RaterFest!

RaterFest! is an annual two and a half day training conference for home energy professionals.   Registration includes all sessions, housing, meals, activities, Colorado craft brews, and optional participation in the RaterOlympics.

Group Discounts:

  • If you have 3 or more people,  each person from your company gets 10% off

Contact Hannah to receive a custom discount code for your group.


Instructors:

2017 Speakers TBA

Conference | September 15-17, 2017 | Covenant Heights, Estes Park, CO

Program
Overview

Program Overview

Education:

Our field is exciting… we think the training should be too. Unbeatable training for energy professionals is our standard.

Innovation:

Whether during a session or around the bonfire, brilliant ideas always surface… inevitable with so many great minds together.

Celebration:

RaterFest! celebrates the ways that energy professionals are saving the world… one efficient home at a time.  From the RaterOlympics to music jams and Colorado craft brews in the evening, RaterFest! is the perfect balance of education and fun.

Credits & Attendance

Each year RaterFest! is accredited for RESNET® and BPI CEUs.

RaterFest! is a RESNET regional conference.
RESNET Logo


Presenters

2017 speaker list will be posted late spring of 2017.

Shawna Henderson, CEO of Blue House Energy

Cy Kilbourn, Founder & Director of Engineering at Ekotrope

Ziv Rozenblum, Founder & CEO of Ekotrope

Ari Rapport, Program Manager at IBACOS

Colby Swanson, Co-Founder of Momentum Innovation Group

Ben Polly, Building Energy Research Engineer for NREL

Blake Reid, Owner of Terrawatt

Steve Byers, CEO of EnergyLogic, Inc

 

More About our Presenters:

Shawna Henderson, CEO of Blue House Energy

Self-professed building science wonk here. I’ve been working in the field of energy-efficiency and housing in Canada since 1992. I’m passionate about building science and energy efficiency and how collaboration and cross-pollination can make our industry a bigger, better piece of the sustainability puzzle.

I wear the Blue House Energy (BHE) CEO hat the most these days. BHE is dedicated to online training in building science and energy efficiency. Our mission is to create and deliver quality training on a stable learning platform into the hands of aligned regional and national partners who want to deliver great learning solutions to their programs and clients.

Under my Bfreehomes Design hat, I work with eight to fifteen clients each year on sustainable and accessible/aging-in-place design and consulting projects from deep energy retrofits to net zero energy new houses. Bfreehomes keeps my boots on the ground and in the field doing applied research.

I have presented at regional and national conferences on everything from deep energy retrofits to solar thermal system design. I am also the author of books related to sustainable housing (The Cool Climate Solar Home Design Manual, Earthscan Publishers, 2010, The Canadian Solar Home Design Manual, Solar Nova Scotia, 2009). In addition, I’m on the steering committee for BPI Canada and the erstwhile Canadian Correspondent for Home Energy Magazine. Told ya I was a wonk.
When I’m not being a wonk, I’m getting filthy in my garden, hanging out with my kids, or sleeping. I used to teach bellydancing, so get ready for a lesson or two after a few craft brews!

 

Blake Reid, Owner of Terrawatt

A former Peace Corps Volunteer and educator for the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum, Blake’s been doing home performance work since 2009.

The importance of clear communication was driven home while hitchhiking on a boxcar with West African cross-continent diamond smugglers, when he helped grease their way through military checkpoints with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.  Later, having used up his limited supply with a private pilot on the African coast, he was caught unawares and nearly thrown into a Mozambican jail.  Since then he has spoken publicly to more than 100,000 people and hardly any of them have threatened him with jail time.  You probably won’t either, but you never know.

However, he was arrested recently while protesting fossil-fuel storage in underground salt caverns in the Finger Lakes region of New York (climate zone 6), where he lives.  He doesn’t think he was “causing public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm” (it was more private than public), but has learned not to quibble.  It is in that spirit that he’s excited to come to RaterFest!, as the terms of his arraignment do not seem to specifically prohibit travel across state lines.  When you see him, he might be on the lam.  Or not.  It’s unclear.

In the off-hours from his day job, he built the Trumansburg Montessori School, a 19th-century-style high-performance one-room schoolhouse for Very Small People, because he believes that too many Very Small People are sentenced to church-basement schooling with poor IAQ, at the exact time when their minds are most absorbent, ready to learn, and in need of a healthy environment.

Blake lives by certain maxims: “Different things are important to different people,” “Clean things work better,” and “Do not try to change the world.  Change yourself, and the world will change with you.”  He just quit that steady job to experiment with the independent home performance consultant model, and is slowly working through the bottles in the back of the liquor cabinet.  Find him at terrawatthome.com, facebook, twitter, and LinkedIn.

 

Colby Swanson, Co-Founder of Momentum Innovation Group

Mr. Swanson is a residential construction dude, innovator, technology scout and serial entrepreneur. He has a 360 degree understanding of the industry working as a framer/builder, building failures forensics expert, utility/insurance consultant, and corporate strategist. It is these unique perspectives that allow Mr. Swanson to see the trajectory of industry trends and product needs many years into the future. Upon graduating with a BS degree in Biochemistry he started his first of five companies.

 

Ben Polly, Building Energy Research Engineer for NREL

Ben joined NREL in 2009. He specializes in the development, validation, and application of energy analysis approaches for individual buildings and collections of buildings. He has developed and applied software testing approaches for residential audit tools and associated utility bill calibration methods, methods for calculating life-cycle-cost-optimal retrofit packages, and approaches for analyzing measured energy consumption to estimate retrofit energy savings and improve software prediction accuracy. Ben’s current research interests also include net zero buildings and neighborhoods, urban energy design and optimization, inverse design of buildings systems and materials, and smart grid-enabling building technologies.

In addition to his work at NREL, Ben serves on the Building Performance Institute (BPI) Data & Modeling Standards Technical Committee (STC) and several industry working groups for BPI and the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET).

 

Ari Rapport, Program Manager at IBACOS

Ari leads IBACOS’ Homes That Give Back initiative, which is focused on changing the way homes are designed, constructed, and delivered. This vision is based on IBACOS’ fundamental belief that all homes must be safe, healthy, durable, comfortable, efficient, responsible, connected, and affordable. Ari also partners with leading industry manufacturers, state and federal governments, and other industry stakeholders to research, develop, and integrate new building products, technologies, and methods into the homebuilding industry.

Ari is a certified Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Rater and has over ten years of experience performing home energy ratings per Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) Standards, and he is a champion for the DOE’s Zero Energy Ready Home program.

 

Cy Kilbourn, Founder & Director of Engineering at Ekotrope

Cy Kilbourn is a co-founder and Director of Engineering at Ekotrope, a Boston-based software company that helps building designers make smart energy decisions and reduce construction costs. Cy spent time at Brown University and M.I.T. developing the patented optimization algorithms behind Ekotrope software and lead the development effort to establish Ekotrope as a RESNET accredited HERS Rating software. Since then, Cy has worked with some of the largest builders in the country to help improve their energy design strategies and with some of the leading HERS Rating Providers to understand their needs and develop HERS Rating software solutions.

 

Ziv Rozenblum, Found & CEO of Ekotrope

Ziv Rozenblum is a co-founder and CEO of Ekotrope, a Boston-based software company that helps building designers make smart energy decisions and reduce construction costs. Ziv is an industry executive (HP, Archibus, Israeli Air Force) with over 20 years of experience in R&D and business capacities. Ziv’s experience includes defining, building and leading a multi-million dollar solutions for managing buildings and energy systems. Ziv holds an M.S. in Engineering and Management from MIT Sloan, M.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Tel-Aviv University, B.S., Cum Laude, in Mechanical Engineering from the Technion (Israel Institute of Technology) and B.A., Cum Laude, in Computer Science from Bar-Ilan University. Ziv lives happily in Boston with his wife and three young kids and enjoys scuba diving, reading and hiking. When he was much younger he was a professional basketball trainer and scaled mount Kenya (the second highest mountain in Africa).

 

Steve Byers, Principal & CEO of EnergyLogic

Steve was raised in a military family, so: Colorado, Georgia, Virginia, Germany to name a few spots. After graduating from the Air Force Academy, he flew C-130’s for five years. Not knowing exactly what he wanted to do, he got out of the Air Force, married Wynne Maggi and moved to Atlanta where she was completing her PhD in Anthropology. This meant that Steve went to Pakistan with Wynne and performed important tasks like chopping wood and what not. After that, he got his start in energy at Southface Energy Institute, starting as an intern and working his way up to running field operations.

Returning to Colorado, Steve and Wynne started EnergySmiths which later merged with BuiltWright to form EnergyLogic. Steve and Wynne have two lovely daughters and live in Berthoud, Wynne’s hometown and a great place to live. Having never truly had a hometown, Steve is dedicated to building sustainable community in his adoptive hometown. He and Wynne run the summer outdoor film festival in Berthoud as a small part of that commitment.

Steve has his Bachelor’s degree in Asian history from the Air Force Academy and an MPA from Georgia State University. He is a RESNET certified Trainer and Quality Assurance Designee. Hiking, gardening, movies, reading and great beer are a few of his favorite things.

New bios added weekly! Check back soon!

Session
Descriptions

On the Agenda for 2016

Mine the Gap!
Shawna Henderson

How to create successful opportunities to improve contractor knowledge of building science and home performance when there’s no formal training plan required or available.

There is a clear and well-known knowledge gap in our industry. Industry capability is well below industry capacity — meaning competency to delivery home performance is well below what we could be doing. There are many drivers, but we’ll focus on two that raters bump into regularly.

The building and renovation industry is essentially a series of old-time craft guilds, reliant on each other to create or upgrade houses, but made up of separate and autonomous experts. Building science wonks (yes, you, raters) are the new kids on the block, making incursions into long-held territories. Head-butting and general grumpiness can result.

Home performance contracting, on the other hand, is burdened with a ‘trickle down education’ system, where the minimum ticket for entry is an individual certification, and the rest of the firm will ‘get it’, eventually, depending on the capacity of the certified person to train others, or the commitment of the firm to get everyone else trained. Poor performance and high callback rates can result.

This has been the situation for 20+ years – how’s that workin’ for ya?

This session will explore ideas and approaches to turn the dreaded knowledge gap into a veritable gold mine of opportunities to get the contractors you work with to level up, in real time, in the field. We’ll explore some of the gaps, barriers and issues. Then we’ll dive into incorporating proven strategies that drive buy-in and participation from a slew of different fields including adult education, marketing, instructional design and software start-ups.

Learning outcomes:

1. Describe the obstacles that create, and perpetuate, the building science knowledge gap.
2. Apply marketing ‘personas’ to your own mix of contractors (and other stakeholders) who need to buy into building science and home performance.
3. Employ at least 3 different strategies to get contractors to engage in building science challenges with you.

 

Home Grown Story Winner: IEQ for Very Small People
Blake Reid

My wife is a preschool teacher. She’s a certified Montessorian for children ages 3-6, her specialty.  The Montessori philosophy of education is credited to Maria Montessori, an Italian doctor, educator, and all-around badass. In 1907, she was shunted off by her male colleagues to open a school for disadvantaged inner-city troublesome street kids. They hoped she’d fail.  Instead, she created the first Casa dei Bambini (“house of children”).

In order for her method to succeed, the “prepared environment” needs to be especially excellent.  As defined by her, “the first aim of the prepared environment is…to render the growing child independent of the adult.”  But, being small, Very Small People need an environment that is much more free of distractions.  Big People have more of an ability to tune out “noise.”

What constitutes an acceptable environment?  How can we design a space that meets the needs of the intended occupants, while being mindful of the realities of a small business?  Can we keep them healthy, focused, and developing?  The Trumansburg Montessori School was built as a market-driven experiment, and was supposed to be:

  • clean
  • quiet
  • healthy
  • energy-efficient
  • a sanctuary
  • carbon-neutral

It would not be:

  • loud
  • expensive
  • fossil-fuel driven
  • a stinky basement

We offered tuition trades if parents contributed labor, used locally available & recycled materials when possible, spent at least ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS on work-session beer, introduced advanced building techniques to a community, and achieved 0.6 ACH50.  But does it work?  What were the failures?  What did/does it cost?

What would we change, if we had the chance to re-do the thing that was supposed to be perfect?

“It’s just preschool,” some say.  But preschool IS school.  And Very Small People are still People.

 

Construction Innovation: What’s New? What Will Really Make a Difference?
Colby Swanson & Steve Byers

Ready for another episode of “Real or Not Real?”  Colby and Steve will present some of the best innovations in construction technology, along with a few mixed in that are just daydreams of what could be.  This session will challenge you to explore the newest ideas around building efficiency and how our industry could put them to use.

 

Energy in Homes Doesn’t Have to Be Intense!
Ben Polly

You have probably heard the statistic many times: residential building represent approximately 20% of total U.S. energy consumption. But how has the energy consumed in residential buildings changed over time and how is it projected to change in the coming years? What end uses are becoming more efficient? What end uses are representing a larger fraction of the energy use in homes? What energy use intensity (EUI) levels are average and what EUI levels are top-notch high performance homes? How do EUI levels correspond to energy ratings?

This session will provide an overview of energy consumption in U.S. residential buildings. It will also describe how the U.S Department of Energy’s Building America program is working to lower EUI values in newly constructed homes and upgraded existing homes through focused research and technical support.

Learning outcomes:

1. Understand U.S. buildings sector energy consumption trends, including relationship between site and source energy.

2. Learn how Building America is bridging the gap between emerging technologies and market adoption through focused research projects.

3. Identify opportunities for Building America technical support to achieve high level of performance.

 

What is the Cost of Quality?
Ari Rapport

What’s the real Cost of Quality, and how much profit are builders losing (or simplyleaving on the table) by not tracking and acting on certain metrics? For the past couple of years, IBACOS and the Housing Innovation Alliance have been exploring these questions and have created our Cost of Quality research to generate a roadmap that builders can use to quickly identify the areas that have the greatest potential to add profit back to their bottom lines—perhaps as much as $10,000+ per house. While we are far from having a definitive, complete answer, we have learned much from our journey and in this session we will share the current results of our research.

Key learning objectives include:

  • What IBACOS has learned from research into the Cost of Quality so far.
  • What the true economic opportunity is – anecdotes of real world quality successes and failures.
  • See how 21 builders that represented nearly 10% of the housing starts in 2014 stack up against 8 key business metrics tied to construction quality.
  • Insights from other industries, including commercial construction.

 

Software Innovation: Benefitting the Home Energy Rating Business.

Cy Kilbourn & Ziv Rozenblum

In this presentation the Ekotrope team will talk about how innovation in software can benefit the home energy rating business and how Ekotrope implemented innovation into its approach and products in order to:

  • Reduce cycle time
  • Improve communication between the different stakeholders
  • Reduce administrative workload and time
  • Reduce input errors
  • Increase impact and influence on builders’ decisions
  • Have more fun doing energy analysis!

Key learning objectives include:

  • How to leverage software tools today to improve their business.
  • How the HERS rating software landscape will change in the next 12-18 months.

 

Disrupting Homebuilding: A Hands-On, Team Oriented Workshop

Steve Byers

This workshop will begin with a discussion of the state of homebuilding, past, present and future disruptors and finish with your chance to build the ultimate disruption plan.
Learning outcomes:

  • Identify key areas for improvement
  • Develop new solutions for improving homebuilding process
  • Strengthen relationships between energy professionals through group problem solving
  • Discuss the future of home energy professionals

Photos of
RaterFest!

 

Event
Logistics

Event Logistics

Schedule

 

Transportation

The best airport to fly into is the Denver International Airport.  Below are suggested options for transportation between the airport and Covenant Heights:

  • Estes Park Shuttle. ($85 round trip) They have a shuttle that will leave DIA at 1:00 PM on the 18th, which should get you to our location in time. It will drop you off at Covenant Heights. When booking, select “Estes Park: Camps” in the “Drop-Off Location” field. After that, another drop down should appear, choose “Estes Park: Covenant Heights Conference Center – Main Office”
  • Car Pool.  Contact Hannah if you are interested in carpooling from DIA.  A few weeks prior to the conference, a list will be sent out to everyone who signed-up with with the contact information of other attendees interested in carpooling.

What RaterFest! Previous Attendees Have to Say…

“RaterFest 2014 was a great event in a beautiful setting with interesting attendees and presentations. It is probably the most enjoyable way to get CEUs I could imagine. Thanks to EnergyLogic for coordinating this event!” Jeremy Draper, RF! 2014

“What a fantastic event! Great facility with an awesome group in attendance. Excellent content as always. Thoroughly enjoyed the fire-side chats on topics ranging from Building Science to Code to kids. The food and accommodations were outstanding and the beer… ah, the beer was truly the nectar of the gods. Being largely disconnected from the outside world made it so much easier to connect with each other at RaterFest! 2014!!” Stephen Davis, RF! 2014

“First time to Rater Fest. Solid training and great networking. Thanks for making it happen!” Shawn LeMons, RF! 2014

“I had a wonderful time for the third year in a row! Rater Fest is a great way to meet associates, update our knowledge and band together to energy efficiency in buildings.” Nancy Kellogg, RF! 2014

“The element of Raterfest that made it stand out from other conferences was the specific focus on the role of the rater. Networking with such a diverse group of people doing that same work that I do was invaluable for me. And the site was fantastic!” Heidi McCullough, RF! 2014

“I am a huge fan of RaterFest. The organizers acheive a perfect balance of learning, engaging conversation, and nature … a sort of “unconference” that you walk away from feeling like you were part of something special! When was the last time you could say that about a conference? I know why it’s called RaterFest now … Looking forward to the next one!” Colby Swanson, RF! 2014

“What a great time! It’s rare that you can pack so much education and fun into the same event. As a code official, it was great to hear what is happening on the rater side of things and what is coming down the pike as far as innovations, policies, procedures and technology. I look forward to enhancing the rater/code official relationship and already looking forward to next year’s event!!” Shaunna Mozingo, RF! 2014

“Excellent gathering of building energy professionals.” Jack Beal, RF! 2014

“Great conference for catching up with folks in a relaxed and intimate setting while also knocking out those CEUs!” Laura Capps, RF! 2013

“I appreciated the balance between lecture and networking – with such a small group, the structure was particularly powerful.” Thiel Butner, RF! 2013

“Just like mother nature, RaterFest! is a force to reckoned with!” Andrea Ingalsbe, RaterFest! 2013 attendee

“Thank you so much for having Rater Fest, I totally enjoyed attending this event. I learned alot but meeting fellow raters was the best!” Nancy Kellog, RF! 2013
“This was an extremely informative session, and I truly enjoyed the hospitality. We will begin implementing some of the tactics presented, to improve our performance in the field. ‘What a Fest-Raters!’” Stephen Kassa, RF! 2013

“Tired of your old, dry, stuffy home performance conference? Trade it in for a fresh, lively, intimate, hands-on mountain high conference with down-to-earth building experts. Come to Raterfest!” Graham Davis, RF! 2013

“RaterFest! is truly unique within the mix of home performance conferences–national in scope yet small and intimate, high level, attracting a very unique group of professionals from the industry, and NOT in a Holiday Inn ballroom! My favorite event of the year.”

“Honestly, I was anticipating a bunch of nerds discussing building science. Turns out RaterFest! brought together the funnest, most dynamic group of people I have been with in a long time. There was no shortage of building science talk, but it was blended with the perfect amount of laughter, and beer, to make me want to come back again and again. Thanks for a great weekend!”