Here is the text version of the webinar Tour of Zero and Innovation Partner, presented in October 2016. Watch the presentation.

Ally Waranowski:
First presentation slide:

Hi, everyone. First, happy Halloween! Second, welcome to the DOE Zero Energy Ready Home's Innovation Partnerships webinar. We're really excited that you can join us today for this update on the Zero Energy Ready Home program, highlighting new features you can take advantage of as an Innovation partner, as well as the Tour of Zero. This presentation will focus around building product manufacturers, associations, utilities, lenders, and other groups supporting high-performance homes. The presenter is Sam Rashkin, chief architect of the Building Technologies Office of the Department of Energy and director of the Zero Energy Ready Home program. My name is Ally Waranowski. 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 throughout the webinar, however, we do invite you to ask questions through the application in the GoToWebinar program. We will be monitoring these questions throughout the webinar, so if any come up, we'll definitely answer along the way. Otherwise, we'll cover questions at the end of the webinar. This session is being recorded, so if you would like to revisit it afterward, we will be posting the webinar recording on our Zero Energy Ready Home resources site. Please allow some time for the recording to be transcribed and added to the DOE YouTube page. Now I'm going to hand it over to Sam Rashkin to get us started.

Sam Rashkin:
Hey, thank-you very much, Ally. Welcome, everyone. This is an important discussion for us. We need Innovation partners like you on the line and those of you related to Innovation partners to help us inspire Americans to seek the home of the future today. We think it's in everyone's interest, and we think we have a real clear set of actions you can take to help make this happen. So let me get things started.

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And for some of you, it will be a review, but I always like to cover the six complete systems that really define the Zero Energy Ready Home label and what it means. And we start with an advanced enclosure that even a code home brings for market today. And we bring it up to an optimized enclosure system, one built to the next-generation code. Then we add water protection around the entire home -- roof, walls, foundation, site, even inside where walls are adjoining areas that get wet. We absolutely know it's imperative to keep our homes protected from water with all this additional insulation and air-sealing. They can't dry. You cannot let them get wet. And then we need an optimized comfort system. These optimized enclosure homes have very, very small heating / cooling loads. And optimized comfort systems know how to manage the reduced air flow of the longer swing seasons and just know what to do with a completely different type of enclosure. And then we need complete indoor air quality system. These homes are so much more airtight and therefore need to have a very proactive solution to managing indoor air quality. It's no longer extra credit. And then fifth, we need efficient components throughout the house. A complete system. Because the home now, with the optimized enclosure, is really positioned to be hardly any loads if we also make the equipment efficient, since they now represent more than half the energy use by the home. And the last part is with all these reduced loads and reduced energy use, simple low-cost / no-cost solar-ready construction details can make the house ready for solar any time in the future with minimal cost and disruption. And we actually consider this a home to the power of zero, and our label helps consumers know they get these six complete systems anytime they look for that logo. So that's what we bring to the market. This in fact is our product.

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And what I'd like to talk to you about is the prize. Now getting to the market 30 percent of the homes to this level, we realized the potential for a third of a trillion dollars of utility savings, 120,000 persistent new jobs, which comes from 3 million job years of work, and almost 3 million metric tons of carbon emissions removed from the atmosphere. So there's this really big benefit for everyone, for us to achieve substantial market penetration with Zero Energy Ready Homes by 2025.

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So what's the opportunity for us? It's right now to leverage the concomitant interests to foster consumer interest in Zero Energy Ready Homes. Our team at DOE is working hard to engage builders and HERS raters, but we need you, the industry, as well, to help us, and we do believe it's in your interest. And so I want to talk about that. Why promote the Tour of Zero? Why be an Innovation partner? For the four categories -- manufacturers and associations, utilities, and lenders.

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And so starting with manufacturers and associations, we believe that as the marketplace moves to more Zero Energy Ready Homes, your products have more exposure. Consumers have more exposure to your highest-performing products, the products that make you look the best. Additionally, as the market moves to Zero Energy Ready Homes, you're moving to a greater level of consumer satisfaction with your products and services. And this is because they'll be installed properly in Zero Energy Ready Homes, and very importantly, they'll be part of complete systems. Your products work better when everything else around them is engineered to deliver a different consumer experience. And then lastly, be recognized as a leader helping provide all these impressive benefits that are available to our nation. So that's our view for manufacturers and associations.

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For utilities the reason to promote Zero Energy Ready Homes and the Tour of Zero is that this is an opportunity to help you minimize peak demand. So you can get the maximum reduction of peak demand with Zero Energy Ready Homes. Secondly, by getting the market to this level of performance, you have the opportunity for a whole new set of services that you can provide, in terms of solar energy, energy storage, and advanced controls and diagnostics, demand-side reduction system, demand response systems. There are so many new services that work very closely with high-performance homes and with this kind of marketplace, you'll be ready to take advantage of that.

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And then lastly, for lenders, one, your homebuyers are buying your product, money, to buy homes, will have much higher satisfaction with the homes they buy. Again, this will be a whole new, different level of consumer experience. And very importantly for lenders, you'll be vested in lower-risk homes. These homes have lower cost of ownership, they have impressive reduction of risk associated with moisture and durability problems, and because they're built to future codes and beyond, they're future-ready. So their value in the future is likely to be much greater. So you're vested in a product that will hold its value. So we think it's a great opportunity for lenders to engage the marketplace, and Zero Energy Ready Homes, as well.

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So how do we see you engaging, being part of this whole supply chain that we have for Zero Energy Ready Homes? Well, it all begins with a product, the label that I just showed you, and the six building blocks that are part and parcel to each and every home that receives that level. So that's the product. And then we need a distribution network. And that's where we believe you, the manufacturers, associations, utilities, lenders, could come in. We need a support network to bring this label to the marketplace in addition to DOE. Then we have our sales force. That's the HERS raters, the Building America teams, that are out there working with builders every day, that can engage them on the Zero Energy Ready Homes. Then we have our core customer, which are the builders, developers, the affordable housing providers, military housing providers -- all these different players that put homes on the ground are our core customer. They use the label directly. And the end customer is actually the homebuyer, the person living in the home that gets that different experience. And lastly, there's a transaction process, a whole different array of different professionals are involved in making this transaction happen, that in fact are a very key part of helping us get Zero Energy Ready to the marketplace: Realtors, appraisers, lenders, and insurers. So we see you, the distribution network, fitting in as a way for us to connect to the end customer. You have the ability through your very extensive network of outreach to help be a force for us to educate consumers about this home of the future that they can get today.

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So we want to start a campaign working with you as an Innovation partner to reach out to consumers. And we have two goals. One is to educate consumers, help them know more about the compelling value of Zero Energy Ready Home. This is a home that has, again, a superior experience at so many levels and we need to reach out and help consumers understand that improvement. Second, we need to showcase the Zero Energy Ready Home experience. Since it takes home ownership to a new level, it's easier to understand it when you see the empirical evidence that that's happening. And we have a lot of evidence that it is happening, so we want to work with you, our distribution network, to help get this experience out to consumers. These are our two goals.

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And I wanted to start with the education first. What are we educating consumers about? What is the simple core message that we want to convey to American homebuyers and homeowners about Zero Energy Ready Home? And here is where we did a lot of soul-searching in trying to think, what was our core message. And we knew we were more efficient, and we knew we were more comfortable, and we were more durable, more improvements to help protect against health issues. And we knew that we have more quality features attached to our homes. So we want the things that are better. But it's hard to make that a compelling single issue.

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And when we thought long and hard about what we're really doing, we realized what this label was doing was bringing the depth and breadth of experience and knowledge from the best experts in our nation to the American homeowner. It was in fact a label that brings the experts' choice and how they can find it. And what happens is that, really, Zero Energy Ready Home is taking the best practices and best technology recommendations from the hub of innovation for high-performance home research, the U.S. Department of Energy Building America program. There are over a dozen teams that have worked with this program, four national labs. There's an amazing amount of expertise from that program that's been leveraged to drive the technical requirements of this program. In addition we have polled hundreds and hundreds of experts in the marketplace about what home they would choose, between a code home, an ENERGY STAR® home, and a Zero Energy Ready Home. And it's almost unanimous that experts would choose at least a Zero Energy Ready Home if they were making their own choice. And this to us is a very powerful message. It's like if you had an Uncle Max, and Uncle Max was the best car mechanic in the world. And you loved your Uncle Max, and you were about to buy a car. And you asked him for guidance, what would he do if he was buying a car with this amount of money and these needs, and he then gave you that information. That's what we're doing for new housing. And so what I'd like to do is just walk you through the storyboard that basically is our message for educating consumers why they want a Zero Energy Ready Home.

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And it starts with the realization that a home is in fact the biggest purchase of a lifetime for so many households. And it also starts with the realization that once you build a home, it's often cost-prohibitive to go back and make major changes after you buy that home. You're kind of locked in. And that's why as consumers, we often feel overwhelmed. We know about the floorplan, locations, and the architecture. We can look and get a sense of the things we can see. We're really concerned about the things we can't see. The quality, the performance, how it will be living in that house. Well, now there's a place to go to get the expert guidance how to manage all those concerns. And the leading experts would always insist on a home that is Zero Energy Ready because they have seven must-have systems. And these seven systems are, each and every one, a must-have for a leading expert. First, a leading expert would always insist on optimized thermal protection -- a home built to the next-generation code cycle, built to meet and exceed those future requirements so that house is future-ready. Second, a leading expert would always insist on a complete whole-house water protection system. They know that water issues are one of the most significant challenges in homes. It disrupts home ownership more than almost any other issue. They want a house that's moisture-ready. Third, leading experts know that every home should have high-performance heating and cooling. That means it's both high-efficient equipment and it's professionally installed so it will meet all expectations. They know a home should be comfort-ready, particularly one that's high-performance. Fourth, every leading expert wants high-efficient components throughout the home. They know that these components typically come with improved performance, quality and durability, so they help make the home tech-ready. Fifth, leading experts would always insist on complete indoor air quality solutions. They know that they want all the requirements of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Indoor airPLUS program, which has developed a comprehensive suite of solutions to help protect health for you and your family. They want a house that's health-ready. And sixth, every leading expert would insist on solar-ready construction. It minimizes the cost and disruption of adding solar in the future. They want a house that's zero-ready. And lastly, every leading expert would want a home that has enhanced quality assurance. They know that there's a whole array of complexities involved in building homes. They want detailed checklists, inspections, third-party verification. They want to know that that home is being held accountable so it's performance-ready. And they also know that you can get all this completely improved homeowner experience at lower true cost, because even though the monthly mortgage may be a little bit higher for a Zero Energy Ready Home, the monthly utility bill is so much lower the effective true cost of ownership can be much less. And you can get all this by simply looking for a label, the Zero Energy Ready Home label. And lastly, we of course in our message to consumers want to help them find where to get more information. And that's the last part of our message. So this is the education, and this is provided through a two- to three-minute consumer video that explains these concepts very simply.

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So how do we now create empirical evidence to showcase the homeowner experience? And the way we start that process is by first recognizing leadership in the industry. We have something called the Housing Innovation Award program. And there, in that program, every year we recognize leading builders from the Zero Energy Ready Home program who are building an incredible array of homes all across the country in all different types of categories, from affordable housing, to single-family production to single-family -- to multifamily and to custom homes that are single-family and to custom homes that are spec and that are built for individual clients. So we recognize all this leadership that's out there, particularly homes that are really good designs that have a good marketing message, and that really do a good technical solution. And these homes are recognized each year, and then every one of these homes then goes into the Tour of Zero.

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And the way the Tour of Zero works is first we have a way for consumers to see the video we just mentioned and get this education. And know the story and context for what Zero Energy Ready Home means. Second, they can simply take a tour and see all these showcase of excellence and a completely different homeowner experience.

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So here, let's say if I click on the marine climate, I would get a list of homes in the marine climate, and I can page down, go through as many homes as we have here to see. And let me just show you, by example, how this works. I'll click on the very first home, Birch House, and the way the Tour works is there's a lot of content.

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And this shows you the complete content, if you could pull back from the screen. But what really happens is you start first with the image gallery.

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And the image gallery, you kind of do what most real estate websites would do. You take a tour of the home. You start on one side, you go around to another side, you go around to the back, and then you can go inside the homes. Here's the kitchen. You can look at the gallery space. You can look at some interior spaces. So it's just like any website. And even what we do, for those that want to see sometimes construction details, we'll showcase some of the innovation in the home. Here, by example, is a really advanced heat recovery ventilator system that is a great way of ensuring fresh air every day for you and your family. So the Tour they can take is just like most websites, but then they go down and can see the actual information about the house.

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And again, the thing we want to showcase first is the different consumer experience and the different builder experience. So here's a headline quote that says we've been blown away to how drastically different living in a high-performance home is compared to a code-minimum house. And then there's a longer quote from which the headline quote's taken, off on the left. Then you have basically the key stats in that home; they seem to be what many consumers want to know when they first see a home of interest. So you have the square footage, the number of bedrooms and floors, location, you have the HERS index score, which in this case the first home's a -9, which means it's below 0 -- it's net positive, if you will. And as a result, the monthly utility bill here is forecast as -$8. And that means that over 30 years, this house is about $83,000 cheaper to own. So these critical numbers -- and that's a very important thing to show, because it's an experience that no consumer that's coming from a traditional home will ever have seen before. It's a wow factor. It's completely amazing that you can have a house that actually pays you to live in the house. And then we have things people would like to see about the homes; in some cases we have videos, we have the list of features or innovations that are included in each home. With the list of innovations, the names have been changed to be consumer-friendly terminology instead of the jargon we normally use as professionals. So instead of "complete air-sealing," it's "complete draft protection." Instead of a "ventilation system," it's a "fresh air system." So you kind of change the terminology to be experience-based. If you want, you can go look at the floorplan. If you click on "More," you get the full details about the floorplan. And then you can go meet the builder, and that will take you to our locator tool feature for that builder, and you'll see his information, contact information, where they're located, and where they build.

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And then I'll show you one more example. of another builder, just so you get a sense of how these -- it's great to see these home after home examples and showcases of again a completely different consumer experience. So here's a home from the Southwest.

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And again, taking the Tour you can see, in this case, different ways this home can look. And you go inside and see what this home looks like inside. And what's really powerful about these images is they show that zero energy homes come in all sorts of different architectural styles and looks and feels. It's not like an automatic eclectic architectural solution.

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Just like in the other one, you have a quotation here that how impressed the homeowner was, and then a longer quote. You have the key stats. Again, you have the square footage, the HERS index score -- this one was also negative. In this case, the home's $114,000 less to own over a 30-year mortgage. It's a somewhat bigger home. Higher utility rates than in the Northwest. And then you have -- if you click on "Read more," this home has a four-page write-up about it you can get. As well as a list of key features and innovations that are included in the home. Again, a video, and again, the floorplan can be blown up for more detail. And then lastly, again, "Meet the builder," and you go to the web page for this builder on our locator tool, with the contact information, a link to their website, and a way for consumers to find builders that are truly doing a home at a higher level of performance. So you kind of get the feel for what the Tour of Zero is.

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And so, what we want to do right now is use that as a vehicle to start a national campaign, to educate consumers, and to showcase examples. So the goal is to inspire consumers to visit the home of the future today through the DOE Zero Energy Ready Home program, that consistently, consistently delivers those six modules plus quality performance. And the way we believe we can do that is with you, the distribution network for us: manufacturers, associations, utilities, and lenders. On the right is the button to take the Tour. There's also another button you can use that can be customized and put your logo in a bigger-sized button. So let me show you basically how this works.

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It begins by making a commitment to place the Tour button on at least three consumer-facing communications each year.

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And there are a number of choices. You can use websites, advertising, signage that you have in stores or other locations, and displays you may have at shows or on-site where you have your business. We leave it to the partners to pick out where they're going to use the Tour button. But again, three consumer-facing messages is what we're looking for, encouraging consumers to take the Tour.

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And so here's the SIPA website. They prominently feature Zero Energy Ready Homes.

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And you can kind of go in, and there's the button. This is the one I mentioned that can be customized, where you can put your logo, your company name or association is partnering with the DOE to bring homes of the future to families today. Take the Zero Energy Ready Home tour. Or you can use the noncustomizable button we showed you earlier.

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Here's another one with Mitsubishi. They say never leave home without Ready, Zero Energy Ready.

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And basically, as an Innovation partner, there are two big things we'd hope that you get besides your concomitant interests. You also associate yourself with housing innovation that's being promoted by the Department of Energy. And you'll be listed as an Innovation partner listing on our website, as well. So it's not just you saying you're a leader, but the Department of Energy recognizing your support to reach out to American consumers.

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So the big thing is, if this makes sense, how can we move forward and be an Innovation partner? And the first step is to become a partner. You go online, under "Join," there will be various options to become a partner. And Innovation partner is the one of interest for this particular program. Then you can access the web button, the Zero Energy Ready Home Tour of Zero web button -- one that's customizable or one that you simply just drop in to take the Tour. Then you want to develop a plan. It's really helpful for us to know and review with us where you're going to place the Zero Energy Ready Home button, on which materials. And then enact that plan to place the button on websites, signage, displays, whatever it may be, and promote the Tour. And the last step is report progress. Let us know when it's placed and it helps us kind of track how effectively we were able to reach out to consumers. So it's a very easy process to engage and work with us.

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But if I was going to leave with you with one key message about all this, it's that your products are going to shine in the nation's best homes. The better American housing is built, the better American homeowners, consumers will respond to your products and services. And so we think it's in everyone's interest for us to get Americans living in homes that do so much more in terms of health, comfort, durability, quality. And so this is a truly great opportunity we believe to kind of team up on our shared interest.

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And so I'll leave you with this thank-you note, and say we're so much appreciate any help you can provide us as a partner. More information is provided at the website that's listed here. And you can always email us for any specific information. So this is an intentionally short walk-through to showcase our Innovation partner opportunity to work with American organizations. And I will now take any questions that we may have. Thank-you very much for attending.