The following are the session descriptions for the 2015 RESNET Building Performance Conference:


California Market Transformation
Monday, February 16, 2015 - 10:30 AM-12:00 PM, Spinnaker

Turn REALTORS® into Energy Efficiency Ambassadors

Every purchase of an existing (resale) home is an opportunity to integrate energy efficiency, and this matters to homebuyers. A National Association of Realtors survey found that 88% of consumers say energy efficiency is important. Furthermore, the average homebuyer of an existing home will spend over $6,000 on improvements during their initial year of ownership, according to the Joint Center on Housing Studies. These older homes, which make up over 90% of homes sales, are in the most need of energy efficiency improvements. Raters and program representatives can benefit from engaging REALTORS© as energy efficiency ambassadors since they serve as the gatekeepers to homebuyers and these transactions. However, advertising to REALTORS© is not enough; a fully integrated approach is necessary to turn REALTORS© into collaborators. This session will explore the methods that have successfully engaged nearly 500 realtors in California. Presenters will discuss outreach strategies for local real estate communities will be discussed, explore certification training and continuing education for REALTORS©, and review additional tools and ongoing support necessary to turn education into action will be reviewed. The discussion will also include currently available financing products that can help homebuyers turn their next home into an energy efficient dream home.

Energy Efficiency First for Residential Solar Homeowners in California?

The California market for residential rooftop solar PV has increased more than fivefold since 2010, and it continues to grow despite the conclusion of California Solar Initiative rebates. The California market for home energy upgrades, on the other hand, is growing at a slower rate. While solar is often seen as the most popular choice by residential homeowners, those who invest in solar can realize many benefits from energy efficiency measures including a reduction in the PV system size needed to offset energy use. With this in mind, CSE performed research to answer the questions: Do homeowners that invest in solar also invest in energy efficiency measures? Why? (Or why not?) These answers are critical given the state’s efforts to expand the residential energy efficiency market and its aggressive Long Term Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan, which calls for reducing energy consumption in existing residential buildings 30-70% by 2020. To understand the synergies between solar and efficiency in the residential market, CSE employed a combination of survey and focus groups to examine the home energy efficiency activities and underlying motivations of California Solar Initiative (CSI) participants in the San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) territory. This presentation will review the results of our research, including when solar homeowners perform upgrades, what types of upgrades are being performed, and the effectiveness of required CSI audits in promoting energy efficiency before solar installations.

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California Program Updates
Tuesday, February 17, 2015 - 3:30 PM-5:00 PM, Spinnaker

Getting to know the California Advanced Homes Program

This session will feature the program managers from all the IOU's presenting and the program and answering questions from the industry,

New Pathways for Multifamily Retrofit

As the California Investor Owned Utilities (IOUs) close out their multifamily pilot programs and plan for 2015 and beyond, they are evolving their program designs and adding additional paths to better serve the multifamily market. This session will describe the approaches the IOUs are taking to streamline participation, bundle measures, and allow for multiyear incremental improvements in effort to expand the pool of participating property owners and program partners.

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Clean Energy Financing Driving Market Transformation
Wednesday, February 18, 2015 - 10:30 AM-12:00 PM, Spinnaker

PACE financing has exploded in California and contractors are using it as a vehicle to not only provide basic services like HVAC change outs, but to expand their business models and find new clients. The last few years' of financing project data show that approximately 1/6 of projects are solar-only, 1/6 of projects include solar and energy efficiency, and 2/3 are EE-only. Despite the mediocre performance of rebate programs like Energy Upgrade CA Home Upgrade, these financing trends indicate a transformation of the EE and whole house market. This presentation will provide summary statistics on PACE program participation in CA from the last three years and will highlight some of the tools that help contractors and their customers understand and tap into PACE financing (e.g.

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Ensuring Strength in Every Link of the QA/QC Chain
Wednesday, February 18, 2015 - 8:30 AM-10:00 AM, Spinnaker

Quality Assurance/Quality Control (QA/QC) is the backbone of accurate energy savings in utility new construction programs. The importance of QA/QC is multi-pronged to ensure that:

  • Program requirements are met
  • Building simulations accurately reflect plans and specifications
  • Energy measures are installed to industry standards
  • Program implementation is cost effective

Many stakeholders invest in upholding quality and accurate energy savings through QA/QC. Utilities invest in QA/QC to minimize risk, safeguard ratepayer funds, and to merit earnings. Providers train, certify, and QC raters. Associations train, test, and certify energy consultants. Labeling entities establish a standard and system to differentiate quality. Are these efforts and investments measurably improving the quality of building simulation, audits and field verification? The less programs spend on QA/QC, the more they can invest in early design assistance and training to influence deeper energy savings. Traditional market impact studies focus primarily on the program impacts on participation, market share, energy savings and less on the programs’ impact on a critical market actor – the rater, energy consultant, home performance professional, and contractor – collectively known as trade allies. Given increasingly complex energy codes, a drive for deeper energy savings, and net zero goals, how do we propel trade allies’ expertise to enable them to support this evolution?

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Healthy Buildings
Wednesday, February 18, 2015 - 1:30 PM-3:00 PM, Spinnaker

Presenters: Bill Spohn  Kelsey Shaw 
Presentation: What to do about IAQ?

The CAS Dilemma- We Shall Overcome

CAS testing is becoming a more common requirement for multifamily utility rebate programs as well as multifamily affordable housing financing programs such as TCAC and CDLAC. The CAS testing process includes a variety of tests and depending on the property, the expense of combustion testing can be significant, especially for post-construction test out, as 100% of appliances need to be tested and any failures need to be corrected and-retested. There is a significant challenge especially in older affordable housing properties to pass the required combustion testing. However, forethought and integrating the combustion requirements into the planned construction budget and scope can alleviate some of the financial burden.

In this session we will discuss the CAS testing process, the common technical challenges, as well as the financial, logistical and liability implications that can significantly affect the developers, construction team, subcontractors and residents. CAS testing can be a large piece of a multifamily rater’s business. Understanding it and managing the client’s expectations during the process is crucial for success.

What to do about IAQ?

Indoor air quality remains a major opportunity for companies doing whole house auditing and retrofit work. Yet despite growing health concerns amongst consumers, and increasing incidences of asthma, the challenges of capturing IAQ leads, testing homes affordably and converting to comprehensive solutions are as vexing as ever. In this session, we will discuss field experience including how to affordably test homes, what homeowners are looking for and how to develop solutions that solve air quality issues.

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Marketing Opportunities for California HERS Raters
Monday, February 16, 2015 - 3:30 PM-5:00 PM, Spinnaker

Marketing Home Performance, More opportunities for HERS Raters

As a HERS rater, a lot of time and money is invested in purchasing and learning to use sophisticated instruments to complete HERS Ratings. Because HERS raters are dependent upon contractors for work it’s important to identify additional services a rater can provide with your training and equipment to stay busy all year. This session will focus on additional services HERS raters can provide with and without additional equipment and certifications.

Generating Hot Leads for Home Performance - The Coach Approach

California has set goals to retrofit 75% of existing homes to achieve a 30% decrease in energy consumption by 2020. National efforts to generate demand for retrofits among existing homeowners have shown mixed results, and some efforts generate hotter leads than others. CSE will highlight three different lead generation programs that directly connect interested, qualified homeowners with home performance raters and contractors, and will share the last two years' success rates. Programs include 1) the Home Energy Coach Employee Program, where employers promote and support employee participation in workshops, home ratings and retrofits; 2) Community Workshops, where 'home energy coaches' and partnering contractors provide homeowner education in neighborhoods identified by regional energy mapping to be ripe for retrofits; and 3) the Energy Efficient Demonstration Home Program, where neighbors are invited to tour upgraded homes while talking with coaches and the contractors that performed the work.

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Multifamily Retrofit Opportunities
Monday, February 16, 2015 - 1:30 PM-3:30 PM, Spinnaker

Multifamily Market Segmentation and Expanding HERS Rater's Scope of Work

The multifamily housing market includes a diverse suite of ownership types, decision makers, and market players, each with unique values, practices, and challenges. This session will define the different market segments and players and suggest strategies for making energy efficiency upgrades appealing to each.

In addition to code compliance verification and whole house rating, there are a number of opportunities for HERS Raters to bring additional resources to and expand scope of work with their clients, sometimes dependent on the multifamily market segment. Incentive programs, tax credits, benchmarking, and building labeling are just a few. This session will present numerous business opportunities available to Raters to increase their value on a project.

HUD Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) Program’s Energy Audit Components, Multifamily Sustainable Building Management Practices

The nation’s public housing stock is struggling, and has significant capital repair needs. Conversion to the project-based Section 8 programs provides an opportunity to invest billions into the public housing stock. (RAD) allows PHAs to undertake this conversion for some units. Learn more about the engineering requirements for this new HUD program designed to preserve the nation’s public housing.

The RAD report has three parts: a PCA report comparing traditional and green requirements, an energy audit, and a utility consumption baseline. The RPCA Contractor must incorporate all three components into one report. A HERS rater is often called upon to perform the energy audit scope of work and must be certified by RESNET or BPI or be a CEM, PE, state equivalent certified energy auditor or professional architect.

Partner Energy, in collaboration with its affiliate Partner Engineering & Science, has conducted numerous HUD RAD PCNA + Energy Audits. In this session we will discuss the common challenges and best practices in completing successful RAD assessments so that you may successfully incorporate RADs into your business plan.

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Multifamily Zero Net Energy Buildings in California
Tuesday, February 17, 2015 - 10:30 AM-12:00 PM, Spinnaker

USDA's Net Zero Multifamily Housing

USDA Rural Housing Service set a goal of building only net zero multifamily housing in 2009. Currently, housing built in California with funding from USDA has achieved this goal and nothing but net zero is being constructed. This presentation will inform attendees about the USDA Rural Housing Service's efforts to create a more resilient, healthy and energy-efficient portfolio of housing through its Section 514/516 Farm Labor Housing Direct Loan Program, its Section 515 Multifamily Housing Program, and its Multifamily Housing Preservation and Revitalization program.  The presentation will also include sections focusing on the Single Family Housing Programs, the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Loan Programs, the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) and Community Facilities Loan Programs that are reaching for high energy performance goals

Zero-Net Energy Multifamily Housing: Results From the Field

California’s largest energy agencies are committed to a big goal: by 2020, all new residential construction in California will be zero net energy (ZNE). This vision is already a reality for some multifamily developers – their buildings generate as much energy as they use on an annual basis. This workshop will provide a snapshot of ZNE projects through three presentations:

  • Sean Armstrong of Redwood Energy will present a survey of multifamily ZNE projects as well as the most common techniques used by builders to achieve ZNE.
  • Tushar Dutta of LINC Housing will discuss their process in completing a ZNE retrofit of a 100-unit low-income housing project
  • Abhijeet Pande of TRC will present findings from a comprehensive evaluation of a ZNE multifamily new construction project, specifically discussing whether or not the project met its goals as well as various definitions for ZNE.

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The Big-Two Measures for 2016 Title 24
Tuesday, February 17, 2015 - 1:30 PM-3:00 PM, Spinnaker

Support of residential new construction builders, who are on the path the Zero Net Energy dwellings by 2020, needs to be focused on two high impact measures: High Performance Attics and High Performance Walls. There a number of approaches that a builder can take to achieve the required energy efficiency of each. However, these particular measures are challenging to achieve for two reasons; they are disruptive to construction norms and expensive. Experience from production builders already employing these measures give evidence that both challenges can be overcome. Learn more about these measures, and how utility programs are helping builders achieve code-readiness early.

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The Differences in Home Energy Ratings between California and RESNET and the Path to Harmonizing
Tuesday, February 17, 2015 - 8:30 AM-10:00 AM, Spinnaker

The Differences in Home Energy Ratings Between California and RESNET

In California, when one mentions a HERS rating, it's a requirement to clarify; RESNET or California HERS? Let’s look deeper under the hood to learn the differences and similarities between these two rating indexes. We'll be comparing calculation algorithms, scoring constructs and the building simulation engines themselves. We'll also dive into the history of each system and how they're currently being used in California and beyond.

Harmonizing Home Energy Ratings Between California and RESNET

California has long had a separate home energy rating system. Established by state law and governed by the California Energy Commission the California HERS is based on the state's energy code, Title 24. Large production home builders are advertising their homes RESNET HERS Index Scores. This trend could create industry and public confusion with competing HERS scales. Over the past year the California Building Industry Association, California Energy Commission and RESNET have been in discussions on how to make the California HERS and RESNET HERS compatible. This session will explore the differences and options to resolve them.

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