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2020 Roundtable 1 - Presentation

Created 5/21/2020 by Dan Wildenhaus
Updated 5/22/2020 by Mekha Abraham
19 views • 2 comments
Enjoy the PDF of the presentation, with  Dan Wildenhaus and Jon Belmont
Title: Learning to be Limber - Program Yoga
Discussion: Taking a look at both our current reality and into our future, with a focus on longer term program strategy. Digging into:
  •  Experiences in rapid response program exceptions and new designs
  • Experiences and considerations in future program designs
  • Lessons learned from 2007-2011 economic downturn that could be applied now and in the future
Guest Presenters include:
  • Michelle Foster - NGBS
  • Scott Leonard and Andrew Shepard - Energy Trust of Oregon
  • Dean Gamble - EPAs ENERGY STAR Certified Homes
Posted By: Dan Wildenhaus 05/21/20 on 01:52 PM (Pacific Time)
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Comments (2)
Mekha Abraham on 05/22/20 on 10:44 AM (Pacific Time)
Recording of presentation can be found here: https://vimeo.com/421681362
Mekha Abraham on 05/22/20 on 10:46 AM (Pacific Time)

Meeting Notes:

  • Guest Presentations
    • Michelle Foster | National Green Building Standard
      • 2020 NGBS released during COVID-19, but mostly COVID-19 impact free
      • COVID-19 impacts on verification, based on varied feedback from Verifiers across the country.
        • Remote verification released March 25 and to be used as a last resort and requires prior approval from NGBS
        • Detailed guidance provided on how to perform virtual inspection
        • When required, testing is still mandatory
        • Client must be provided written notification that verification will be remote
        • Program staff observes remote inspections when possible
        • Live - preferred, recorded - alternative
      • Communication channels important in response
        • Contact us hotline, monthly updates for verifiers and builders/architects/developers
      • Pushed out trainings sooner due to more time at home. Uptick in trainings completed seen.
      • Lessons Learned
        • Collaboration across program can be helpful
          • NGBS reached out to EPA, USGBC
        • Important to be flexible and nimble, pivot quickly.
        • Clarity on program's value proposition and core standards
        • Leveraged the systems and customs in place rather than creating new ones
        • Remote verification is only temporary, not a long term substitute.
        • Enhanced QA becomes more important
        • Outreach in underserved, rural locations is hard
        • The market in not uniform


  • Scott Leonard & Andrew Shepard | Energy Performance Score, Energy Trust of Oregon
    • Differing impacts in Oregon vs. Washington, since construction was shut down in WA. Response was day by day and being flexible.
      • Some builders/verifiers continued work, others stopped.
    • Lessons Learned/Priorities:
      • Health and safety,
      • Flexibility,
      • Integrity of data
      • Long term not trying to move away from current model and testing verification.
    • Impact now vs. 2007-2011
      • Reassess value proposition of program and home - resiliency, increased occupancy at home
    • Exceptions developed for verification, but not trying to get away from testing. Value of testing still important to builders and homeowners.
      • For final inspection, alternative developed based on previous activity for production builders, or default values, or program staff can fill role
      • None of these exceptions have been needed to date.
    • May Monthly Verifier call - verifiers were very responsive and shared feedback and impact they are facing.
      • Early Design Assistance meeting - mixed feedback that challenging when remote; others say very productive.


  • Dean Gamble | ENERGY STAR Certified Homes, EPA
    • Need to have direct impact with Partners to address their needs.
      • Construction has continued, but at a slower pace
      • Raters still going on site, but with added protections.
      • Raters agree third party inspections are integral to program and not easy to substitute
      • Interest in new construction is increasing relative to existing homes. Buyers are wary of entering existing homes, and existing homeowners less interested in interested buyers entering home.
    • Visual verification allowed until June 30.
      • Diagnostic testing defaults not permitted for purposes of ENERGY STAR certification. Can be deferred at a later date to reduce risk of home not meeting threshold and customer expectations.
    • Drivers beyond COVID that will encourage off-site verification
      • Labor costs
      • Technology
      • Off site construction
      • Increasing consumer expectations
    • Potential for off-site verification, but may take time to mature
      • Centralized "call-center style" inspections
      • On-board diagnostics
      • Automated verification algorithms (e.g. smart thermostats)
      • Standardized off-site assembly products


  • Discussion
    • Earth Advantage (David Heslam):
      • One of my hopes is that the flexibilities we are developing for remote work during the pandemic will allow for rural work to be more easily conducted in the future.
      • If we can use the methods developed now (e.g. FaceTime, live video) then there is ability to utilize folks in rural areas that may not have complete Rater skillset to work with Raters remotely/via video and develop skillset to serve rural areas.


  • PHIUS (Graham Wright):
    • PHIUS panel/building system production certification in need of customers. Please reach out to Graham for more info.


  • Built Green (Sonja O'Claire):
    • Built Green is updating the Energy Efficiency sections of both its Single Family and Multi-Family New Construction checklists and handbooks. We think the members of today’s roundtable would have very insightful feedback on how we can move these sections forward and adapt to the changes being adopted by the 2018 WSEC. We are looking for recommendations on how we can simplify, streamline and improve the checklist to continue to move the market forward. Please email all feedback to Sonja O’Claire, soclaire@mbaks.com, by June 2nd.


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Sector: Residential
Function: Implementation, Marketing, Planning, Training
Resources: Agendas, Case studies, Contact lists, Meeting Minutes, Protocols, Training materials

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Northwest Home Certification Programs Roundtable

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