installers who have been not accountable to quality installation will almost instantly have to do that because they cannot leave the homeowner with systems with all the warning lights flashing that there are issues with the duct flow, or the air flow in the ducts, or the refrigerant charge, static pressures, whatever it may be.

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And homeowners can know a lot more about health risks. There's an increasing number of health monitors coming online and available for them to install. And it will be very quick and easy for them to understand how good a job their home is doing protecting the health of the family.

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And they'll also understand true costs, because more and more, the industry understands how to simply convey the difference in ownership cost, which is the most powerful cost every homeowner should care about. So you may add a little more to your mortgage, but have so much utility savings, effectively you have lower true cost every month you own the home. And if you expect energy costs to go up and not down, the only thing that will happen in the future is the true lower cost will keep -- get higher and higher.

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And homeowners can understand trusted performance. If you're ever in the market, let's say, for cars, and you're buying a used car, look at the price difference between a certified preowned car and a used car. Certified performance is a huge factor in getting homeowner confidence. They don't trust large purchases because they don't understand them, whether it's a car or a home, and having all these designations visibly attached to a home, it's all about building trust with homebuyers, and making them more informed that this is a builder who's able to demonstrate they can comply with some of the most difficult guidelines in the nation for quality construction.

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And maybe the most significant one that's going to transform the market will be simple star ratings for homes, just like for almost any other purchase we make. When we go into any online shopping, or we go to even look for restaurants and hotels, we won't make decisions for three-, two-, and one-star options without getting an incredible price discount. And housing, it's come there, too. I've blocked out this builder, who's a one-star builder, wondering how ever will builders who get one-star ratings and enough reviews coming in to justify them, and how they will compete with the four- and five-star builders.

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So basically our view of why now is that basically buyers are getting all this information in an exponential curve over the next few years, and with all those factors we talked about, Zero delivers a superior consumer experience.

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So the only challenge is can we convey that experience? Can we communicate Zero to buyers?

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And the challenge is very significant when we look at how they normally see these different choices. They can buy a code home, an ENERGY STAR home, a Zero Energy Ready Home that builds on ENERGY STAR and adds Building America innovations and airPLUS, or a PHIUS, Passive House home. And there's no way for them to really, truly understand this. This is a really confusing set of choices when they see it this way. So our job is to make it compelling to consider Zero, and understand this is the choice they truly want.

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So our strategy to do that is to focus on the experience. And to make it simple, to showcase it in a way that it's empirical, and they can see that others are having a completely different experience in their homes, and provide clarity, so it's understood exactly what they have to give up if they do not choose Zero Energy Ready Home.

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So how do we do that? Well, first with "simple," we're creating a very effective message through video that will be on our website, and also through a video that our sponsors and partners in the program that we call innovation partners will hopefully unmask, also be using and distributing throughout the country.

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And essentially the message is going to go like this (again, it's an experience-based message): "A superior home experience is as easy as looking for a certified Zero Energy Ready Home."

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Tens of thousands of dollars of savings, often more than $100,000 of savings, on your utility bills over a 30-year mortgage.

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Full thermal protection for the hottest and coldest weather, like a blanket around your home.

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Total comfort at a whole new level that you've never experienced before with advanced heating and cooling.

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Healthy living with contaminants kept out of the air you breathe every day to protect your family and what they breathe.

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Peace of mind from moisture problems with comprehensive water protection, water protection you would never want to give up.

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Certified performance with a home independently tested, inspected to the most rigorous federal guidelines, a home you can trust.

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And enhanced future value with construction that meets and exceeds future codes.

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Visit the Zero Energy Ready Home website for more information how you can get a better home experience. We just want to keep it really simple. These are all experiences you want. In total, it's this one big superior experience, and that's why you should want this home.

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Now, the "showcase" is about showing consumers this experience is real. It's empirical. Others are having all sorts of different kinds of benefits that you've never seen before. And the way we populate these different experiences is by first having a competition called the Housing Innovation Awards for the best Zero Energy Ready Home builders.

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And the recipients are all placed on the Tour of Zero. This is the best of Zero. And virtually in any climate zone, you can see home after home after home and the experiences the homeowners are having.

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So if you go to the Tour of Zero, you hit a certain climate zone, you get a list of homes.

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You can click on any home, and the tour will take you through the home. There are pictures that show you inside and outside, and below you have this consumer experience testimonial quote that we feature. "This home has a standard that's truly best in class."

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And then you see pictures that take you throughout the home and often sometimes there might be a technical picture, but then when you scroll down and get to the full details, very little text.

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You have the full testimonial from which the shorter headline quote is taken. You have key statistics including the normal ones people care about -- square footage, number of bedrooms. You have the HERS index score. You have the average monthly bill. But notice that 30-year mortgage savings number at the bottom. Over $125,000 in savings over 30 years with this home. All these numbers come from the HERS rating used to certify the home. Then you have videos. Often the video would be the consumer testimonial from the homebuyer. Then you have a list of innovations in very consumer-friendly terms. We developed what we call a power word glossary that uses experience-based terminology. So for instance, a ventilation system becomes a fresh air system. And then we have a way for the visitors to contact the builder if they like a home they see. The locator tool we have on the website, the builder's page from that is pulled out so consumers can find the builder.

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And like I mentioned, we want to work with the depth and breadth of all the high-performance product manufacturer associations and some others to get this message out about the superior experience and link consumers to the Tour of Zero.

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The last part of what we do in this communication strategy is to really, really focus on clarity, really explain in just a nanosecond how much you give up if you choose not to make the Zero Energy Ready Home choice. And we know from good references like Daniel Pink's book, "To Sell is Human," that clarity depends on contrasts. We often understand something so much better when we see it in comparison with something else. In isolation, we have no context. We do not understand the message.

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So this looks like an innocuous set of comparison bars or of graphics, but really it's a very powerful contrast tool. There are three bars for six different attributes: health, comfort, technology, efficiency, quality, and durability. The green bar is Zero Energy Ready Home. The blue is ENERGY STAR-certified home. And the gray is an existing home. The reason we chose these points of comparison is that most builders and most homeowners are not moving from a code home to Zero Ready. They're trying to understand the value equation for going up from ENERGY STAR to Zero Ready. So that's why we have that first comparison. The second comparison is based on the fact that about 85 percent or more of home sales are attributed to existing resale homes. So we really want to make clear how much you give up in a resale home compared to a Zero Ready home. And we use a home built to the 1993 MEC as a surrogate for a typical existing home. And the specifications for the 1993 MEC drive how we determine the bar width, if you will.

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So how do we make this a powerful tool? I'll explain in a second. First, I want you to know that we have all the calculations of these bars transparent and a document that was actually renamed the Zero Energy Ready Home label methodology. This is the original document when our program began under this name. And let me show you how this comparison works and creates clarity.

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If Mr. and Mrs. Smith walk into our home and they ask questions, as a good salesperson should do at the very beginning, really listen, and listen and listen. And we understand that one of the biggest drivers that are leaning to them looking for a new home is their kids have been sick so often in their current home. We take out a big thick marker and we circle "Healthful Environment."

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And what we're able to say when we circle this particular set of bars is, "Mr. and Mrs. Smith, I'm so sorry to hear what a challenge it is managing your kids' ability to breathe every day. What you need to know is we have 100 percent of the recommendations of the leading authority in health, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in every home we build. In fact, our homes are certified to the EPA Indoor airPLUS label. In contrast, if you build a home to the ENERGY STAR specifications, you only have about half that protection recommended by the leading experts. If you buy an existing home, you get hardly any of those recommendations. Wouldn't you agree, every day what a struggle it is for your children to breathe easily, that you are buying a home that has 100 percent of the protection that leading experts would recommend?" All of a sudden, the clarity is completely evident. I'm giving up half what experts believe should be in every new home if I don't get Zero Energy Ready Home and all the improvements in the airPLUS program. It's so much easier. And the exact same comparison works for any of the other attributes. "Mr. and Mrs. Smith, you're giving up 30 percent of the energy-efficient, low-utility-bill recommendations by the leading experts if you choose an ENERGY STAR home compared to a Zero Ready. Hardly any of those benefits if you buy an existing home." Or "Mr. and Mrs. Smith, you're giving up 40 percent of the recommendations for ensuring a durable, low-maintenance home with an ENERGY STAR home, compared to Zero Ready, if you don't choose our homes." But all of a sudden you're just explaining how much you have to give up by not choosing this label of excellence.

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And this is such a powerful tool, we use it virtually in our two key pieces, both the fact sheet and our own brochure. So if I was using the brochure instead of the fact sheet, I would circle it here, to make the same message. And another point of clarity that's kind of hidden, it would have to do with the marketing position of being in the top 1 percent and the fact that building a home of the future versus one that's obsolescent. So if I had Mr. and Mrs. Jones, who are new homebuyers, looking, I would circle "The Future of Housing Today." Only a select group of top builders in the country meet the exceptional guidelines for excellence. And essentially say to them, "Compare our homes to all the other 99 percent of the homes that do not meet this level of rigor, and isn't it important to know that you're buying a home that meets the future, not one that only meets the guidelines for today?" So just create great contrast on any different level. Very important.

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And we have sales tools that take in seconds your home and basically convert it to a list for each of these attributes, with all the innovations that make your homes exceptional. So if I want to give Mr. and Mrs. Smith a list of the 40 innovations included in every home, so their children can breathe better, I may hand this sheet that I produced from the sales tool we have. And again, in this case Vivid Living is a made-up builder, but the logo and the contact information can be inserted at the top. And simply this is just an automated tool for listing all the innovations that come from our specifications. And where you have individual choices, you can customize how this list is produced.

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I mentioned before how I can often create contrast with being a select builder and building to the future. And all of our materials are made so they can be customized with the builder's name and contact information. Because we know that each of you have your story, not just the DOE Zero Energy Ready Home story.

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And clarify comes just from the ability for builders to take the outcome of building to this level and creating their own clarity. So you could be a normal builder with a billboard like this, a price and a location, or a Zero Energy Ready builder with a message like this:

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"My power bill is $5. What's yours?" -- Heather Robbins, Garbett homeowner. And notice the difference between "trust me, I'm a builder" and "listen to my buyers." And a completely different experience from anything you've ever seen in a new home before. The clarity is just striking as you're going down the road and seeing the two different billboards.

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I mentioned the advantage of living in a healthy home. An actual experience at a dedication for Cobblestone Homes in Michigan with this gentleman, Tony. He came up to me afterward, had listened to my message on the front end, and said, "You're not making this stuff up. Our family moved in, and within two months we threw away the inhaler. Amazing. It was priceless." I just walked up Tony to the owners of Cobblestone Home, and said, you've got to basically get his story right front and center. And I would just make up some sort of poster like this for my model homes: "Our daughter couldn't breathe without discomfort for years. Within two months of moving into our new Cobblestone Home we threw away the inhaler. That was priceless!" Again, the clarity between "I'm using an inhaler," this family that moved in and a few months ago is not using an inhaler; I want that experience. Of course, I just chose a picture from a file, not to get myself in legal trouble, but you get the idea. How contrast can play out in lots of different ways.

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So we believe it's time to join the Zero Movement.

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The Net Zero Energy Coalition does an annual survey of the homes, and you can see basically there's been 100 percent growth in zero-energy homes over the last few years, and it's definitely on an exponential increase, both in our program and other programs that specify similar levels of excellence.

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I also will point you to a Dodge Data Analytics study from last year that shows that the number of builders that expect to build 2019 homes to zero-energy performance is going up, also doubled in 2015. So a lot of different ways you see the data suggests an exponential movement.

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And you also see that the builders that do these kinds of programs are getting exceptional recognition. They're just jumping out in front of everyone's attention. So last year, Gene Myers from Thrive Home Builders is featured as Professional Builder's Builder of the Year.

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And you also note in this article how California builders are adapting to the state's super-strict energy mandates.

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And Meritage claims it can change the same on a per-square-foot basis for net-zero-ready homes than other builders charge for standard construction. And this is a way to future-proof their business. So if you pay more and more attention to all these developments going on around, there are all these indicators that some amazing things are happening, and you're at Indoor airPLUS, you're just knocking at the door to add this one extra-special distinction to your credentials.

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And so to join the movement, all you need to do is visit our website. You see the requirements, you can take the tour, view the resources, view the webinars. Learn as much as you want. Most importantly, if you're at Indoor airPLUS, you need to sign up, be it as a builder, a verifier, or an innovation partner.

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So that's where I am. I'm going to let Alex hand this off to Jamie, and he's going to show you on the technical basis just how simple off-the-shelf solutions can get you to the Zero Energy Ready Home program if you're already doing Indoor airPLUS.

Jamie Lyons:
Alright. Thank-you, Sam. Thanks, Alex, for the handoff. And thanks to the group for joining us today. Get the slideshow set up here ... OK.

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So sort of good news / bad news: We're a little tight on time, but the good news is that this lift that we'll talk about, the jump in specifications from an Indoor airPLUS-certified home to DOE Zero Ready, is a really modest lift. So hopefully I think we can talk through those specifications in pretty short order today.

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So just a little backdrop. The eligible building types for Zero Energy Ready Home are the same as ENERGY STAR homes and Indoor airPLUS. So single-family and covering different forms of multifamily up to five stories, with the allowance of the central HVAC and domestic hot water, if that's part of the design.

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And so this is kind of a busy slide, but let me click once more and show you where we're going to focus today. We'll talk about our specs relative to a code home, sometimes relative to ENERGY STAR because a lot of our builder partners come from that starting point. For today's discussion the starting point is really Indoor airPLUS. So the delta, we'll call it, is these items that we see highlighted in yellow. And you can see there aren't too many of them. But over the next few minutes we'll talk through what's involved in moving from a really good solid home, with good building science, good indoor air quality, up to that next level of Zero Energy Ready Home.

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First stop, we'll talk about the HERS threshold. So really the main takeaway in terms of how efficient Zero Ready homes have to be is the fact that we have this thing called the target home. The target home really is like the measuring stick. It sets the level of where the bar is for the HERS value for a home to qualify. So the target home is an exact replica of the real design home, but it's dialed in the rating software to certain specs. So if for example I'm in climate zone 3, the target home is going to assume a SEER 15. And it's going to model my exact home but using a SEER 15 AC unit and a heat pump with an HSPF of 9. Your design home may vary from this level, by design. But it's the idea that the target home specs set the value to what the HERS Index needs to be for the home to meet Zero Energy Ready Home.

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And if you want to know what kind of levels we end up with, that's what we see here. We see these blue bars, by climate zone, give a general indication of the typical values at which a home will qualify for Zero Energy Ready Home, in terms of the efficiency, the HERS Index. Generally we'll tell builder partners, you're going to be in the mid-50s, sometimes a bit higher, sometimes a bit lower. And you can see from those little text boxes that floated in, depending on which version of ENERGY STAR we're talking about, it's going to be 10, 15, maybe 5 points lower than ENERGY STAR.

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By and large, though, there's 200,000-plus homes each year with HERS ratings. The average is in the low 60s, typically. So most of our builders don't have a challenge in reaching the HERS target required by our program. Just a few quick examples. An affordable housing project in Florida with a HERS 49.

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A cold-climate production builder without PV scoring typically with HERS values in the low 40s, with PV down near 0.

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And then out in the Southwest, a hot-dry climate, again a production builder, HERS value in the high 40s. So each of these homes easily qualify for the efficiency side of the Zero Ready Home program based on those HERS values.

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And just a final look at how we can trade off. The program does have some mandatory specs, which we'll talk about, but with regards to the target home, we don't have to follow all the target home specs. There's the ability to do more, to do less, to trade off, and really optimize the design according to the builders' and the designers' ideas and preferences. So you can see in this quick example, anything on the right-hand column, that's our design home and all the specs. Anything we see in red is a little bit less efficient than the target home would have called for. So you can see the air infiltration as modeled by the target home is 2.5 ACH50. In our design home, it was a bit higher at 3. Anything in green for that design home is a bit more efficient than the target home specs. You can see the duct leakage is tighter. We can see our SEER rating for the air conditioning is higher, at 16.5, whereas the target home is 15. And you can work on down the list. But at the bottom we see that the target home for Zero Ready was looking for a HERS value of 58 or lower, and with the trading-off that occurred in this design example, the design home is 57. So we can check the box on the efficiency side that this home would meet Zero Energy Ready Home. Just one example but hopefully it conveys the idea that there's a lot of tradeoff capability in meeting the HERS target.

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That's the HERS value and the efficiency. Next, we'll take a look at that second box, which is the building enclosure.

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As Sam mentioned, we want these homes to make good on that value proposition that they meet next-generation codes. In terms of the envelope, we want the building envelope to at least meet 2012 or 2015 IECC insulation levels. The way we get there and the way 99 percent of our projects get there is they use a UA tradeoff calculation, which is done by the rating software. And it allows us to meet the overall UA that would be required by the code, along the way allowing for some tradeoffs in different parts of the envelope against each other.

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Using climate zone 3 again as an example, here are the R-value levels that we're typically looking at. R-20 walls, or 13+5. Up in the ceiling, R-38. Floor systems, R-19 or higher. So again, really attainable levels for most of our builder partners that are coming in this program.

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In case you're wondering how do you check compliance, if you just want to get a feel for a model and whether it would meet the '12/'15 insulation levels, all the rating software, all the HERS rating software, has these reports. And they can check UA compliance. So with a couple keystrokes, an energy rater can easily say, yea, this home checks the box and it meets the '12 or the '15 energy code UA compliance for the building envelope. And I'm using 2012 and 2015 interchangeably because they in fact have the exact same R-value requirements in both editions of the IECC.

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And then a quick note on the other component of the envelope: The windows are required to be ENERGY STAR level of windows, which in climate zone 3, keeping up with that example, is simply a window with a U-value of 0.3 and a solar heat gain no greater than 0.25. Again, we talked daily with our partners; this is by and large not a sticking point. These are good windows but highly cost-effective and widely available in the marketplace.

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Then these next four boxes, we're sort of going to just shoot by them, because by virtue of this home being part of ENERGY STAR and Indoor airPLUS, all these items are already taken care of. We have an independent verifier doing the field verification and the plan review. The ENERGY STAR water management checklist is being completed. We have an HVAC quality installation with whole-house mechanical ventilation by virtue of the ENERGY STAR cert. And then this last box up here at the top of the Indoor airPLUS column, clearly we have a comprehensive A-to-Z Indoor airPLUS package because the home is already Indoor airPLUS-certified. So all those pieces are already taken care of with Indoor airPLUS as a starting point. So really, there's just a few remaining steps, first of which is this optimized duct location.

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So a real quick example. You can do the math in your head or you can just follow along. But we show this comparison of which system would you rather have, that high-end furnace with a very inefficient duct system, or a very standard, fairly low-efficiency furnace but with a very highly efficient duct system. And if we look at the total system efficiency of those two options, it turns out that the low-efficiency furnace is actually the better option, because it's coupled with a very high-performance distribution system. In reality, in a Zero Ready home we're going to get the best of both. We'll get a high-efficiency mechanical system with a high-efficiency distribution system. But we show that just to point out that as these homes are approaching Zero Energy Ready, we keep looking for the weak spots in the system. And if we're locating ductwork up in a 140-degree attic with nothing but R-8 insulation around it, that becomes a weak spot that we want to address. And another item that we just note here at the bottom: Many of our builders are using variable-speed cooling equipment. In this example, it's SEER 21. One of the Building America research teams, Florida Solar Energy Center, has done research in this area. And because variable-speed systems operate longer, the air that's traveling through the ducts has a longer residence time. In fact, SEER 21 they found is twice the run time of the SEER 13 system. And when our ducts are in conditioned space, the SEER 21 offers major savings of 40 percent over 13 SEER. However, if instead our ducts are located in unconditioned space like an attic, you can see the savings that we're getting from that SEER 21 are really undercut, down to 27 percent. So you take a big hit on our investment in that high-efficiency SEER 21 cooling system, all due to the location of the ductwork.

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So with that being said, we have a suite of solutions that really meet all different building styles, foundation types that are shown here, that give us a wide array of locations -- we call optimized duct locations -- which are permissible under the program. And I won't spend much time ticking through these. We have a lot more detail if you're interested. But if we follow any one of these strategies, the design will uphold the efficiency of the distribution system so it doesn't become this penalty that's built into really the lifetime of the house.

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There are a few exceptions on the ducts. A little bit of duct length is permitted to escape the building envelope, 10 feet or less. Then if we have jump ducts traveling through an attic, they're permissible as long as they're fully air-sealed at all the joints.

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Next item is what we call efficient components and hot water distribution.

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If you've done any energy modeling or analysis of homes recently, these pie charts might look familiar. A home 10, 15 years ago, heating and cooling were over half of the loads. That's really changed because of better envelopes driven by codes. So now, heating and cooling are a much smaller slice of that pie. And we can see that yellow slice, which is lighting and appliances, becoming a bigger, bigger portion. Even as the overall budget is smaller, lighting / appliances are more and more significant.

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So it makes sense just to use really simple, off-the-shelf solutions to tamp down the energy consumption of things like the refrigerator, the dishwasher, the clothes washer. Those need to be ENERGY STAR-certified appliances when they're provided by the builder. In terms of fans, bath ventilation fans and ceiling fans, same thing, ENERGY STAR-certified. And in terms of the bath fans, it's efficient motors as well as quiet operation, so homeowners are more likely to use them. Lighting -- 80 percent of the fixtures or lamps are ENERGY STAR-certified LEDs or CFL. And then lastly, we'll talk for a few minutes about another weak link that can remain in the home if we don't look at it hard, is the hot water distribution.

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So probably all of us have lived in a home like this at one time or another. It's the typical trunk-and-branch system that can be fairly long, and as a result, we can store a whole lot of hot water between the source and the furthest fixture. So when we heat up water and then we're done in the hot water event, that hot water just sits there and the heat's dissipated and essentially lost. And at the same time when we want to start a new hot water event like a shower, it can take one, one and a half, two or more minutes for the hot water to arrive. There's all kinds of waste in that system in terms of both water -- it goes right down the drain -- as well as water-heating energy.

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So again, there's an off-the-shelf solution to really optimize the system and do a better job. And it simply calls for, between our hot water source, which is typically a water heater but it could be a hot water recirc loop, between the source and furthest fixture, let's lay out the plumbing and size the plumbing so we don't have any more than a half-gallon of water which is stored between the source and that fixture.

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And we really have three core strategies, which allow us to do this in really any type of floorplan or housing design. The first is simply a core plumbing layout, where we've consolidated all the wet areas against a wet wall. And by virtue of doing that, we have short runs and we have very limited amount of hot water stored in the piping. So you can see the plumbing zone here on this floorplan.

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Another really common strategy our partners leverage is a manifold, where we use a home-run manifold system like you see here, with either half-inch lines or in some cases three-eighths-inch lines, to route a home-run line out to each fixture. And because of that narrower diameter, we have much less hot water stored. There's less energy; there's less water waste. Another good solution.

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And then the third strategy is the demand pumping system, where we have some kind of sensor or control, which indicates there is indeed a demand for hot water. Or there's a high likelihood of that demand. Then we have a return line, which, until the hot water arrives it sends the lukewarm or cold water back to the water heater, and we have a demand pump, which is powering that flow. And so what the system does, it accelerates the arrival of hot water to the end-use fixture, which is being used. And we also call out that we do restrict, or we don't allow systems that are based only on a temp sensor or only on a timer. Both of those control methodologies tend to use hot water in a very convenient way -- it's very likely you'll get hot water quickly -- but on the downside, the homeowner could be out of town for two weeks or three weeks, and that kind of control logic is still going to keep recirculating water through that loop. Because it's only watching temperature, it's only watching a timer, and it's not looking for some demand indicator. So within our program we look for on-demand hot water recirc solutions, of which there are many products in the marketplace.

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And then just to verify this, in the field, it's a pretty simple test. We have a bucket marked at 0.6 gallons, and if we have a hot water loop, we'll prime that loop to get hot water flowing through the recirc loop, if the design has such a a loop. And then we'll start the flow. And as soon as we start the flow, we use an infrared temp sensor to get the temperature of that flow. And then we'll keep the water on, and by the time we've collected 0.6 gallons, we take a final temperature measurement of that flow. And what we want to see is that, over the course of pouring out that 0.6 gallons, we've seen a rise in the flow of at least 10 degrees Fahrenheit. And if the system's been designed to meet the spec of no more than a half-gallon of stored volume, it should be able to meet that +10 increase in temperature.

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And then last core piece we'll talk about here is really what makes the home Zero Energy Ready. And we have a PV-ready checklist that is required in these high-solar-resource areas of the country that you see identified here in orange or yellow. And then elsewhere, from a national program standpoint, PV-ready checklist is encouraged. These areas have fewer solar resources, so it may or may not make sense to make homes PV-ready. That being said, we have many partners in the Midwest, in the Northeast, and elsewhere that choose to implement the PV-ready checklist, regardless of whether it's a core requirement for them.

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There's a few commonsense exceptions to the PV-ready checklist. If there's extreme shading from buildings or tall trees or simply there's not enough south-facing roof area available to add PV, those are exceptions. A home could still be labeled under the program, but the PV-ready checklist doesn't have to be followed if those exceptions would apply. And then we also have some multifamily building allowances, if projects fall into that category.

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Here we see the actual provisions themselves. We want to run a conduit down from the future panel area, from the attic down to the electric panel. We want to dedicate an area near the panel to install the inverter and the system components in the future. Want to have a conduit from that location over to the electric panel. The panel itself should have a dedicated circuit breaker or a slot to incorporate one in the future to tie in with solar. And then lastly, we want the documentation of the roof structural rating, dead load and live load, to be handed over to the homeowner so they have those in hand and then don't need to pay an engineer to get that information at some point in the future. So that's really the entirety of the PV-ready checklist.

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And looking at the time here, I'm going to jump through the recognition slides pretty quickly because Sam, I think you covered most if not all of these in describing some of the resources available.

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But our partners are working in a crowded marketplace. But by virtue of being involved with Zero Ready, we're also involved with ENERGY STAR and Indoor airPLUS.

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And so we have a really well-designed suite of recognition resources available for our partners. Starting with some basic components, like the certificate that shows each home, which is rated under the program, a graphical representation of the HERS Index. It gives the rating details like the street address, and a signature from Sam Rashkin of DOE on the certificate. And each and every home that's certified has a certificate generated by the rating software. It's available for each home under the program.

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And while the program and the brand for the program don't have the recognition of some of these household name brands like you see here on this slide, really importantly what it does offer our builder partners is instead of having to insist that I build energy-efficient homes, "trust me," I build high-performance homes, our partners are really able to leverage our brand as an independent voice of authority, which can really set them apart in a crowded marketplace.

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You don't have to trust me as a builder; you can look at the DOE Zero Ready seal and brand on this home, and all the marketing collateral DOE has about homes certified under the program.

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Here's a great example of a builder, one of our leading builders, New Town Builders, now Thrive, in the Colorado market, leveraging the brand for just that purpose.

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I think Sam showed a similar slide earlier and remarked at a NASCAR effect of certifications that you see here on this home really relates that there's some trusted performance. There's something different and special about a home with these certifications compared to a run-of-the-mill home that lacks this third-party certification.

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Builders are recognized on our builder locator tool, which is on the website, with all kinds of information about each partner, located in their builder profile, including contact information and the number of homes that they've certified under the program.

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Here we see the fact sheet we looked at earlier. It's custom-brandable, so it can have the look and feel of the builder. It contains those very simple yet powerful bars that convey a whole lot of information in an at-a-glance kind of way that any potential buyer can easily relate to.

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Here's the brochure. Again, this is custom-brandable, so our builder partner logo is automatically populated into that white space, as you see there.

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We have the Tour of Zero, which Sam spent some time showcasing earlier, which is a really critical, public-facing recognition opportunity for our builders to really showcase themselves as leaders. The best of the best.

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We have this drop-in messaging. We get lots of requests from our builder partners -- can I get a quote to use in my press release, on my website, at the parade of homes, etcetera? It's perfectly understandable; they are leading partners in our program. We'd like to give them that collateral.

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But better yet, we have an off-the-shelf, drop-in messaging list. It's a dozen or so quotes. They're pre-approved. The partner drops in their name and is able to leverage language attributed to DOE, and describing how remarkable homes under this program are and the builders behind those homes are.

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Here you can see a quote here down at the bottom of this page on the Thrive Home Builders' site: "Zero-ready homes are the future of U.S. housing, and innovators like (fill in the blank -- Thrive Home Builders) are leading the way for the entire industry." The quote goes on from there.

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Here's another look, another drop-in messaging quote from that prior site. Again, the builder has these available in their toolkit, so they're able to leverage them, really within just a few minutes, and use them in their communication resources.

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And then we have a homeowner manual for the after-the-sale relationship that really reinforces to homeowners what is different and special about your Zero Energy Ready Home.

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It tells in a storybook style, in very simply lay terms, about the seven core systems in the home, what's special about them, and what's the benefit of each of these systems. It's very light on technical jargon, but it does include a little tip for each of these systems to help a homeowner better understand how to maintain and use the home.

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We talked earlier about the recognition with the awards. Huge opportunity for our partners to apply for and leverage a national award. Currently the HIA award application window is open right now until June 15 for the 2018 cycle.

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And you can see here, this is Cobblestone Homes. They market themselves as Michigan's most-respected home builder. And then after winning a housing award, they wanted to leverage that to really help cap off their story in differentiating themselves.

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Another award-winning builder, Brightleaf Homes, has this as part of their homeowner displays when they go to the local home shows. They highlight the fact that they are an HIA winner.

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I'll close just with a couple last slides here.

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Getting started is really simple for builders coming from ENERGY STAR and Indoor airPLUS. The rater that you work with, it'll be the same rating network. If they're not familiar yet with Zero Energy Ready Home, we have an orientation webinar where in the span of 45 minutes, they can get up to speed with the program. It's the same modeling software that raters are using for ENERGY STAR and Indoor airPLUS. And it's the same plan review and site visit protocol. Raters will look at a few additional things for Zero Energy Ready, like the hot water distribution, but the number of site visits and the process is very much the same.

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Process, very similar to become a partner. I'm going to show you the website where that happens online in a minute. No need to pre-register projects, and no program fees for project registration. Integrated design, it makes a lot of sense, just the same way it makes sense for ENERGY STAR and Indoor airPLUS. Plus, the rater does a plan review, conducts a site inspection, and then once the project's certified, the rater simply sends that compliance report, which is generated by the modeling software, they'll send that to DOE or the RESNET building registry. And once all that happens, the builder continues to be credited with additional certified homes on the DOE website. So potential buyers and others can see the level of activity that builder has.

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So with that, I will leave you with the website. You see it here. And sort of the gateway to becoming a partner, taking a look at the program specs, kick the wheels and look a little bit toward Zero, that happens here. And then we have over two dozen recorded webinars that cover sales, cover marketing, and they cover a variety of technical topics where you can get a deeper dive on different aspects of the program specs. With that, I'll wrap it up. Alex, I'll leave it to you as the quarterback here to see if you want to cover questions or wrap it up in the interest of time.

Alex Krowka:
Alright, well, thank-you, Jamie, and thank-you, Sam. This is great information, great presentation. I know we are short on time but I'm just going to give everyone 15 seconds or so in case they have any questions. If you do, feel free to type them in to the chat box, and we can address them. Alternatively, feel free to email any questions to me if you think of them afterward. We do appreciate everyone joining us today, taking this time out of your busy schedules. We do hope that you decide to build to Zero Energy Ready, and look forward to everyone becoming a partner. So at the moment, it looks like no one has any immediate questions. So I'm going to go ahead and shut this down. Thank-you, everyone, and I hope you enjoy your three-day weekend. Alright, bye.