Zero Energy Ready Home Orientation Webinar (Text Version)

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Here is the text version of the Zero Energy Ready Home orientation webinar, September 2018. Watch the webinar.

Alex Krowka:
Presentation cover slide:

Hi, everyone. Welcome to DOE's Zero Energy Ready Home orientation webinar. We're really excited that you can join us today for this overview of the Zero Energy Ready Home program, including the business case and how to be recognized by the DOE as an industry partner. Our presenters today are ZERH program staff, Sam Rashkin, chief architect of the Building Technologies Office and program director for ZERH, and Jamie Lyons of Newport Partners, who is the technical director of the program. My name is Alex Krowka. I'm the coordination support for the program, and I'll be covering some general notes on webinar housekeeping. All attendees will be in listen-only mode, however, we do invite you to ask questions throughout the session in the questions section of the GoTo Webinar program. We'll monitor these throughout the webinar, and after the presentation, we'll have some time to go over your questions. 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 to do this, as it does take a little bit to be posted. We will notify everyone once everything is uploaded to the website, so you don't have to worry about coming back and checking. I'm going to hand it over to Sam Rashkin to go ahead and get this webinar started. Take it away, Sam.

Sam Rashkin:
OK, thank-you, Alex, and welcome, everyone. This is the orientation training. If you've not had the opportunity to take a full-day Zero Energy Ready Home training class, this will be the training you're required to take if you're a partner. This is about a one-hour overview. I'll be teaming up with my partner in crime, Jamie Lyons, who's the technical coordinator, and this should help you fully understand the basics for Zero Energy Ready Home.

First slide:
First of all, if you are a partner, congratulations. By constructing DOE Zero Energy Ready Homes, first and foremost, you're in a select group of builders. In fact, the top 1 percent of builders in the country meeting the federal government's most rigorous guidelines for excellence in home performance. The energy-efficient performance of your homes will be best in class, along with comfort, health, safety, durability, and quality. Secondly, you also will be in a position to provide unprecedented value to your customers. In addition to substantial energy savings, almost all aspects of living in the home will be at a substantially higher level for your buyers. And lastly, this is an opportunity to truly differentiate your business from the competition and be a leader in the industry. So congratulations. Let's take you through the agenda for this course.

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And we're going to break it into six sections. I'm going to cover sections 1 and 2, what is Zero Energy Ready Home, and why Zero Energy Ready Home. I'll hand it off to Jamie to go over the program specs, in fact, how it's an easy step from ENERGY STAR® to Zero Energy Ready Home. I'll come back and pick up on the marketing resources that help you translate the value of Zero Energy Ready Home. And back to Jamie to clean up the last two sections on technical resources that help make compliance much easier, and how to leverage your partnership.

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So let's begin with section 1, what is Zero Energy Ready Home.

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And it begins by first acknowledging this new housing industry reality that's taken shape over the last 30 years. And what it means there is that the codes have gotten much more rigorous. In this graph, on the vertical axis, is the energy use index. It's a metric that we don't have to go into to too much detail, but the lower the index the more rigorous the energy performance because there's less energy used. And on the horizontal scale, you see years from 1970 through present. And what's obvious by looking at the graph is that there's a very profound trend down. In fact, if you look from 2006 to 2012, the codes have gotten nearly 40 percent more rigorous, and that's a substantial jump in performance. What should be most significant from the new reality perspective is that we are now in what I consider the risk zone, where homes built today have a lot of additional technical challenges that have to be addressed to ensure we do no harm. And let's look at three called the most critical risks that come along for the ride once we go to very super-insulated insulated and airtight enclosures.

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Let's start with risk No. 1. And it's more wetting potential. So there's a warm side and a cold side of an enclosure. In cold climates, the cold side will be the outside. In hot climates, the cold side will be the inside. So these can flip around, but in thermal dynamic principles, we know heat / air flow go from more to less. So the less-efficient enclosure has a lot of thermal flow and air flow, and will go through the assembly with less insulation and less airtightness. With a much more efficient enclosure, there's a lot less thermal flow and air flow going through the enclosure. The reason that's so significant is that we're now creating a very cold surface, a much colder surface, on the inside facing the cavity. If it's the outside, it'll be the inside of the sheathing. If it's the inside of the home, it'll be the inside of the drywall. But with that colder surface, we increase the wetting potential. And what makes this such a big challenge, we've also reduced the drying potential since there's less heat going through the assembly. So we have much, much more risk to manage when it comes to moisture. And it's critical to keep bulk moisture out of the assemblies.

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Risk No. 2 deals with comfort and the comfort challenges. Again, we have a lot less thermal flow and air flow going through the much more efficient enclosure, and what that means is where you have much bigger heating and cooling loads in a less-efficient enclosure, along with larger air flows and much shorter swing seasons, when we get to very, very well-insulated and airtight assemblies, now we have much, much smaller loads. And along with that, you get much, much less air flow and much, much longer swing seasons. And that's so significant because as an industry and as we look at the basic infrastructure for heating and cooling system installations, we haven't addressed a lot of principles and installation requirements that would ensure that systems work when they're low-load systems.

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And then risk No. 3 has to do with the indoor air quality. Again, with a lot less air flow going through the more-efficient enclosure, we're getting a lot less natural dilution. So we have to manage the air quality to a much higher degree in a more-efficient enclosure. And that setting helps us understand what we do when we approach Zero Energy Ready Home. We really make a very comprehensive set of building blocks to address these challenges.

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So Zero Energy Ready Home really equals risk management. The starting point is the advanced enclosure you get just if you build a home to the minimum code. Again, the codes have gotten so much stronger that even a minimum-code home has a very good enclosure. Good levels of insulation and airtightness. What we say with the Zero Energy Ready Home program, let's manage the risk of a home becoming outdated by doing an optimum enclosure built to whatever is the latest energy code already in the books scheduled for future adoption. It makes so much sense not to build a home that will be obsolete in three or four years. And so, in most cases with Zero Energy Ready Home, you might be doing more insulation, a little slightly better window, and maybe a little more airtightness, to optimize the enclosure. And in so doing, you manage the risk that your home will become, again, obsolete in the near future. The second thing you do is you want to also make sure all the components inside the home are now energy-efficient. The reason for that is once the enclosure is so rigorous, all the components inside the home account for more than half the energy use of the home. So in other words, to achieve high energy-efficient levels of performance, you also have to be very comprehensive, using efficient appliances, lighting, fans, equipment, throughout the house. Together the optimized enclosure and the efficient components equal a very comprehensive approach to high, efficient performance.

OK, now let's move on and manage those three risks we talked about just before. First, let's have a comprehensive water protection system. That points on complete water protection system, since the wetting potential is so much greater, and the drying potential is so much lower, in an advanced enclosure. Next, let's ensure comfort. First and foremost, let's get the ducts inside a conditioned space. These low-load homes are the least able to manage the inefficiency of putting your cooling system in an oven, a 140-degree attic, and your heating system in a freezer, a 20-degree attic, or a crawlspace. And so we want to get the heating and cooling ducts in an optimized location. And secondly, let's make sure that we have strategies for what we do during the longer swing seasons to manage moisture or we're not going to benefit from the indirect dehumidification from air conditioning that normally would occur during the swing seasons, in a less-efficient enclosure home. And also, let's make sure that we are much more rigorous about sizing the duct systems and ensuring air flow from room to room, because the air flow is so much less. And lastly, let's do a comprehensive indoor air quality system in our home that includes source control keeping contaminants out of the home, either through building materials that don't include them in the first place, or techniques to block them from getting in through the assemblies. And then let's have effective dilution or whole-house ventilation to further remove contaminants. And lastly, let's have high-capture filtration so that we remove particulates in the airstream going through the heating and cooling system. These three systems comprise high-performance solutions to manage those three risks that we just talked about. And lastly, the home is so efficient and so high-performance, it makes sense to make it solar-ready. The loads are so small, the energy use in these homes is so small, it would take a very small solar system to offset most or all the energy use remaining. And more importantly, solar costs are going down so substantially, it makes so much sense to position the house so it's ready for solar with minimal or no disruption or cost penalty. In fact, the solar-ready details make the house zero-ready. We call this a home to the power of zero. And what Zero Energy Ready Home does is it gives the consumer a simple logo to look for to know they get these six building blocks that create so much value for them as a homeowner. And it's as simple as looking for the label.

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Very importantly, what Zero Energy Ready Home also equals is a path to a really exciting future. Where housing is going and the performance and the quality of living it's going to give is really exciting. What we envision for the future is the foundation for Zero Energy Ready Home is going to also be able to look to the future with homes that have battery charging, disaster resilience, and have on-board diagnostics for all systems, so you do not have failures without having warnings ahead of time. The homes will be grid-interactive so they operate at peak performance. We'll also look for natural comfort design systems that further make these homes live better. There will be comprehensive indoor air quality measures like we talked about. All these details will be wrapped up and integrated with electric vehicles so homes can live and work with all these different systems and deliver a truly outstanding experience for homeowners. A really exciting place, where we're going as we move down the path to even more high-performance homes.

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OK. So this brings me up to the second section, which is why Zero Energy Ready Home.

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And so I want to talk first about the consumer business case. And very simply, from all these building blocks that we just discussed, the outcome is that the homeowner gets an outstanding living experience that's so far above what we've seen traditionally in homes. We're taking to a whole new level the health-readiness of homes. The comfort we've taken to a whole new level of satisfaction for homeowners. The extra protection for moisture risk and other kinds of concerns homeowners have. The extra quality with additional inspections, testing, and verification. And all the enhanced value, knowing the home is built to future expectations and will better stand the test of time. And from the cost perspective, we get all this at a lower expense. And that's because the monthly cash flow is positive, or easily the energy savings every month can exceed the increase in the mortgage for the small cost to make the house achieve Zero Ready certification. Additional benefits will include likely reductions in maintenance costs and additional health cost or health expense reductions anticipated with all the improvements in indoor air quality. This is a very compelling, more-for-less consumer business case.

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On the builder side, they get to deliver to their buyers a superior homeowner experience. And in the age of consumer experience business where you have to deliver outstanding customer satisfaction with your products and five-, and four-, three-star ratings becoming standard expectations of the marketplace, you're in a position to do that. And as we just discussed, lower their ownership costs. So you're going to increase your buyer satisfaction, and reduce your liability for customer service costs, and also you're going to have an additional risk management strategy through the third-party verification that comes along with certifying each home to Zero Energy Ready Home. And then third, we talked about the substantial market differentiation, putting your company and your homes in the top 1 percent of the nation. And enabling yourself to leverage a whole new sales force -- your buyers, who once they have this superior experience become a great ambassador for your product. And then lastly in terms of differentiation, homebuyers are going to be so much more informed at an exponentially higher rate, as more and more content about home performance reaches the marketplace. So there you are in terms of your business case for builders.

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And lastly, one of reasons DOE is so excited is from a societal perspective also there are compelling benefits. Just our simple analysis of projected results by 2030 show approximately $150 billion of utility bill savings that can be put back into the economy and have additional benefits. A million job-years of work, and over 1,000 million metric tons of carbon emissions removed for cleaner air and cleaner water.

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So those are the business cases. But also what I want to speak to, for a moment here, is the leadership opportunity. Already these are the states that have certified Zero Energy Ready Homes, and it's growing at a very fast clip. For the last three years, Zero Energy Ready Home certifications have doubled each of the last three years.

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In addition, other census counts of zero-energy homes in the nation show tremendous growth in the number of homes that are zero-energy and zero-energy-ready. In fact, 2015 to 2017, 100 percent growth.

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Another independent study showed 75 percent growth from 2016 to 2017 alone.

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In addition to that, other surveys done across the industry show tremendous interest on the part of builders. In 2015 and 2017, 21 and 29 percent respectively were building Zero Energy Ready Homes, and by 2019, next year, 44 percent of builders reporting on the survey expect to build zero-energy or zero-energy ready homes. So here's a clear signal where the industry's going.

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And we also can look at just what's happening in terms of policy and leadership at the government levels. Mayors from 19 cities around the world have already signed pledges to ensure new buildings operate at net zero by 2030 and all buildings by 2050. And this number of cities is expected to grow and make similar commitments.

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In addition, states are already starting to enact zero-energy codes. California's code is well-known and set to take effect in 2020 for residential buildings, 2030 for commercial buildings. Oregon has a zero-energy code written to an executive order by the governor for 2023. Rhode Island has a stretch code that already approximates zero-energy-ready performance. So already we're seeing that the states themselves and the cities and communities are taking substantial efforts and commitments to get to zero-energy buildings in their communities and their states. So this is the future.

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And with that, I'm going to hand off to Jamie to walk you through the program specs and show you how easy a lift it can be to get from ENERGY STAR.

Jamie Lyons:
Let's get started with the technical specs.

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I'd like to start off with a couple key takeaways I hope participants can appreciate as we walk through the specs. The first off is that the specifications really represent complete systems. In many cases the systems are made up of a lot of commonsense provisions that builders already are doing. So by doing them as a complete system, we have better assurance that everything that we need to pay attention to is getting done. Specs are also readily achievable. We're not going to look at anything that calls for an exotic technology with limited availability. Everything that we'll look at is off-the-shelf available technologies and methods. And then thirdly, everything we'll look at is also cost-effective today. And then the second key point is that reaching up to the level of the DOE Zero Energy Ready Home specs really isn't a big lift. Now, if we're starting at a code-minimum level -- that's what this orange book is, minimum energy code -- that can be a pretty big step. As you can see, we're missing a rung in that ladder. And that would be tough to go from a minimum-code level of building to Zero Energy Ready Homes, admittedly. However, for more advanced builders that are already integrating building science, that are already working with a HERS rater, those are typically going to be builders participating in ENERGY STAR Homes, which is a prerequisite to the DOE Zero Ready program. So for those builders you might notice it's a pretty modest lift to walk up from that one rung up to Zero Ready. So that'll be a theme that we see consistently as we look at the specifications.

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So just to set the stage quickly, Sam also showed this slide with the six key building blocks. And he sort of worked upwards from these to show what the benefits are of having these six key building blocks. I'll go the other way; I'll drill down just a little bit to show you sort of the core components that go into each of these six building blocks. We won't do a deep-dive. We have more resources available for that, should people want to look a little more deeply. But I'll show you really how simply designed each of these building blocks is.

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So first we'll start with that optimized enclosure. And we'll talk about, well, how do we get there? What goes into this optimized enclosure? Well, first off, as I mentioned a minute ago, ENERGY STAR Homes is a prerequisite for each and every Zero Energy Ready Home. So that's a big head-start on an optimized enclosure. It gets us things like the thermal bypass checklist and continuity of air barriers and good air-sealing. So that's a big part of our optimized enclosure. And then we want to add at least building to recent and current energy code insulation levels for the envelope. That's what we see here. We're going to meet or exceed 2012 and 2015 IECC envelope insulation. And then lastly, we don't want to forget about the glazing. So we specify as a provision that we'll have high-performance windows, which are based on the ENERGY STAR window criteria. They vary by climate zone, and that's spelled out in our program requirements. But by and large, those are very cost-effective, widely, widely available windows in the marketplace, which are good windows. They're not exotic and unusual, but they're a good foundation to get the optimized envelope system.

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Next we'll move over to the optimized comfort system and see, if we unpack that, how do we get there? Again, I think we'll start to see the same theme -- ENERGY STAR Homes gives us a big head-start. ENERGY STAR Homes requires things like the whole-house mechanical ventilation system. So we have that built in. It also requires things like accurate load sizing and accurate equipment sizing, so we're putting the appropriate size and type of HVAC equipment into the home. From there, we're going to do a little bit more on the duct location. As Sam mentioned, we don't want to put ducts in these really severe climates where they're going to lose a lot of their thermal energy and it'll just be wasted. So we want to put the ducts in an optimized location where they can have the chance to perform at a much higher level. And then also if we find ourselves in a hot and humid portion of the country, we're going to take advantage of additional systems to better manage relative humidity in the home. So those are the basic building blocks of the optimized comfort system.

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Third piece is that all-important indoor air quality system. As you might guess, we start with ENERGY STAR Homes. It gives us things like the whole-house ventilation I mentioned a minute ago, and some other provisions that give us a good start on indoor air quality. But we can do a bit more and luckily, we don't have to reinvent the wheel for that. There's a program called Indoor airPLUS, also out of the EPA, which is an off-the-shelf collection of a whole-building IAQ system. So Indoor airPLUS is also a prerequisite for the Zero Energy Ready Home program. And it sort of rounds out a complete system for good, sensible IAQ measures for homes. We list a few here. If we're building in a high-radon zone, then we take advantage of radon-resistant construction techniques, which limit the ability of radon to find its way into the house. We look at low-emission materials so we're not building a really well-air-sealed house, again putting high-chemical-emission products in there with carpets and paints and cabinetry; we're avoiding that. Instead we're putting in very low-emitting products. There's a whole host of them available in the marketplace, so we take advantage of that. We're doing a little bit more on combustion safety, to ensure that any sort of combustion appliances work safely. And then we're doing a little bit better on filtration and using a MERV 8 filter. Again, it's a pretty good filter. There's better out there, but it's a really good foundation to have a complete IAQ system for the home.

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Next, we want to look at that water protection. We mentioned earlier we have reduced tolerance for wetting events, so we want to take steps to avoid those product moisture issues that can occur. We get most of that, again, from ENERGY STAR Homes. We're going to add in a few additional measures. And we loop back again to the Indoor airPLUS program. IAQ problems can often originate from moisture problems, so the IAP program you see here also deals with a few moisture provisions, such as using sump pumps, using appropriate flooring materials in wet areas so we don't create a moisture problem there, and some foundation drainage details, like using aggregate beneath the slab.

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Our fifth building block is the efficient components. Again, we're just trying to reduce the energy consumption budget of the house. And again, we look to ENERGY STAR, but this time it's ENERGY STAR labels, not the Homes program but rather labels for the appliances. Things like the dishwasher. Things like the refrigerator. The exhaust fans. All those are ENERGY STAR-certified products, so we want to install those. That's part of our specifications. Same with ceiling fans. We look for 80 percent of the lighting to be ENERGY STAR-certified. That can be CFL, but by and large it's mostly LED at this point. And then we look for the water heater to be as good as an ENERGY STAR water heater. That's a target, and builders have the opportunity to do a little more, a little less on the water heater. But they're compared against an ENERGY STAR water heater in terms of the HERS Index required for the house. In addition to that, we look for this thing called efficient hot water distribution. The piping in a home can be expansive, so we put a lot of water and water-heating energy into long piping runs between the water heater and the furthest shower, the furthest fixture, somewhere out there on the line. So with a bit more thoughtful design and selection of technology, it's easily possible to have a more-efficient hot water distribution system, and that's what we call for within our specs.

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And then lastly, the sixth key building block is that solar-readiness piece. And for that, we've developed a PV-ready checklist. It's about a half-dozen items made up of no-cost or low-cost provisions. It's based on a pre-existing EPA guide to making homes solar-ready. We've pulled out the most relevant pieces and have embedded them into our program. Couple quick examples: We ask that the load ratings for the roof system are provided to the homeowner. They're typically available at the time of construction. So the homeowner is given them, and they have access to those calculations at some point in the future, should they be needed when there's a PV system installed. You can see this little line here; that's a conduit that's run from the attic area down to the area of the electric service panel, so it's easier to fish wire through there in the future at some point if solar were to be installed.

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So that makes up the six key building blocks of the specification that really form the basis for the program. Here we see a really tiny document you're not expected to read, but it's a real high-level view of the specifications themselves. And there's three key parts. First off we have the mandatory requirements. These are more or less the "must-haves," things we really want to see built into the home, because the opportunity cost of not doing them is sort of severe and we might not get a second chance to go back. These are things like locating the ductwork in one of those optimized locations that I mentioned. These are must-complies. But I will say, our specs provide quite a few strategies and ways to meet these provisions. The second piece is what we call this target home. We use a HERS Index to judge the energy efficiency of the home. And the HERS Index for any given house is based on this thing called the target home. The target home is created in the modeling software used by an energy rater, and it's an exact replica of the home that's being designed, but it's dialed into specifications that are noted here in our specs. For example, if I'm building in a cold climate, the target home is going to assume I have a 94 percent efficient furnace. Your actual design home could vary from that -- could be lower, could be higher. At the end of the modeling exercise, the design home has to meet or exceed the HERS Index of the target home. So the target home really just sets the bar for how efficient the home is going to be. Lots and lots of abilities to have tradeoffs with respect to the target home. These are not "must-dos." These sort of set the bar, and actual design homes can get under that bar in any way that works best for the project. Finally, there's a size-adjustment factor. This is identical to ENERGY STAR. What happens with the size-adjustment factor -- if a home is on the large size, larger than its benchmark home size -- the HERS target gets a little more aggressive for that house, proportionate to how much larger the actual house is compared the benchmark home. That will come into play on occasions for larger home sizes.

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So the HERS Index is often a question that we'll receive about what HERS Index do I need to achieve to meet the efficiency part of the Zero Energy Ready program? And it depends. It's project-specific. The good news is that the rating software I just mentioned, it establishes the HERS target so it's very easy to figure out by looking at the modeling, and determine the HERS value needed for a specific project. For the sake of window shopping, we've done a number of modeling runs on some prototype homes. And as you can see here, the typical values to meet Zero Energy Ready Home for the HERS values: generally is in the mid-50s. It might deviate a bit higher, a bit lower, depending on various factors, but generally mid-50s is the ballpark. We also like to point out, each and every year, the trade association RESNET, it will list how many homes were HERS-rated. It's well over 200,000 homes each year now. And each year we see this average HERS score. And over the last several years it's always been in the low 60s. So that's a really clear signal to us, and one that's validated by our work with builders, that the HERS values are typically not an obstacle at all for builders to participate within the Zero Energy Ready Home program. There's lots and lots of houses out there achieving these values.

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With that, I'm going to hand it back to Sam to take on the very important topic of marketing resources and translating the value of Zero Energy Ready Homes to consumers.

Sam Rashkin:
OK, thank-you so much, Jamie. I'm going to get my screen set up. And then I'll begin. OK, good. So let's talk about the marketing resources and translating value. It's great to have a really strong set of technical specifications, and it's great to understand why, but at the end of the day, unless you translate the "why" in the marketplace effectively we won't have the success we need.

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And so we've developed a lot of resources to help our partners be as effective as possible. And I'll highlight it over here -- this section of the website, when you go to it, is where you'll get a lot of these resources to help you be effective conveying the message about Zero Energy Ready Home. In addition, the Housing Innovation Awards will be an area where you'll want to be very much paying attention, because our program will provide builders substantial differentiation through the awards. And it helps us also create a tremendous portfolio of homes that are great ambassadors for what Zero Energy Ready Home can deliver to the American homebuyer. So these are two parts of the website you'll want to pay attention to, to pick up a lot of support for your partnership in the program.

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Now, moving forward, here's our challenge: Essentially, there's all these different labels in the marketplace. You can do a code home, ENERGY STAR, Zero, lots of other choices. And the question is, how do we sell Zero Energy Ready Home? It's a fairly complex technical concept to really pinpoint the differences between all these specifications. And the market needs simple messaging.

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So what we've done is develop a strategy to help our partners be as effective as we believe they need to be to really convey the value with their label. And the focus of this strategy is the superior experience with Zero Energy Ready Homes. And the way that we've approached this is with a four-prong approach. One is a simple message. Two is showcase empirically that there truly is a better experience, give evidence that that is really something you can bank on. Three, create clarity with contrast. Contrast is a compelling way to really help people understand the value behind what's going on. And fourth is to really build trust with the DOE voice of authority, that can help all of our partners truly be associated with true excellence. So this is a four-prong strategy I'll go through one at a time.

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So let's start with a simple message. We have currently a three-minute video that we're going to reduce to a 30-second video, but on the right side of the website page you'll see "The Home of the Future Today" -- that will be where you can access the video. And the simple message goes something like this:

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Again, Zero Energy Ready Home is a superior home experience. You as a homeowner will experience tens of thousands of dollars of savings, often more than a hundred thousand dollars of savings, over a 30-year period of your homeownership. You will experience full thermal protection, like a cozy blanket around your home, at a whole new level of comfort. And you'll have total comfort from advanced heating and cooling to further make your house live better. You'll have healthy living so every day you and your family breathe better air, living in your home. You'll have peace of mind knowing that your house has a comprehensive protection system so moisture problems are fully being blocked. And you'll have certified performance. Your home will be actually inspected, tested and verified to be in the top 1 percent of the highest-performing homes in the nation today, in fact, the most rigorous federal guidelines for performance excellence in the country. And lastly, you'll experience the peace of mind knowing that you've made an investment in a home that has enhanced future value -- a home that will truly stand the test of time. So this is our simple message. At the highest level, what you need to know is that you've bought a better home experience. And if you want any details or these seven experiences that fall straight from the six building blocks. And that's how they are conveyed to the consumer. So essentially, this is where you begin, with a very powerful message. Now we need to showcase the experience is actually real.

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And so the showcase for empirical evidence is really important. And it begins by teaming up with our partners to do that through our Housing Innovation Awards. That's our national recognition for the builders, for individual homes, that we do on an annual basis. Builders provide us lots of excellent content that helps us create great stories about homes that deliver, again, this superior experience. So the Housing Innovation Awards create the homes that create the empirical evidence.

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And it kind of looks like this. On the website, in addition to the video, you have this map on the left, which is your access point for the Tour of Zero. You can click on any area of the country by climate zone you're interested in, and then you'll get a list of homes that are on the Tour.

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Typically there'll be dozens of homes in all the different climate zones that showcase a completely different way American homes can be built and what they will deliver to the homebuyer. I can click on any home of interest -- in this case, Addison Homes, the Emery -- and then I will be taken to a tour much like many real estate websites.

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And like any of the real estate websites, the first point of interest usually is to walk outside of the home and the inside of the home. So that's what we do -- just that. And we also feature a testimonial statement that speaks to why these homes are so superior. In this case, "The Zero Energy Ready Home program has set a standard that's truly best in class."

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And we can go picture by picture through the home, and see, again, these homes are often as outstanding architecturally as they are in performance.

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And then after the pictures there's a very simple set of content without a lot of text, but very easy-to-understand metrics and highlighted bullets that convey empirically this is a different home. I'll highlight first, is the detailed consumer experience or builder testimonial on the left. So you have the full statement there. Then you have the key stats that many homeowners like to know about a home. They're looking at the square footage, number of bedrooms. In our case, we also like to feature the HERS Index score, the average monthly utility bill -- in this case, $71 for a 4,500-square-foot home. The annual savings and very significantly, the 30-year mortgage savings. Again, in this case, this home, as I indicated earlier, is over a hundred thousand. In fact, it's over $125,000 of savings, taken straight from the HERS software calculations. And we use it right here to impress our visitors that these homes do save a tremendous amount of money. Then we have videos often, which will in many cases be the testimonials that are accessible. We have the innovations included in each home. We translate it into much more consumer-friendly language that's based on, again, experiences. So instead of an HVAC system -- heating, ventilation, air conditioning system -- it's a high-efficient comfort system. Instead of a whole-house ventilation system, it's a fresh-air system. The experience is fresh air; the technical function is ventilation. We like to convey terminology that's experience-based, so we basically do those interpretations. One thing I'll mention is we do have a building science translator glossary on our website for any of the partners who want to use the same translations that we use. I'll also mention, if you want to see who the builder is and find out more about them, you click on "Meet the builder," and you go to a page that's actually from our website where we have all the builders listed in something called the locator tool I'll mention in just a moment. But you see the builder listed, awards they've won, number of homes they've certified, and so forth. They've got a lot of good information about the builder, plus often a link to their website and other contact information that helps website visitors get directly in touch with builders who are doing this outstanding work building high-performance homes.

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OK, so that's the showcase. And we think it's an amazingly effective way to really make it real that these homes are different. The third part of our strategy is clarity, and clarity with contrast. A really good recent book on sales by Daniel Pink frames it really well. We often understand something better when we see it in comparison with something else, than when we see it just in isolation. I can say my home is healthier, but I don't know what that means. And I'll explain how we create contrast to make the health much more compelling.

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But first, what I want to show you is we've created comparison bars to create this contrast. And so the green bar will be the Zero Energy Ready Home bar. The blue bar will be ENERGY STAR-certified home. And the gray bar will be an existing home. We chose these points of comparison because they are the most common context that needs to be clarified for homebuyers. In the case of Zero Energy Ready Homes, usually you're looking to move up from ENERGY STAR, so we like to show the difference to move up with ENERGY STAR, and what the additional value is to a consumer. Also what we recognize, 7 out of 8, or 8 out of 9, homes sold are existing homes. So it's really important to frame the contrast between a Zero Energy Ready Home and an existing home. What's also important for you to notice: It's not important what the metrics are or numbers or the precision of a very difficult term in physics. What we're trying to convey is just how much do you want and how much are you willing to give up?

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And the source of these bars is from a document that's on our website; for any of those that want to, I'll go through it. Explains the methodology we use to determine these bars and make those comparisons. The key thing is, though, that the power you have to translate the value is so much greater with them. They don't look that significant until you realize how they use. So let's first look at a full set of bars here, and at first say that what you want to do with our content if you're a partner, is to make sure you've customized it. Our website's set up so partners can go in and drop in their logo and contact information and make this about them as much as it's about us. So, a lot of resources I'm going to show you as I move along here with this discussion; almost all of our resources are set up to be customizable. OK, so how is this used? Let's say a homebuyer comes in, and if you do the proper sales approach of actually asking questions and understanding each buyer's specific personal relevant needs, you can then figure out when and where you can insert the benefits of high performance. Let's say by example a buyer comes in and you understand one of the reasons they have for moving is the kids were getting too sick too often in the home they currently live in. They've really been frustrated using inhalers. You take out a big thick marker and circle "Healthful Environment."

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And the dialogue might go something like this: "Mr. and Mrs. Smith, I'm so sorry to hear how difficult it is every day for you to manage the health of your children. What you need to know is that every one of our homes is certified to Zero Energy Ready Home. What that means to you is we have 100 percent of all the recommendations by the leading experts in health at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in terms of what they believe should be in every new home. In contrast, you only get half that protection in an ENERGY STAR home built to their specifications, and hardly any in the existing home. Wouldn't you agree, when the health of your children is so important to you each and every day, you want to have all the recommendations by the best experts in how to make your children breathe better every day?" These bars become so much more compelling and so much more powerful because they make with tremendous clarity what is the compromise that you give up by not purchasing a Zero Energy Ready Home. And you can do the same thing with comfort: "We have 100 percent of the comfort recommendations by the leading experts. You get 30 percent less with ENERGY STAR, hardly any in the existing home." You could do it with durability. You could do it with quality. We have those six attributes that we feature in the bars and often those are very significant points for most buyers in conveying the value of Zero Energy Ready Home.

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Now notice that if you look at many of our materials, leverage the same comparison bars because they are so compelling. So this is the brochure for Zero Energy Ready Home. Notice, again, it's been customized. In this case, we show BrightLeaf Homes on this brochure. Notice again you have the same six comparison bars. Because it's a brochure you have more information. But again, in the same situation, with that same buyer and the same personal relevant need, for them, their children's health, I would circle "Healthful Environment" and have this same discussion I just conveyed to you about what I would say to Mr. and Mrs. Smith. And again, I could do it with any one of these bars. If someone cares about the fact their utility bill is $300, $400 a month, I'd circle "Ultra-Efficient." And talk about how our homes have been calculated to only have utility bills of $50 or $60 a month. So again, these are really powerful comparisons because it's contrast, and contrast works.

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Now there's two other options I'll talk about for contrast besides those six in a moment. But if you want to build on what you do with that contrast, we have a companion tool, the sales tool in the Building America Solution Center, where you can go in and further make your health benefit very significant by contrast by then also handing out to Mr. and Mrs. Smith, "By the way, here's a list of 40 innovations that we put into each and every home we build that help your children breathe better every day." And in contrast, the other builders that won't hand out any list of innovations around health, you can do that. And again, it's customized for a builder.

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It's created by the Building America Solution Center sales tool. And we encourage you to, when you have time, to go into our website under "Resources," look at the webinars that help guide you how to use the sales tool and develop this kind of content, that's personal, relevant for your buyers, and customized for each individual builder.

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I mentioned there are two other contrast points, as well. Let's say you have a buyer who might be a new homebuyer. You want to circle right over here, "The Future of Housing Today," and say to Mr. and Mrs. Jones, "I know how scary it is to buy your very first home. It's the biggest purchase of a lifetime. We really understand how difficult a decision that is. What should be really important for you to know is our homes are built to meet and exceed the future as the fully developed, rigorous guidelines by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. And what you also need to know, only a select group of the top builders in the country -- in fact, the top 1 percent -- are demonstrating they can achieve this level of excellence, the most rigorous guidelines by the U.S. federal government and the U.S. Department of Energy." And by circling that box, you've now contrasted yourself that you build to the future compared to other builders and you're in the top 1 percent compared to other builders. Contrast is, again, so powerful.

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OK, the final, fourth part of our strategy is trust. All these are very substantial behavior-changing, proven techniques for getting people to appreciate and understand value. And in the case of trust, the DOE voice of authority is an amazing asset for you to leverage when you're a partner in the program. Now the only research we can find on trust suggests 1 in 3 consumers indicated they don't trust homebuilding and real estate companies. I would submit it's more like 1 in 10, if not even a smaller percent of buyers who trust builders and real estate companies. And the reason is not that they're not to be trusted. The reason is that we only transact homes once or twice or three times in a lifetime. We do not know the process. We do not know the product. We do not know the players and the companies and the builders. We can't trust what we don't know. And so homebuyers go into the transaction of homebuying, and it is the scariest experience for them in so many ways. No one's bad here; it's that it's the biggest purchase of a lifetime, and we only do it once in a while.

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So you really need additional assurances that you are bringing value, that you are associated with other credible groups, to back up the quality of the choice that you are offering to the buyers. And with DOE, you have this independent label that you can refer to. The U.S. Department of Energy's Zero Energy Ready Home versus "Trust me; we build a really good home." And we love to watch the partners effectively leverage this voice of authority.

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So in this case, here's Garbett Homes, really outstanding builder in Sal Lake City. And when you go to the website, they proudly feature that they're a Zero Energy Ready Home partner. They build 100 percent of their 300 or so homes a year to these program guidelines.

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Another case, this is High Performance Homes out of Pennsylvania. And they put a plaque like this on all their model homes, so when you walk in their house, you see all these certifications. And remember, research in the car industry shows people pay thousands more for a certified pre-owned car versus a used car. The fact that a product is certified, and independently certified in the case of the Zero Energy Ready Home program, is another asset that you have to leverage. Here in the case of High Performance Homes, they take all three labels they get for one by doing Zero Energy Ready Home. You get with one certification, Zero Energy Ready Home, EPA Indoor airPLUS, and you get ENERGY STAR Certified Home. In his case, he also had the Green Home certification from the Housing Innovation Research Laboratory.

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Here's another example where LifeStyle Homes even under construction doesn't lose the opportunity to associate their product with Zero Energy Ready Home in a very visually compelling way in the signage on their site.

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And again, here's another way of being recognized as an award-winner with Zero Energy Ready Home Housing Innovation Awards, in this case four times.

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And in this case, Thrive Home Builders is really effective. When you go visit their offices, here right now are six different grand award glass crystals right in their office, along with posters featuring the homes that won these grand awards. So this voice of authority builds additional trust. An independent organization, national experts recognize our company is building some of the best homes in the nation.

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And trust also comes just from the certificate you get with every home that's certified. A rater prints a certificate right from the software, and builders can give this certificate to each and every homeowner just straight from the rating. It includes rating details, a graphic bar showing the score, and it lists other optional programs that are being complied with.

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You also get associated with a voice of authority just by being in the program and being listed as a partner on our locator tool.

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And you can go in, pick a state, see a list of builders. The yellow rows are the builders who are committed to 100 percent. Other builders are listed in the program, who's a partner. The DOE Zero Energy Ready Home certified, the numbers are listed. And some builders have been in the program even before it was Zero Energy Ready Home and Builder Challenge -- they get those homes recognized, as well.

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You can click on one builder and be taken to their further details about them and the awards they've won, how to contact them. And as I mentioned earlier, there'll be a link to their website on most of these pages, as well.

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The other way we provide trust and an independent voice of authority is with drop-in messaging, pre-set up so all partners have to do is go into our website under the partner resources section, and it is accessed with their password. And they can pull up any of our pre-set messaging where they drop in their name to be recognized.

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An example of how this would be done: Here's Thrive Home Builders. And you'll notice a quote at the bottom: "Zero Energy Ready Homes are the future of U.S. housing, and innovators like New Town Builders" (their name before they switched to Thrive) "are leading the way for the entire industry. Zero Energy Ready Homes can provide a vastly superior homeowner experience at a lower ownership cost" (does that sound familiar?) "-- an experience all Americans should want in their next home." We're able to provide these statements because they're not endorsements. They're objective statements for us, but they are tremendously effective at connecting the builder to the value that DOE believes they bring to the consumer by certifying homes to these guidelines. So all this messaging with DOE's name or in some cases -- in this case, my name -- are accessible for our partners.

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And that brings me to Jamie's turn to complete the training with the last two sections, this one on technical resources. So I'll hand it back off to you, Jamie.

Jamie Lyons:
Fantastic. Thank-you, Sam. So we're on the home stretch here. We're going to wrap up with a couple sections, just reinforcing a little bit of what we've seen and heard thus far, and pointing out some resources that are good to be aware of for new partners to get started with the program and ease their participation as they begin.

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So in my earlier section on the technical specs, we looked at it at a fairly high level. A logical next step for builders and their rater partners can be to look a little more carefully at the program specifications. We call them the program requirements. So they're available here on the home page of the website, which is on our final slide. Just look for the term "Program Requirements," and it'll lead you to a PDF with the current set of program requirements. It's a document where most of the material you need to know is really on the first three pages or so. So that's available online.

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Another technical resource or sort of a bucket of them is very popular. It is our series of technical webinars. Every so often we have conducted deeper dives, typically one-hour-long technical webinars, on a specific topic that's important to Zero Energy Ready Home design and construction. And you can see here on this list, this is just a sample. These webinars cover topics like effective whole-house ventilation for Zero Energy Ready Homes, getting enclosures right in Zero Energy Ready Homes, low-load HVAC, and so on. And you'll note if you glance at the speakers here, these are industry experts. On occasion DOE staff provide the technical webinars, but for the vast majority, it's an industry expert in that particular topic. So these are all recorded, they're free, they're online and available to our partners. So we encourage partners to take advantage of those.

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I'd also like to point out the Tour of Zero, which Sam walked us through briefly. One of the resources that I really enjoy in there is not so much for the consumer -- it's a little bit deeper dive in terms of a case study. So each home that appears on the Tour of Zero, and there's dozens and dozens, approaching 200 at this point, will have a case study, if you're interested in drilling down. So here is a landing page for a Tour of Zero home profile. And then if you poke around a bit, there's an area that says "Learn more about the specifications." And once you click on that link, it'll open a PDF, which really does a nice detailed look at the system, some of the construction techniques, really across the board, from the envelope, the mechanicals, and so on. So that's a nice opportunity to look at other Zero Energy Ready Homes, some of the best of the best, and how they were designed and built. And of course you can sort them by climate zone and look at climate zone projects of the most interest to you.

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We mentioned the Building America Solution Center and the sales tool. I'd like to just add on one additional point about the Solution Center in that you can navigate this really rich body of technical information in a number of different ways. I'll highlight here the ability to navigate information based on a program checklist.

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So one of the program checklists that you can use to sort out the information in the Solution Center is the DOE Zero Ready checklist. So it's a little small here, but there's an online version of our program provisions. And if, for example, you're interested in our provisions that talk about an optimized duct system being a requirement, you could simply drill down into our checklist and open up that duct system piece. And you see the requirement that ducts be located in an optimized location.

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Click on that, it's sort of a window into the Solution Center and all the relevant content it has about locating the ducts within the home's thermal and air barrier boundary. If you want to drill down a bit further, we can look at one of these resources.

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We can find a nice technical guide on a technique we call BED. It's buried encapsulated duct system. And here there's multiple tabs of information. I won't go too far with it now, but just be aware that if you would like to use the checklist navigation tool for the Solution Center, it's a way to very efficiently drill down for more information on any particular specification for our program.

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Compliance made easy, a big part of that is the software. So just to gain a little bit of familiarity: Most HERS raters use one of these three software packages that are listed up here at the top. Each of these automatically programs that target home that I mentioned earlier. So it really takes the guesswork and the effort out of figuring what HERS Index a particular house needs. The software does that for us. And then as far as inputting a home into the rating software, it's very much the same as if it would be for a HERS rating or an ENERGY STAR Home certification. There's typically one additional page, which has some inputs relevant to the Zero Energy Ready Home program. And that's the entirety of additional inputs that are needed to test out program certification for zero-readiness.

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And another word on that: Each of those software packages mentioned, it provides a compliance report, and it's a little detailed here. But at the end of the day, at the end of a modeling exercise, it's easy to check compliance with Zero Energy Ready Home. If your project complies, great. If it's falling short in some way, these compliance reports give you that feedback. Perhaps the HERS score wasn't quite low enough, and we need to get another couple points. Perhaps the envelope wasn't quite up to par with the energy code insulation minimums that I mentioned, OK, now we know that; we can tackle that. So it gives feedback as far as compliance or noncompliance and then that lets the design team and the rater and the builder really optimize their approach to how they meet to do the program.

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Verification: Again, it really dove-tails with the ENERGY STAR Homes program. We didn't have to reinvent the process. We're simply adding on to a process that's very familiar to the hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of builders around the country already participating within ENERGY STAR. The parts that are new and added on, we need to double-check and verify some of the Indoor airPLUS checklist items that we mentioned earlier. Some of those can be builder-verified or rater-verified. We have that PV-ready checklist that's verified in the field. And then there is a hot water distribution test, which is a quick test, involves using a bucket and a temp sensor to test that hot water is delivered quickly based on that more-efficient system design. And then as far as how the submissions flow, again, this is quite seamless. Raters simply model the home as they ordinarily would for code compliance, for HERS rating, for ENERGY STAR, and now for Zero Energy Ready Home. And they use that compliance report we just mentioned to assure that the home is indeed meeting the program. Then raters will go ahead and submit the building record to the RESNET buildings registry as they ordinarily would. Then DOE takes it from there. On the back end, DOE interfaces with the registry to go out and query and collect the records for homes meeting Zero Energy Ready Home. And then in turn, DOE populates all the builder profiles on our website and gives them credit for certifying additional homes. And they show up on the builder's profile.

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That's a quick walk through the software, often an area that we get questions. A few quick bulletins to be aware of. These are also available on our website. Here's a really nice guide on those low-emission products, how to find them, and it cuts through some of the alphabet soup to quickly let builders and their suppliers and contractors understand, oh, I need this product seal on my cabinets from the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association. And the same kind of thing for paints and carpeting. So that's a really nice fact sheet available. We'll get questions about when is a quality assurance certified HVAC contractor required? That's a provision within ENERGY STAR. Sometimes can be a stumbling block for our partners. There are exceptions. We have condensed those exceptions down to a short bulletin available on our website. And then also, there's often questions about what are the additional costs and savings from moving up to Zero Energy Ready Homes. Of course that number varies, but we have an analysis of those costs and the associated energy savings that are available. And that document's available on our website, as well.

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Finally, we'll close with a few initial suggestions. We've thrown a lot at you here. And just to sort of bring it home and suggest some initial steps, we'll talk for a few minutes here about leveraging your partnership.

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So really it all starts with simply becoming a partner. This is a very quick step. It happens online. There's no cost. Builders will try to commit to one home a year to remain active with the program. And then down here at the bottom, we note there's a few different categories of partnership. So making sure you sign on in the right capacity: as a builder, or a verifier, an architect / designer, or an innovation partner. And there's a quick link to get there from our home page.

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Then we've talked a lot about resources. Again, on the home page, there's a section there for resources. You would click there, and it opens up a lot of good material. I mentioned all those technical training webinars. There's a parallel series on sales and marketing topics. Again, there's a half-dozen or more of these with some very good insights and techniques and highlighting some of the resources we make available to assist in the selling and marketing of Zero Energy Ready Homes.

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Also under the resources tab, -- there's an area, Resources for Partners -- there's a marketing toolkit. Everything we've shown you thus far resides in that marketing toolkit, if it's marketing related.

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So there you'll find things like the logos. There's a partner logo. There's a Take the Tour, which is a nice online link for people to point users and visitors toward the Tour of Zero. These are all available. And many if not most of our builder partners use these logos, especially the partner logo, on their websites and print material, signage, etcetera.

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This is the bottom half of the point-of-sale fact sheet Sam showed a few minutes ago. I just want to reiterate that once a builder is a partner and they're going to upload their logo and that becomes part of their profile so it's visible, there's several of our marketing resources which are then automatically populated with that logo, so they're branded at that point. You don't have to do anything; that happens once the logo is uploaded for that builder. Nice feature.

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Obviously we really encourage our partners to become part of the Tour of Zero. The way that works is, Tour of Zero profiles are developed for those projects that are part of the Housing Innovation Award process. Sam talked about that at length. There's a one-month window each year when the application window is open, and that's the opportunity to become part of the Housing Innovation Awards and apply. And if successful, the home would then be populated to become part of the online Tour of Zero.

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We spoke at length about leveraging that voice of authority. So just to make sure you're aware of the drop-in messaging that we looked at earlier, that's also available within the marketing toolkit.

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And then finally, we prominently display our partner locator. As visitors drill down, they see the builder profile; it lists the number of homes that they've completed under the program and any awards that they won. So it's a nice opportunity for builders to increase their visibility.

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Our consumer messaging tools are also available on the website. Sam walked us through the consumer video; there will be a revised consumer video in the works fairly soon. And also the new homeowner manual, which reinforces to the homeowner after sale what's so special and unique about their new Zero Energy Ready Home.

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And finally, we encourage partners to really document the excellence. And this is simply the certificate we looked at earlier. It's generated by the software and should be provided to the homeowner. Sort of that badge of excellence about, this home is officially part of this very unique program, that meets the Zero Energy Ready Home guidelines.

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So here let me start from the bottom up. This is the website: buildings.energy.gov/zero. Also search for "Zero Energy Ready Home" to get there. That's sort of a gateway to all of the resources that we've been looking at and referring to. Support -- technical, marketing, administrative or otherwise -- is available by using the email or the phone number listed here. And with that, I'll thank you for joining us for this course, this orientation course. And you have now officially completed the orientation. We look forward to your future participation in the program and hearing from you as you get started. Thanks for joining us.