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Marketing and Sales Solutions for Zero Energy Ready Homes Webinar (Text Version)

Below is the text version of the webinar, Marketing and Sales Solutions for Zero Energy Ready Homes, presented in June 2014.

Lindsay Parker:
... the Department of Energy Zero Energy Ready Home technical training webinar series. We're really excited that you can join us today for this session on "Marketing and Sales Solutions for Zero Energy Ready Homes." The presenter will be Sam Rashkin, chief architect of the Department of Energy and director of the Zero Energy Ready Home program. Today's session is one in a continuing series of technical training webinars to support our partners in designing and building Zero Energy Ready Homes. My name is Lindsay Parker. I'm the coordinating 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 invite you to ask questions throughout the session in the questions part of the GoToWebinar program. We'll monitor these throughout the webinar, and near the end of the webinar we'll try to cover as many of your questions as possible. 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 this process, so it does take a few days for the recording to be placed online, but in the meantime, directly after the webinar, I will be sending out an email with the PDF of the presentation and some further information on future webinars. And now I'm going to introduce Sam Rashkin. As I said, he's the chief architect of DOE. And in his prior position, he managed the growth of ENERGY STAR® for Homes from its inception in 1996 to more than 8,500 builder partners, over 1 million labeled homes, and over 25 percent market penetration nationwide. During his 20-plus years as a licensed architect, he specialized in energy-efficient design and completed over 100 residential projects. He also won the Hemley Award for Vision and Leadership in Sustainable Housing in 2012. Here's Sam.

Sam Rashkin:
Hey, thank-you, everyone. I will get my presentation up and we'll be good to go. Thank-you for joining. Today's session is about Zero Energy Ready Home resources. And before we begin we always like just to share with you -- before we begin, we like to share with you our view of Zero Energy Ready Homes as the home of the future. And it's here today. We believe that this is the home for the housing industry, because it's going to reduce the risk of homebuilders, substantially improve their product and exceed their homebuyer expectations, and in every way make for a better business climate for the industry as it continues to provide homes that are better for the nation, better for communities, and better for the buyers. Today we're going to talk about, for partners who work with this program, a number of resources that are available for them to help promote this kind of excellence.

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So just as an outline, there are three main categories of resources that we'll cover. The first are marketing resources that deal with the brand of Zero Energy Ready Home and how it was configured from the very beginning to deliver very key bankable value propositions. And then we'll talk about how we message those bankable value propositions. The next bundle of resources we'll talk about deal with how partners get to be recognized in the program and also other recognition that we provide. And that addresses consumer recognition of their efforts as a Zero Energy Ready Home builder, how they can get awards for their excellence in the program, and how also we want to work with the appraisal industry to make sure that the value associated with these homes is recognized in the transaction process. The last bundle of resources deal with knowledge, and here we talk about the Zero Energy Ready Home training, the Building America Solution Center -- a short review because we've had a full webinar on this topic last month -- and lastly, something new that's coming on shortly in the fall, is the Building Science Translator.

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So let's begin with the marketing bundle of resources. And the first one is a brand that consumers can trust.

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And so here, Zero Energy Ready Home is the brand. And of course we understand it's a new brand, and not one that consumers will walk around and be fully familiar with, and in fact, go to builders and demand their next Zero Energy Ready Home. That's going to be a long way off. But what we give builders in terms of branding is the U.S. Department of Energy voice of authority and credible source of excellence and guidance for consumers. It's not the builder anymore saying, "Just trust me. I'm building an exceptional home." With the Zero Energy Ready Home label from the U.S. Department of Energy, we're enabling builders to take their message one step further, that they are associated with this very credible organization who's recommending that new homes should be going to this level of performance.

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Now why is trust such a big deal in the housing industry? Depending which research you look at, you can find various outcomes, but the latest research I can find suggests that 1 in 3 consumers indicated that they do not trust home-building and real estate companies. That's the best I can find, but essentially, what I think it's important for builders to understand is that not for any reason of their own, we're in an inherently difficult business when it comes to trust with consumers. And it's because it's a very overwhelming purchase. And then we couple that with a difficult transaction process. We go to buy homes, and for example, in a production builder environment, we're seeing model homes that are often very much at a level of luxury and built-in features and extra upgrades that far exceeds what the average person buys. So there's this concern about whether they're getting what they're seeing. Then there are these upgrade option times, when after you make a decision to buy a house you have to make lots of choices, and whether we trust the prices or not on those choices comes into play. And then there's a lot of issues just with concern and pressure in the transaction process. So when you can introduce a level of trust to the consumer that a house is associated with such an esteemed level of performance, that has to be a big deal.

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OK, next in marketing are the bankable value propositions that come with the Zero Energy Ready Home program.

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And here, what we want to talk about is effectively building those value propositions based on complete systems. And the first complete system that we have is comprehensive building science that comes from the ENERGY STAR version 3 prerequisite for all Zero Energy Ready Homes. The next complete system is the optimization for the enclosure and the HVAC system, particularly as the enclosure reduces the energy loads -- reduces the energy loads for each home. The next system is complementing the enclosure with the inside advanced technology components throughout the whole house so that the remaining energy loads are minimized. Then, because a house is so tight and well-insulated, indoor air quality is not extra credit, so we have a complete indoor air quality system. And then, on top of that, the house is so ready for zero energy performance, we've gone to also look at including solar-ready construction features that are low-cost, no-cost, and potentially can save the owners thousands of dollars in the future when they would be interested in putting a solar system in. Then, we encourage builders to look at water efficient performance, because water is such a significant issue. Then these homes are such high-performance homes likely to last well into the future, hundreds of years, we encourage disaster resistance so that the prevalent risk of fire, earthquake, weather special events, doesn't undermine that longevity. And lastly, we are asking builders to include lots of improvements, so we believe quality management that helps them apply these innovations most effectively is another last system that should be considered. Now the whole solar energy portion of this should be extra credit at the end, or when the home is sold. We're indifferent, but the house should look at solar as a last step after you do the complete systems that are on the lock and 100-, 200-year opportunity costs. This is a house powered zero, and this is the Zero Energy Ready Home program requirements along with the encouraged recommendations that we have for all builders. So with all these systems, we wind up with key value propositions.

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The first is that the house will live better. It will live better because in fact it's an engineered comfort condition. Now I've heard concerns about us using the term engineered comfort, because, in fact, it's not how each home's engineering calculations apply to each home, but in fact, the engineering principles that are applied in our mind drive the concept of engineered comfort. How we engineer for the wall systems and the window selection and the HVAC system installations, all lead to absolutely new levels of control of surface temperatures, and comfort delivery, that are unique in many cases to new home construction. On top of that, these homes live better because of the healthier living performance. These homes include a comprehensive package of measures from the EPA Indoor airPLUS label, and therefore include a full range of improvements that EPA recommends should be in every new home. Now the second major set of value propositions is that these homes work better. They work so well, in fact, that the utility bills are extremely low, and in some cases they can go to zero, where the renewable system is included during construction. On top of that, they work better because of advanced technologies used throughout the house, often with many performance advantages on top of the energy savings. And then the last set of value propositions is that they last better. If you ensure quality construction throughout the home, much, much more attention to verification and testing diagnostics, and so very significant improvements that can lead to improved quality. And then the homes last better because they have more durability that comes from better control of moisture issues that can occur, better windows that block UV damage, better quality components that are all from (inaudible) to last longer. These are homes that just live, work, and last better. On top of that, these are also exclusive homes. About 1 percent or less of the builders in the country will be providing homes that meet these exceptional standards of performance. On top of that, these homes also are built to future expectations, so they're visionary. It's like getting a 2020 model car today in 2014. This is a home built to the next expected curve changes and often with many requirements that we expect to be set in the future, that's mandatory requirements. So you're able to buy a home that won't be obsolete in two or three or four years like most of your homes will be. And then lastly, these homes can be smart homes, where the cost of the home results in an increased mortgage less than the increased monthly utility savings. In other words, homes that are better homes that cost less to own, is our definition of smart. So these are the value propositions that we're bringing to the American homebuyer. And in every way, we expect the consumer experience to be one that is far exceeding what has been the expectations of the past. So this is the value propositions.

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So the question is, how do you translate these value propositions? And often, if you look in the marketplace today, and you look at messaging and billboards, this is a common message. "From the high 100s to 2, 3, 400s," geographic location, "trust me, we're a builder," "you want to buy from us." This becomes the default message far too often, and once you take your home and build it to the Zero Energy Ready Home level, your message can now change to a much different message. "My power bill is $5. What's yours? -- Heather Robbins, Garbett homeowner." Now everything changes here. This is just a very easy-to-understand message. This builder is building a home that's completely different. An experience I've never had. A utility bill that's $5. Or $10 or $20. And it's not the builder saying the message. Something amazing happens in this phase, when you move to zero energy ready performance. In fact, you often, in our mind, gain each and every customer at your new sales force. And again, because you're far exceeding the expectations of what homebuyers have been having in the past. This is a whole new experience. Taking that experience and transferring it to the public face of your business as a homebuilder, can lead to these kinds of messages. And to show you that this isn't only one builder with this message, here's another builder in our program, De Young Properties. And again, a very similar kind of message: "My cool mom's August electric bill was -$60. What was yours?" Again, confronting their homebuyer with a consequence that, if you don't buy a home this good, you're missing this kind of opportunity.

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De Young Properties also goes after the visionary value proposition we just talked about with this advertising message. "You don't need to imagine a home in the year 2020. It's already here." Again, as I mentioned earlier, the 2020 model car here today. This is where homes are going. This is where they have to go. This is too much value for the consumer. A better house for lower cost. You don't need to wait for that time in the future.

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Now that we have these great value propositions, what resources do we provide within DOE and the Zero Energy Ready Home program to help message these value propositions?

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Well, the first thing that we have, and that's being wrapped up in the very near term, is the Zero Energy Ready Home sales sheet that can be used at the point of sale. Essentially what this sales sheet looks to do is to, in the most simple terms and graphic terms, make it easy for each and every homebuyer to understand why to jump up to Zero Energy Ready Home performance. Now, for us the constant benchmark that's out there for Zero Energy Ready Home is the ENERGY STAR home or the existing home. Those are the primary choices you have. And so those became comparison bars for us to convey the value propositions. The green bars are the Zero Energy Ready Home. The blue bar is the EPA ENERGY STAR-certified home built to the basic requirements of the program, and the existing home is based on a 1993 Meck house as a surrogate for all existing homes. It's a fairly recent vintage so it's very conservative in our estimation. And we look at the specifications that are associated with each and every one of these choices. Existing, ENERGY STAR, and Zero Ready. This is the comparison that you wind up with. And what's really important for us is that the sales process doesn't need to explain any metrics, any numbers, just the consequences of your decisions. And let me explain how that works in a second, but before I do go to the comparison, do notice that this will be a customizable sheet that will have the builder's name able to be entered. Here's one of our partner's name thrown on as an example. So it's not just about the Zero Energy Ready Home program. It's about each and every builder that chooses to partner with the program.

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So now let's look at these bars in more detail. Let's say you wanted to convey the value proposition that your house is healthy. All you need to do is to show your homebuyer, Mr. and Mrs. Jones, under healthful living, our home includes all the recommendations by the U.S. EPA recommended for each and every new home. And in comparison, you get about half of those recommendations with the Energy Star-qualified home. And with the existing home, very uncertain if you get any or hardly any of those recommendations. So for you and your family, what you can feel great with this Zero Energy Ready Home, is knowing that you are getting the complete protection recommended by the nation's leading organizational expert on healthful living. And that becomes a very simply explanation. I didn't have to explain a number, any metric. All I had to say, here's the consequence. If you want all the health recommendations to protect your family, you get them with the Zero Energy house. If you get a minimum ENERGY STAR home, you get about half of those recommendations, and a very small amount with an existing home. And you can go right on down the line. For comfort, you get about most recommendations that can lead to the best performing comfort homes, you get about 30, 40 percent less with an ENERGY STAR home, and you get substantially less with an existing home. How important is comfort to you, Mr. and Mrs. Jones? Isn't it great to know that this choice gives you the maximum comfort recommended by the nation's leading experts? Same with technology. Same with efficiency. And again, no numbers, no metrics. Very simple to explain the difference between Zero Energy Ready Home and the other likely choices the consumer has in the marketplace. Now, where do these bars come from? How do we calculate them?

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Well, that's made obvious by -- that's made clear by a document that's on our website that details each and every one of these bar's calculations and the quantitative analysis that went into developing them. So for instance, if you want to know why the Ultra-Efficient bar stops four ticks from the end, when the healthful environment bar goes all the way to the end for Zero Energy Ready Home, it's because we have to be honest and fair and accurate in these estimations, and under Ultra-Efficient, you actually can do more efficient construction with the Passive House program and those specifications. That would yield about a bar four ticks longer all the way to the end. That's maximum performance in the marketplace. Now the reason why Zero Energy Ready Home chooses the length that we did was, these are the recommendations from the nation's leading experts for the most cost-effective level of energy-efficient performance. And that's what we are tied to. Now under Healthful Environment, there is the reason the bar goes to the end is because the most comprehensive set of health recommendations from EPA associated with the Indoor airPLUS label, Zero Energy Ready Home requires a full Indoor airPLUS label, so the bar for that particular value proposition extends all the way across to the very end. Again, all of these calculations and assumptions are included in the document on our website that explains the quantified analysis that went into developing this tool.

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Now, the other tool we have for translating these value propositions is the Zero Energy Ready Home customizable brochure. And again, this should look very familiar based on the last discussion we had. The brochure goes into the three cornerstones to the value propositions. These homes live, work, and last better. And then under each of those, it has those value propositions enumerated, and the bars are carried forward just like you saw on the fact sheet that we provide for point-of-sale messaging to consumers. The exact same bars, the exact same message. In the case of the brochure, the text is there. And again, if I found a homebuyer and they told us the reason they were looking to buy a house is that their kids have been very uncomfortable and sick in the last house, and they want a new house where they can live in more healthy conditions, all I need to do is circle in a big, broad pen, "Healthful Environment" and explain that every DOE Zero Energy Ready Home has a comprehensive package of measures to minimize dangerous pollutants, provide continuous fresh air, and effectively filter the air you breathe. Mr. and Mrs. Jones, wouldn't you agree, if you're looking for healthier living for your family, this is the kind of home you'd want to have for you and your family? Now you can move on and show them the rest of the house. And like the fact sheet, it's customizable, where you can add the builder's name and contact information, and our partners can do that when they go on our website and use this resource. I'll also show that for a buyer who's interested in buying a new home but may be a new buyer, I'm really fearful that they're not making a good decision for their first decision, and it's such a scary decision the first time out, you can circle the "House of the Future Today. Only a select group of the top builders," an exclusive builder, and you won't have to worry about this house being a good choice. Again, address the needs of a first-time buyer. The brochure can be used to address any number of different concerns that buyers have. Again, the most important thing here is that we're effectively instilling consistent messaging, because it's really important to provide clear communication to buyers about why they should look for a specific brand.

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Sticking with marketing, the next thing we want to talk about in terms of resources is how we provide consumer recognition.

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And the key tool for that is helping consumers find the builders that are partners in the Zero Energy Ready Home label. And so on the website, consumers will go and simply click on their state and then get a link to all the builders in that state working with this program, and their contact information And we'll give special recognition to the builders for the encouraged or extra credit commitments, 100 percent Zero Energy Ready Home commitment, the water efficient commitment through WaterSense, the disaster resistance commitment through the Fortified Home label, and quality construction extra credit through the Quality Management icon for builders that follow the recommendations from DOE for that purpose. They also will find information about the number of labeled homes and a direct website link where provided by the builder partner. So all the active partners will be listed. Consumers can find them, and get there to Zero Energy Ready Home.

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The page when they click on it looks something like this, when I click on an individual state. The builders are listed. The icons are listed. The contact information, the number of homes, and so forth. So this is a very big resource for our builders for helping consumers find you if you're in this select space of building Zero Energy Ready Homes.

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Now the other marketing recognition for consumers that's available is that the software itself produces certificates that recognize the home as Zero Energy Ready, including the logo itself. And these certifications include rating details and specifically the HERS index number. It also has information about what's included in the home and any optional programs like Indoor airPLUS label, WaterSense, disaster resistance, Quality Management we just talked about. So this label or certificate comes from the software. It goes directly to the buyer and is a significant documentation that they bought a very exclusive home.

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And then there also, in consumer recognition, DOE is working with each and every builder in the program to develop profiles for each of the labeled homes. And the reason we're doing this is, 1, to showcase this growing evidence of market-based or often market-based priced homes that are meeting these extraordinary levels of excellence in home construction. And these fact sheets are two to four pages, depending on choices of what you want to read, and they feature the measures that are used to build a home, some of the data about the construction in terms of sizes and so forth, who the builder is, obviously the images. And the reason we're collecting this data is eventually in the near future we want to also convert it into a Zero Energy parade of homes, where homebuyers can go and use the parade of home tool (under a new name, since that's a trademark name), but they go and virtually take a very similar tour to a parade site of homes, designed exclusively around Zero Energy Ready Homes. So in their geographic area, they can see any number of homes. They get wonderful pictures of these homes, see hopefully actual utility bills, wonderful experiences from homeowners in terms of quotes about their experience living in these homes. So the consumer recognition starting with these profiles will build into a way for the nation's home-buying public to actually tour the homes in your location that are at this level of performance.

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Sticking with recognition, we also provide resources for getting awards, if you're a partner in the program.

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And that's mostly revolving around something called the Housing Innovation Awards. It's given every year. When the Solar Decathlon -- in the year that it's being presented to the public, then we do our Housing Innovation Awards at the Solar Decathlon. In the off year, when the Solar Decathlon is not a public event, we do the awards at the Energy and Environmental Building Alliance, or EEBA, conference. This year, it's in St. Louis at the end of September. Hundreds and hundreds of industry professionals will acknowledge the amazing achievements of the partners in our program. Basically, what this is, is a very strong marketing tool for partners. Because when they achieve these awards, they really are at a level of distinction for doing something very special in the housing industry. So again, that very few builders are doing, and this helps them, again, at the point of sale, to differentiate themselves as a distinguished builder.

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Lastly, in the recognition side of things, I want to talk about the appraisal recognition process and what we can do during the market transaction when homes are sold to help ensure that their value is better understood. And there are a number of things going on to help address this in terms of legislation, that would mandate recognition in the appraisal process.

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But really not waiting for that kind of legislative action, which may or may not happen, what we've done is develop a four-step process that we can help use to guide builders, how to maximize the opportunity for the value of their Zero Energy Ready Home to be recognized during appraisals. And it's all tied to the green appraisal addendum that's been issued by the appraisal institute. And so this applies to a wide variety of programs, not just the Zero Energy Ready Home program. But once you have verification that you're in a high-performance program like Zero Energy Ready Home, you can begin the process. So that's step 1.

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Get your documentation that you're Zero Energy Ready Home, and then you go to step 2, which then, you go to a lender. And you say to the lender, I have documentation I'm a high- performance home, Zero Energy Ready. I specify only a green residential appraiser. And these are appraisers that have taken the Appraisal Institute Green Appraiser course, and now are listed as taking that course and passing the exam associated with that course. Very few consumers know to ask for this, of course, so the builder has this resource to know to help their buyer to tell the lender they want a green residential appraiser. That is a very important step 2.

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Step 3, is now to complete the green appraisal form that was developed by the Appraisal Institute. That form can be downloaded from their website. More importantly, right now RESNET has done a great job working with their software providers, so this form will actually be printed from the HERS software tools and will be prepopulated with -- based on all the measures that have been specified in the actual HERS rating.

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And I'll show you the form. It's just lots and lots of areas where the measures that go into making a high-performance home can be enumerated and specified specifically on these forms.

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So the last step is for the financing partner to then hand off this prepopulated appraisal -- green appraisal form -- to the green appraiser, and then the appraiser has that as a reference from which they can do their appraisal. And because they're trained in green appraisals, the hope is that the understanding and recognition of the value will be much higher. And in fact, we have anecdotal evidence that in those markets where the green appraisers are growing, in fact there is a very strong recognition of the value. Now in some markets, the availability of green appraisers is limited, so there is a process to keep increasing the population of these appraisers who take the course and pass the exam and then are on that list. So this is a process. But essentially, we do have a resource from which you can much, much more likely increase the chance of the value of your home being much more accurately reflected. The other thing that DOE is doing is we're setting up a financing partnership with lenders who make a commitment to actually facilitate this process. That means they do two things. Again, they help you find a green appraiser from the list of appraisers who have taken the course and passed the exam. And the second thing that the lenders do for our partners in this process or program will be, they agree and commit to hand off the populated pre-appraisal form that you have, that you typically get from the software -- you could do it manually -- and hand that completed, populated, pre-appraisal form to the green appraiser. And that's going to be an important partnership because it will help identify lenders that you know, if you work with them, are committed to this process. So that's the recognition and the appraisal process. And I think many builders report back to us that they're getting good experiences when they do actually follow it.

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OK, let's move on to the last section of the Zero Energy Ready Home resources. And this deals with knowledge. And I'm going to first talk about training.

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Many of you may have experienced or gone to some of our training classes around the country. We've done about 35 to date. We do a four-hour module on Zero Energy Ready Homes. And we basically cover the program in an overview kind of perspective for those four hours. Part 1 of the training deals with establishing clear definition for Zero Energy Ready performance. Then we discuss the visible future, including the hard trends that show a very substantial link between where the future is going and Zero Energy Ready performance. Then we often introduce builders in that market where the training is being held who are already in this space. Who are already constructing homes that are Zero Energy Ready Homes. And we have them introduce to the attendees in the class how they got to that level of performance, what business decisions led them to go there, what their lessons learned have been, or the challenges in the present and the future they see, as they continue to grow and be even more viable Zero Energy Ready Home builders. It's an invaluable module in the course where the class attendees get to hear from actual builders about their experiences at this level of construction. And then we talk about the value propositions that we went through very quickly earlier. And then the business case for why builders should consider today building to this level of performance.

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Part 2 of the training course we do provides a very good overview of the specs, but the operative word here is overview. In the four hours' time that we have to cover everything, we do a good basic introduction to the ENERGY STAR for Homes baseline, the requirements of Super Air-Tight Construction, the minimum 2012 International Energy Conservation Code Institution levels required for all homes, advanced window specifications and why they're so important, ducts in conditioned space and the six different ways that can be achieved, how to do efficient hot water distribution and the three strategies for how that can be achieved, all about efficient components that can be used throughout the home. We do a short run-through of the Indoor airPLUS specifications that ensure a good indoor air quality. And then we go through renewable ready construction requirements, which are required in the parts of the country that have a very strong solar resource. And then we talk about the performance threshold requirements that are tied to a minimum HERS score and how that is done with a target home specification, setting a score for each and every home. That's a lot to cover. More about that in a second. Then the course wraps up with, again, how you can get recognition working with the Zero Energy Ready Home program for achieving this level of excellence. And lastly, the training course wraps up where we have a local HERS rater stand up and talk about how they work with builders in their market. And this is critical because when we do our training classes and provide the guidance and training that day, we leave the next day or that day. So it's important to make the connection with the local solution for how the builders coming to the class can now work with local verification experts to achieve Zero Energy Ready Home performance.

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I mentioned that's a lot to cover in four hours. So in fact, we recognize that, and what we do with the Zero Energy Ready Home, in terms of knowledge, is also provide an ongoing set of webinars throughout the year. Two to three webinars a month has been our schedule. And what we try to do with these webinars is go through that detailed technical specifications and break out each core requirement into a level 200, sometimes level 300, module for the webinar. We bring in some of the best experts in the country, either directly from the Building America program, or sometimes we call in outside experts who are very generous to share their knowledge with our stakeholders. And so the kinds of topics that you can expect to see through the year are building science, and a good review of why building science is so important, how it works in home construction. We talk about high-R enclosures, the attics, the walls, the windows, the floors, the basements -- how is that best achieved, and what are the optimum efficient levels and how you get there. And then once you get a high-R enclosure, how do you do low-load HVAC systems that know how to work with and provide and ensure comfort with homes with such low heating and cooling requirements? So we have a low-load HVAC webinar. We have whole-house ventilation webinars that explain the many choices you have and the many different technical issues associated with each choice for whole-house ventilation. A detailed webinar on ducts in conditioned space. Gary Klein generously gave two sessions on efficient hot water distribution. Those webinars are already on our website on a permanent basis. And again, covering the various choices and solutions for how you get hot water from the tank to the fixtures much more efficiently. We'll be doing webinars on indoor air quality and the Indoor airPLUS package. We're doing webinars on renewable ready construction in much more detail. Water efficient solutions for comprehensive water conservation. We had the first two disaster resistance webinars, from the manager for the Institute of Business and Home Safety and Fortified Home program. And then we'll be doing webinars on quality management and how you can apply proven practices for optimizing the performance of your construction process, which is reducing heat vacs, minimizing waste, and very important details for high-performance homes. So the webinars is a very big resource for our stakeholders.

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And the last point about knowledge that we go after is on the sales side, and we have a sales training program that's starting this July for the first time. We will road-test this for about six or seven different in-person training classes, and then offer it as a Web-based training program. And what the sales training course does is, it covers five major skills. Under "Knowledge Matters," it teaches the class attendees how to use the amazing resource from Building America and the Zero Energy Ready Home program. It's called the Building America Solution Center. It's the most effective way for the sales staff working on these kinds of homes to get so quickly up to speed about the technical solutions that help achieve that performance. The second skill that we teach is about why words matter and how to use more effective words. And the skill we give the class in the sales training program is how do you apply a new tool called the Building Science Translator. That tool will be released in October, but currently we have hard copies of the detailed backup glossary that's driving the translator. We'll be teaching the class how to use much, much more effective words that shift from technical jargon to words based on the consumer experience and experiences that are so extraordinary compared to the typical homes. The third skill we go after addresses why resonance matters. Do you connect with each homebuyer in a way that speaks to their concerns? And we teach how to use the Zero Energy Ready Home brochure and fact sheet. Often with these bars we talked about earlier, to convey consequences, and the consequences that they care about the most. And that comes from the fourth skill that we teach, about why questions matter, and how to ask questions that cover customer needs that are unique to that customer. And also questions that relate, get at commonalities between you, the sales person, and the customer. The ease of selling and building trust where you share some background elements with a buyer are tremendously enhanced when you have those commonalities. And then the last skill we teach to, in the sales training program, is a 45-second mini-close, where we convey a very dependable process for taking a value proposition that the buyer cares about tied to a specific feature and conveying it in a way that goes through benefits that resonate with the buyer and lead to a mini-close within 45 seconds. So that's a lot to cover in a day. We'll get a hope that we get through all of this. And we're starting this particular resource in July.

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So going through the knowledge, I wanted to do a quick review of the Building America Solution Center. I know we've done a webinar on this last month or a month and a half ago. And it's such an important resource for the stakeholders in this program. I do want to go through a quick review.

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And so the key thing about the Building America Solution Center is that there are four easy interfaces that get you to the knowledge you need to be the expert. When the consumer knows more than the sales person, things usually don't go well. You have to be the expert. You need a resource that you know is dependable and provides you the latest and most useful content you need to be the expert with each and every buyer. And so there are four interfaces that help you get to that content, literally in seconds. So you can be the expert on each and every measure included in the homes that you're selling. So "Building Components" helps you get to guides about each measure based on the components themselves. The checklist gets you to the components or measures of interest, based on the program that you're working with. ENERGY STAR, Zero Energy Ready Home has a checklist being introduced later this summer, there will be checklists for Indoor airPLUS, for WaterSense, and there will be a checklist for existing homes starting next year. That will get you to measures and content specifically tailored to retrofitting existing homes. And then we can search on the guides themselves directly. If you just know that you want to go back to a certain guide, you look for a guide under a certain subject, you just can go to a list of guides, and find your content very quickly that way. If you're a user who's a little more advanced user and want much more detailed content, the Building Science explorer helps you find the detailed publications, case studies, full reference documents, that are often the driving force behind the content in the guides themselves. So four easy ways to get the content you need.

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Now in terms of the checklists, again, this is an image of a page that's coming shortly, as we add all the new checklists for Zero Energy, airPLUS, WaterSense, Renewable Ready. So you'll be able to go to a Solution Center and pick the checklist of interest and find it right away.

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Now let's say, as an example, you're working with ENERGY STAR for Homes and you want to get information on an attic knee wall. Well, you click on the Zero Energy Ready Home checklist and you can get to -- oh, first, before I go the attic knee wall, let me show you when you go to the Zero Energy Ready Home checklist, how this one's going to work. Because there are many components to the checklist tied to other programs, there will be direct links to those program checklists. So as we mentioned earlier, ENERGY STAR for Homes is a prerequisite for each and every Zero Energy Ready Home. So to meet that requirement with Zero Energy Ready Home, you would click on ENERGY STAR for Homes baseline, and it would take you to the ENERGY STAR checklist. Similarly, Indoor airPLUS is a requirement for Zero Energy Ready Home, so under the indoor air quality component of the program, when you click on that it will take you to the Indoor airPLUS checklist. And if you're doing renewable ready because you had a required solar resource to do renewable ready, you can click on that requirement for Zero Energy Ready Home and go to the Renewable Ready checklist. Now similarly, the encouraged program elements like water efficient, and disaster resistance, they'll have their links and checklists, as well. So the checklist is a very effective way to get the content you want.

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And if you pulled up, for instance, the Indoor airPLUS checklist, it would look like, very much like, the program requirements. You have seven major categories of requirements, and each of those would lead to detailed checklist requirements, that you can then highlight and go to a specific guide.

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So let's take you through the example I was ahead of myself with just a moment before. Let's say you are wanting to find a guide for the attic knee wall. You're working with the ENERGY STAR for Homes program. You know it's a requirement in the thermal enclosure checklist, so you click on the thermal enclosure checklist, and that will open up all the key subject areas for that checklist. We know it's an air barrier requirement, so we click on "Air Barrier." And then you get to the full list of air barriers that are required for ENERGY STAR version 3, and then you go down the list and come to attic knee wall. You click on "Attic Knee Wall," and it will take you directly to the guide. More about the guide in a minute. But let's show you another way to get to the same place, using the Building Component explorer.

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So if you're in the Component explorer, in a very similar fashion, if you want to find an attic knee wall, you know it revolves around the walls and openings, so you click on the "Walls and Openings." And now again, you know the attic knee wall is an air barrer, so you click on the "Air Barrier" and you get a full list of the air barriers covered in the Solution Center. Click on the "Attic Knee Wall" to get to the guide on the attic knee wall. So again, within seconds you get to the content you want. What is this content?

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So each measure virtually is linked to a guide. And a guide basically is an eight-tab resource that provides extremely useful information for a applying the innovation. Remember, the Building America Solution Center is not a resource for sizing or calculating the loads in a building. What the Solution Center is used for is when you know the basic measures of interest, either from the HERS software calculation or other simulation you may have done, and you want to create packages of guidance for how to best do the requirements of the program. You go into the Solution Center to find how to apply all the various measures associated with high-performance homes. And if you remember in this case, we pulled up the attic knee wall and we got there easily from the ENERGY STAR checklist or the Component explorer. And the first tab that you'll see is the scope. And it really refers to scope of work or another way of saying specifications. And essentially, this is a resource you can use to write a construction contract with a trade partner to install a measure like an attic knee wall, or it could be specific, or it could be the specifications that you put on a set of architectural contract documents to help ensure that your bidding process is based on the level of quality that will be a complete attic knee wall. So this includes basic specifications to ensure the measure is installed properly. That's the first tab.

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On the second tab is a description. And that helps provide a simple explanation of the measure, how it works, what its purpose is. And in addition, it will typically include the step-by-step, how-to-install-the-measure guidance. What it takes to put this measure in correctly. So your description is your background and your knowledge about how the measure is installed. Then "Ensuring Success" is a tab that tries to connect this measure with other related measures or building science issues that need to be addressed to avoid unexpected outcomes. So "Ensuring Success" effectively is your way to get consistent results that meet your expectations. Often tied to related building science issues, and other measures, again, that are tied to this particular attic knee wall.

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Now under "Climate," you'll get specific conditions that relate to the different climate locations where the measure might be installed. The other thing that will happen is if you're a registered user, and the tool knows where you're located, it will flash a climate warning when there is a specific climate issue associated with how this measure is applied. So again, to avoid mistakes and get the outcomes that you're after.

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Under "Training," you'll get the full list of images that we have for each measure. Often they're tied to good and bad practices. Sometimes there's sequential practices. And these images are great for in the field or in classrooms, for showing workers or attendees the proper way to install versus the incorrect way to install a measure. As the Building America Solution Center gets more and more developed and populated with resources, look for videos and presentations on individual measures to be posted, as well.

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Under "CAD," we will provide a growing list of CAD drawings in both .dwg and PDF file formats, so that they can be dropped in construction documents. And again, help ensure a contractual obligation by the trade partner to install the measure correctly and per details that are tried and true for this individual technology or practice. So essentially, these are great for doing construction documents.

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Then under "Compliance," a full list of standards and codes and provisions that are linked and references for this measure are provided, including the voluntary programs like ENERGY STAR, Zero Energy Ready Home. The links will take you directly to the program resource where this particular measure is addressed. The only exception will be if a code or standard document is a proprietary document that has to be paid for. The link will take you to the document itself but not to the content about this measure, because there is this constraint that you can't go there without paying first. So the compliance document is an amazing resource for all the myriad codes, standards, and programs that reference the measure that you're interested in.

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And the last tab is more information. And this provides links to case studies about that referenced measure and reference reports that are unabridged and cover the details and a lot of research findings and best practices associated with this measure. So this is a very useful way to find great documentation in much more detail than just what's covered in the guides.

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So these eight tabs are an amazing array of content for specified training or to learn about what it takes to build high-performance homes. And what's so significant about this resource is that it's a living database in several ways. One is, you can provide feedback. If you look at the top, below the "Attic Knee Wall" name, you'll see an opportunity to register and then log in to provide feedback. We are hoping and promoting this tool to be a community tool where the users actually provide feedback about any possible errors they may have found in the content, any complementary information that they want to connect us to, or actually submit additional content that would enhance the usefulness of this tool. Already you will notice there are a lot of CAD drawings that are submitted from other organizations that we are able to use. Where we get content from outside organizations, we reference the source of those next to the content itself. But feedback is a great way to create a community of users, and when they submit content, we then send it through a review process with the Building America experts before we post it. So again, make sure there's a peer review type of process on all content before it's submitted and posted into the tool itself. So the feedback is a very powerful way to create a community of users, and that's one way it's a very different kind of resource for technical information. The other reason why it's so different is because all the content we developed from our program for the Solution Center goes into the database. And when there's existing content, there's a process to first see if that content is no longer valid, in which case it will be pulled. Or if it's still valid, then the new content is added to complement the existing content that is there. So what it means is that when you go to the Solution Center, you don't have to worry about getting outdated information. You are going to the Solution Center, and it's a maintained database, which is really critical. So that if there's new or better information, the old information is pulled, the better information replaces it. Very amazing resource.

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Now, in terms of how to get information quickly, there are some other tools I'll reference. There are galleries of all the graphics and images. You can go directly there and search to find what you're looking for. When you find an image you want, you click on it, and then it's enlarged. Again, you'll see the reference for who submitted the image, if it's not from us directly. And then you can save it or not save it to a personal field guide. You could concurrently customize field guides for community projects or classes or presentations as you want. You can save whole guides with specific content like images to your customized information.

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And in the same way, there's a gallery for the CAD drawings. You go there, click on a CAD drawing, and it blows it up, and you can save it as a .dwg or a PDF file. And again, you can you build your own personal field guide or again you can collect whole guides and dump it into your content that you have accessible to you.

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And in terms of that access, there's an actual Web-based application called Solutions that is referring to the Building America Solution Center. And if you click on that, what that will do is give you immediate access to the field guides that you have been creating. And even if you have no wi-fi signal, that will mean that you have access to your information wherever you are. So again, you may be in the field, not have a good signal, you want to show a construction crew some images of what you expect them to do in terms of putting up house wrap or pan flashing or a window, and you pull up those images and guidance wherever you are, with your field kit, in the mobile application and make that work for you at any location.

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So that's the Building America Solution Center. The last new tool I want to wrap up with is the Building America Building Science Translator. Think of this as a new language or value for committing the amazing value propositions and benefits associated with high-performance Zero Energy Ready Homes.

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It's all based on this concept that words matter. Not only do they matter, they matter a lot.

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Often I talk about examples from outside the housing industry. Here's one of those cases. It's really difficult to sell Patagonian toothfish. It just does not resonate with consumers. It was just a horrible name. This was a fish that simply could not sell in the marketplace. So the industry came up with a much more exotic and attractive name. And it became the Chilean sea bass.

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And the sales basically went like a magnitude higher for this particular fish. Only because the name changed. The fish did not change in taste. It did not change in texture. It only changed in name. Sales exploded. Words matter a lot.

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And so consider something like political forces where you're trying to rally public opinion for or against a particular cause. By example, there's a group that really was upset with the estate tax. Did not want it as an additional tax burden on the American public. But it made sense to have an estate tax. If you have an estate, you deserve to be taxed.

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So again, it changed names to the death tax. And why should you be taxed just because you die? And so just by changing names, the organization's efforts to try and build public opinion against a specific tax was so successful. Names, words, matter.

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Now in our own industry, it's always amazing to me that we're out there trying to sell an energy audit, knowing full-well there isn't anyone who wants to be audited. So why would you choose a name and a consumer experience that has such a negative meaning to each and every person, when you can go with a name that has a positive experience?

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A check-up. It's good to go for a check-up and make sure you're healthy -- why don't we do the same with your house? It's the most expensive asset you own. Let's protect that asset. Let's protect your health. It becomes a much different proposition than "I need to audit your home."

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Similarly, we don't have any consumer experience where we make choices with how we spend our money where we consider payback. It's just not how we consider our spending choices as a consumer. And yet, we're trying to invent a new concept and then try to explain it to the consumer when considering the relative merit of making or not making an energy-efficient investment.

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Instead, we have this unique ability, particularly in new construction, where we can lower the cost of ownership with a 30-year mortgage by resulting in an increase in the mortgage much, much less than the increase in the energy savings. The savings far exceed the incremental mortgage. Why wouldn't you spend less on the better house and in fact to become an even easier message.

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More comfortable, durable, healthy, safe home from lower cost every month of ownership. This applies to existing homes, as well, because in existing homes, often when you get during the transaction process to buy that home, an energy-efficient mortgage or longer-term mortgage to pay for the energy improvements.

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Now we can kind of work our way down to specific measures, and ask the same question: Why do we call a transfer grill a transfer grill? Why would a consumer want a transfer grill?

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So instead, what we do is, let's think of the consumer experience. What a transfer grill does, is enable the air to go from a bedroom to a hallway, so the house -- so that when the doors close in the bedroom, you still have comfort throughout the time the door's closed. It's a comfort thing. So if we can name something by the experience, maybe the interest by the consumer in that measure goes up accordingly.

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I'm going to go through a number of these measures. I'll just do a few to again, keep explaining the importance of the language we use when we speak to the public. It's very difficult to sell a ventilation system. Why do we need a ventilation system? What's the whole issue with ventilation?

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But everyone wants fresh air. And every time it feels stuffy in our homes, we make a choice to go outside and get some fresh air. We understand fresh air as something that's important in our life every day. Why wouldn't we name a ventilation system a fresh-air system?

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I saw one builder trying to do everything in their home with labels that help explain all the wonderful things they were doing. When I saw a label for a drywall clip that enabled a two-stud corner, I was like, what consumer would care about a drywall clip?

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But essentially, because you tied both pieces of sheetrock in a corner to a single piece of wood, versus two different pieces of wood, you now have a crack-free corner. So again, a consumer experience that might resonate with the buyer.

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We can go on and on. But let's go back to a larger issue, which is the zero energy home issue. There's a contingent that want to call it the net zero energy home. There's another contingent that want to call it the zero net energy home. And this is based on the engineering understanding that these homes net out at zero. They're not truly zero energy homes. They do consume something, but then you put the renewable energy system in and the net outcome is, it's a zero energy home. And we think we have to do this because of the engineering accuracy behind it, but I'll make you a promise that "net" is just not a power word. We take something incredibly powerful like the word "zero," and we choose for some reason to diminish it by adding the word "net" in front or back of it.

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If we got rid of "net" in both cases, we'd wind up with the same concept, the zero energy home. That's the power word. That's what's resonating in the marketplace today. So I always challenge programs and groups that still want to stick with the word "net" in front of or back of "zero."

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So, with solar, it's a zero energy home. Without solar, it's a zero energy ready home. I prefer to promote the zero energy ready home in all cases because most homeowners may not see zero. There's a number of behaviors and technology choices they can make in their own living choices for that house that wind up without a zero energy bill. And so, I like the idea of protecting the builder, and I love the name of our program, Zero Energy Ready, both for the fact that it's ready for solar and even with solar, I like the "ready" component because I can choose to put in 10 or 12 LED TVs. I can put in very expensive equipment that uses lots of energy for certain hobbies, whatever they may be. I may have a lot of children in the house who take long showers. I don't know what each individual home situation is. But in any case, you get the idea that "zero" is the power word, and that's the word that we want to emphasize.

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So in summary, it's hard to sell the technical function or the engineering concept.

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It's much easier to sell the customer experience. That's what we're shooting for with this Building Science Translator.

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We're moving from a technical jargon to a language of value.

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And so, one of the things we're thinking of doing, is we're going to develop a -- one of the things we're in process of doing is we've developed a glossary of terms that we're vetting right now with the public. And we have in effect a whole new way of talking about each and every measure that goes into a high-performance home, so we see ourselves adding a new tab to the Building America Solution Center that might for instance say "Translator." And remember how you can click on each tab to get the content you want. If you click on "Translator," effectively you would get content about how to translate that measure -- in this case, transfer grill -- into the power word that will resonate with consumers in a comfort vent. So this is our new glossary.

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If I would blow up this particular translator content, one concept we have for what that might look like is, you have a very simple description that a consumer or even sales person might use to learn and understand about this measure. Then you have the related measures that they should know about because they relate to the use of the transfer grill or the alternative options for the transfer grill. Jump duct, pressure valves, and room by room return ducts are examples of those related measures. And then we will have alternate terms. Because what we'll see as we -- as you look more and more into the translator, is we recognize that there's no obligation to always use the same term for a specific measure. If the measure contributes multiple value propositions -- maybe there's a different term for each value proposition. More about this in a minute. And there on the bottom we have a sample sales message of how you would convey to a consumer the value associated with this measure using the power word versus the old technical jargon. And so this might be the translated content that you've come to.

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Now how would this work? Let's go back to the value propositions for the Zero Energy Ready Home. And if you remember, there are three cornerstones. These are homes that live, work, and last better. And there are two value propositions with each of those cornerstones. And again, back to the condition where we have a homeowner coming who really values healthful living. So wouldn't it be great besides just circling the "Healthful Environment," we then say ...

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"By the way, Mr. and Mrs. Jones, here's a full sheet of all the improvements that we made to your house that help protect you and your children each and every day in your home." And, again, a customized point-of-sale sheet about healthful environment that lists all the improvements, maybe the images or graphics that help kind of build out the sheet to be more easy to look at and use all the power word terms to convey the value. Another way of doing this is, as we expect, there will be a litany of terms, often 40, 50 different measures.

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Each value proposition associated with the Zero Energy Ready Home, you just can provide them with a complete list of all the things that make this house equipped for healthful living. And here's all the things that we do for our home. And really what's happening is, we're thinking of creating a tool where you go to a checklist, click on the fact that you're Zero Energy Ready Home, and then you show the choices you made where you had options, of how did you do pressure balancing -- well, we chose transfer grill, we'll use the term for transfer grill. We chose a jump duct -- we can use a term for jump duct. But essentially, there are some things where you don't have choices and things where you have lots of choices, and the tool then would populate a sheet just about that value proposition. Again, because there might be different terms for what you call a term for healthful living, versus comfort, versus energy savings, there'll be different terms conveying the exact same measure on each sheet. And for instance, a window might be under "Comfort," a quiet window. Under "Energy Efficient," it might be a super window or a high-efficient window. And under "Durability," it might be a solar damage protection window. Whatever the terms will be that we choose. So rather than calling it just one term, advanced window, under three different value proposition sheets, you use the term that again is directly linked to the experience for that measure, even though it's different under each sheet. And so there might be a sheet for engineered comfort. Some of the same measures, using different terms. A sheet for ultra-efficient, a sheet for why your house has advanced technology, why it's quality-built, and why it's more durable, and again customized with your name as a builder and your contact information. So it's a great companion piece to the brochure that really drives home, there's a lot going on here in each and every house, so it takes the Building Translator and converts it into a marketing sales resource, as well.

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So that's -- a lot of the resources we tended to cover today, you can say that there's a lot going on to help you as a Zero Energy Ready Home builder, HERS verifier, program manager, code official -- whatever you're doing with your interest with Zero Energy Ready Home, there's a lot of great content that we have for you.

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And again, you can see that we covered a lot of the resources that we normally present at the end of each and every webinar in a lot more detail. So I hope a lot of these resources are much better understood by our audience and that you do take advantage of road-testing them and seeing how they work. They're amazingly useful resources to help you be more effective communicating Zero Energy Ready Homes.

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And that brings us to the end of today's webinar. Another exciting run-through of things happening at the Zero Energy Ready Home program. And I'm going to let Lindsay pass along any questions you may all have about those resources.

Lindsay Parker:
Thanks, Sam. That was a very, very informative webinar. We did have some questions come in from the audience. Thank-you all for sending through your questions whenever you had them. So we did get one question regarding the up-front cost of Zero Energy Ready Home. So, the question is, what is the value proposition for up-front costs in terms of Zero Energy Ready Home, and how do you deal with those costs?

Sam Rashkin:
OK, so the question is, how do you, within the value proposition messaging, an increased cost, first cost, for Zero Energy Ready Homes -- how do you address those two issues? First of all, let me say there's a cost analysis on our website that shows a different set of cost results for different climate zones to achieve Zero Energy Ready Home that we did, based on standard resources for cost data, means, and other RS means analysis, database systems. And other information we had from the Building America program. We did this completely aligned with the ENERGY STAR Homes program, so their cost analysis is completely coordinated with ours. And we both came up with a set of cost numbers for what it takes to achieve Zero Energy Ready Home on average and without the learning curve of benefits that occur very quickly as you start constructing these homes. The quick cut to the results of that study are that on average, it runs about $5,500 to $8,000 above a 2009 IECC to achieve Zero Energy Ready Home performance. Now a big word of caution about these numbers. Again, they're based on very conservative data and numbers, and we find a lot of builders in the program who can achieve Zero Energy Ready Home for much less cost. And we did find some builders doing a Zero Energy Ready Home for a lot more cost because they choose to use a lot more higher-end solutions and often include the renewable energy component, which is not required but adds a substaintial cost, as well.

But to get back to the question, what do you do in terms of the cost and messaging. The cost is not really the cost. The cost is just something that reflects the value of the home you purchased. Its impact on cost is on your mortgage, and even $8,000 only adds about $30 a month to your mortgage after taxes. So the question is, I now own a home that has $8,000 more value; it's costing me $30 a month more to live in this house -- what is the benefits from that $30? And the first benefit, by the way, is the utility bill savings, which, let's say you're at $70 or $80 a month. So right away, you're living in a lower-cost solution by choosing the Zero Energy Ready Home choice with the higher value. And then, what's it worth to you to live in a healthier home? We've had a number of builders in our sales training who speak to experiences where they sold homes to families whose children were so sick and needed inhalers and within months were able to throw away the inhalers. What's the value of getting their kids healthy enough to no longer need inhalers, to those families? Is it more than that 50 cents a day or not worth 50 cents a day? And that's before the energy savings. So a lot of these cost numbers are just so -- they're so difficult to address because there are so many value benefits to each and every buyer. So the most obvious one, though, is to show that per month, these homes cost less to own and you get all these improvements and benefits in your life for making this choice. Not to mention you're buying a home built for the future that's not going to be obsolete in three or four years. And so you can work around that. But essentially the cost data always comes up and I think that's probably the easiest way for us to address it. One more last thing about cost data is, when you see numbers from us, the bigger concern you should have is, how are so many builders in the program doing it for so much less than we are calculating based on the national cost data resources? And you need to know how are all your competitors finding all these learning curve solutions that are reducing their costs to achieve this level of performance.

Lindsay Parker:
Great, thanks, Sam. We had a number of participants who had a question about retrofitting a home from the 1960s. Is it cost-effective for homeowners to be able to update to this efficiency? And is it feasible?

Sam Rashkin:
Yes. I always get interest about, can we bring our existing homes up to this level of performance? And in fact, we dedicated the first Zero Energy Ready Home retrofit about a month ago, as well, in Dallas, or right near Dallas. And they showed that it in fact could be done and it could be done very cost-effectively. But the true answer is, it really depends. It depends on each and every market's conditions in terms of weather and climate, each and every home's construction practices that we used to build that home. And some other cost issues associated with each location. So the answer is it can, but what should be done, though, is that the recommendations and best practices advocated in Zero Energy Ready Home are equally valid for existing as well as new constructions. All of these recommendations are geared around reducing the risk for the builder to providing the best performance for the most cost-effective outcomes and therefore, they're equally relevant. The question becomes one of calibrating the additional requirements because of existing construction constraints, the choices that were made, and factoring them into the mix. When you make a choice, how far you go. But the big thing is that you need to address the same principles that are being applied in these specifications. You need to be minimizing your risk when you do an existing home retrofit. Everything changes when you start to convert a low-performance home to a high-performance home. You're converting that home to one that can no longer dry if it gets wet. So if you're adding insulation to the walls, do you know for sure that you have pan-flashing at the windows, kick-out flashing where the walls meet the roof, and is your weather resistant layer complete and working comprehensively? If it's not, you could be setting yourself up for a problem because you now create a wall that can't dry and you're not addressing the issues around the moisture that used to be in the walls, that were not in initially and could dry, and one that leads to mold and dry-rot problems. So you've got to make sure you're applying the same principles and stay out of trouble with moisture issues. In the same fashion, the house will be much, much better insulated, so it will now have cold surfaces where it never used to have cold surfaces. And those now are becoming wetting surfaces, where air can get through to that cold surface, it will be a wetting event. And are you absolutely diligent about controlling the air flow so from the inside, in a cold climate, it can't get to the inside face or the outside sheathing that's now cold. You need to know that you're doing that. And then on the comfort side, you now have a much more efficient house with much lower heating and cooling loads. Is your cooling system and heating system going to still work effectively? Does it accommodate those changes that you've made to your house? So all these things have to be integrated. You'll have longer swing seasons with no heating and no cooling. Where you have residual latent load or moisture loads that you have to manage because it's still humid while it's not cold enough for air conditioning, are you still going to have comfort, relative to humidity? If not, are you addressing those systems, as well? So I don't want to scare anyone, but essentially, this does take a little more expertise than you could do as a homeowner to figure out, if you're not trained in all these building science principles. I encourage you to work with experts and HERS verifiers and other people who can help you take an existing home to high performance.

Lindsay Parker:
Great, thanks, Sam. You did speak to the sales technique that's coming up, the new training that you're going to be doing. Can you give some detail into the outlook on how this will be, going across the nation? (inaudible)

Sam Rashkin:
Yea, the way the sales training is going to be kinda of disseminated from the Zero Energy Ready Home program is that we're going to take chances to go to markets with the most homes going under construction and the most agents who need to be informed and trained to be effective communicating to the consumer the value of those homes. And do in-person classes at those locations. So I suspect we'll do about six to seven of those classes around the country, mostly by invitation. We may proactively go after certain markets where we see a very substantial growth occurring and suggest they take advantage of this resource. And once we've gone through those six or seven classes, and we feel we have a very solid repeatable training program, we'll then go on and set up a Web-based training that will be available 24/7, and recommend people take it online that way. And thereafter do much more limited training, again, only to the markets where the most substantial number of homes are constructed to the program specifications.

Lindsay Parker:
Thank-you. Let's do one more. Let's see ... Will there be a grade system like LEED for these types of home, Zero Energy Ready Homes?

Sam Rashkin:
So that question is, will there be a grading system or a rating system like LEED for the Zero Energy Ready Home. Certified gold, silver, bronze, platinum, and so forth. And we're just the opposite of that. Rating systems or grading programs are usually based on achieving enough points. And unfortunately for me, that doesn't let us then have those bankable value propositions. Not to be pejorative, but a green program, the way they're typically constructed, is a program where you earn a bunch of points required to achieve one of four levels of greenness. And because it's points, and it's wonderful levels of greenness, I don't know what the promise to the consumer is, that I use points for energy and less points for air quality, and so how do I have a constant promise about air quality or energy? Or they give you more points about durability or more points for water. And so it becomes very difficult, because you're really about just a point game to get enough points to earn a level of greenness. In contrast, Zero Energy Ready is strictly enforcing complete systems, so that we have that whole value propositions. Our point is that we don't think people want a portion of water protection; they want all water protection. People don't want maybe bad air quality when it comes to combustion products, but they're fine with better air quality when it comes to mold. We just think they want the entire attribute. So essentially, we look for off-the-shelf solutions to complete systems -- airPLUS, Indoor airPLUS Assured, comprehensive attention of indoor environmental measures. Where we did building science and water protection, we went to the complete system for building science from the ENERGY STAR version 3 new homes program. When we wanted complete systems for renewable ready, we went to the EPA Renewable Ready checklist, cleaned that up for main street builders. And we're in one complete system for disaster resistance, and water conservation, when they're encouraged. We didn't have a portion of the requirements, doing complete systems for Fortified Home and WaterSense, respectively. So our program is very different from green programs. We know this. We don't have a lot of entry points, but you have a very powerful consumer message. You've done complete systems that are so integral to the experience of each and every buyer has in these homes.

Lindsay Parker:
Alright. Thank-you, Sam.

Sam Rashkin:
OK, thank-you, everyone, for attending. You have a website for getting lots of good information and these resources we've talked about, right on this screen. And any further questions, this website or the email address listed is going to get you answers to your questions. Thank-you very much for attending. Hope you come to our next webinar. Look for the announcements.