A closer look at cutting edge energy (and water) efficient products for buildings.


Insulation Options for Homes - Fiberglass

Without question, the most popular material used for insulating buildings is fiberglass, which comes in many forms, including rigid boards, batts, and blown/loose-fill product.

Fiberglass insulation has the distinction of not only being one of the most popular and recognizable building insulation materials, it is often the most affordable and includes significant environmental benefits as one of the largest users of recycled glass in the world.

Recognizing some of the unique challenges and perceptions of fiberglass batt insulation with respect to grade one installation, the fiberglass insulation industry is taking great care to provide training, education, and extra oversight for installation contractors to achieve high levels of quality.

In this class, you will learn what step are being taken to achieve these higher levels of quality and more, as we continue our exploration of the three most popular insulation products (cellulose, fiberglass and foam).

What we'll be covering:

  • The history of fiberglass insulation as a building product and in other industries
  • How fiberglass insulation is manufactured
  • The environmental benefits of fiberglass insulation
  • Batts vs. Blown/Loose-fill insulation
  • Efforts underway to ensure grade one installation levels of quality
  • Review some of the newest products being offered by the industry

Guest Speaker:   Shawn Mullins, Owens Corning

Shawn has been with Owens Corning for almost ten years, providing product sales and customer support with insulation installation, building and energy codes, and building science technical assistance.

Prior to joining Owens Corning, Shawn had his own company in Phoenix, Arizona where he, among other things, did work in the home energy and building performance industries as a RESNET HERS Rater and BPI Building Analyst.

Shawn currently serves as a manufacturer's representative on the RESNET Supplier Advisory Board and also as a board member of the Energy Efficiency Business Coalition in Colorado.

Guest Speaker:   Derek Fowler, Owens Corning 

Derek has been with Owens Corning since 2019 where he works with OC’s Certified Energy Experts (CEE) to provide marketing assistance and further elevate their businesses with training for their installers.

While Derek currently lives in North Carolina, prior to joining Owens Corning, he owned his own insulation contracting business in Nevada.

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Heat Pump Water Heaters

Heat pumps have grown in popularity over the past 50 years, but most people are not aware that the technology is almost 170 years old, invented by Austrian engineer Peter von Rittinger in the 1850's.

While most people think of heat pumps primarily in the home air conditioning and heating context, they are an integral part of many products we use every day in our lives, including the heating and cooling in our cars as well as refrigerators and freezers in our homes, and more recently in water heaters.

In fact, the history of heat pumps used for water heating dates back over 70 years, most famously in an accidental discovery by Robert Webber when experimenting with the deep freezer in the basement of his home in Indiana.

Much has changed in the technology of heat pump water heaters over 70 years, and with new federal tax credits and utility rebates incentivizing home owners and home builders to install heat pump water heaters, demand is expected to grow significantly.

This class will help you to understand how heat pump water heaters work, provide a deep dive into the latest in heat pump water heater technology, and make it clear why you should strongly consider installing one in the homes you design, build and even the one you live in.

What we'll be learning:

  • Why hybrid electric heat pump water heaters are significant to the US market
  • How heat pump water heaters us the same principles of refrigeration to move heat rather than create heat
  • The different types of heat pump water heaters
  • The environmental benefits of heat pump water heaters
  • The importance of proper site selection to maximize energy savings and home owner satisfaction
  • Requirements for proper installation and maintenance

Guest Speaker:   Gregg Holladay, Bradford White Corporation

Gregg works to educate utilities, architects, builders, engineers and plumbing/HVAC trades on the benefits of ENERGY STAR heat pump water heaters, including Bradford White’s own AeroTherm™ series.

Before joining the Bradford White team, Gregg spent 32 years with General Electric (GE) where he introduced GeoSpring™, the first ENERGY STAR electric heat pump water heater, to the US market.

As a pioneer in this industry, Gregg is considered an expert speaker on this topic, conducting countless numbers of webinars each year and advising utilities across the country on integration best practices for heat pump water heaters.

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Insulation Options for Homes -

For those who have participated in my Becoming a Building Science Expert and Maximizing Performance with Unvented Attics classes, you are all too aware of the importance of "thermal and air barrier alignment" in order for insulation to actually work.

You are also aware of the benefits of a loose fill insulation to achieving proper thermal and air barrier alignment, and that fiberglass, cellulose, and foam each have "loose fill" options available for maximizing the energy efficiency of homes.

In this class, you will not only learn the specific benefits of cellulose insulation when insulating the walls, floors and ceilings of homes, but also a number of other benefits you may not even be aware of.

We will be covering fiberglass and foam in future classes, so you don't want to miss this first of three classes focused on the most popular insulation options for homes.

What we'll be covering:

  • The benefits of loose fill cellulose insulation in the walls, floors and ceilings of homes
  • The environmental benefits of cellulose compared to other insulation products
  • How cellulose creates a much quieter home, both inside and from outside
  • Get an expert perspective on the true nature of "cellulose settling"
  • Learn the fire resistant qualities of modern cellulose products
  • Hear the latest information on how best to include cellulose insulation in multifamily construction projects

Guest Speaker:   Matthew Brennan, Greenfiber

Matt Brennan has been part of the building construction industry since the age of 14, eventually starting his own contracting business while in college, and then working in the milling and interior finish business with the Canadian company Sauder (now Metrie) where he worked in sales and operations.

Matt now works for Greenfiber (Canada), formerly Thermocell, helping contractors, designers, utilities, and home energy professionals to bring low carbon, high performance cellulose to more regions across north America.

Matt has a degree in economics and finance from Saint Mary’s University in Nova Scotia, Canada and will be completing his Passive House Consultant certification later this year.

Guest Speaker:   Luke Shortridge, Greenfiber

Luke Shortridge has over 23 years of experience in the construction industry.

Based in Scottsdale, Arizona, Luke is a Market Development Manager for Greenfiber for the southwest region of the United States where he supports single family and multifamily builders with solutions to save them time, money, and hassle using Greenfiber products.

Luke received a real estate and construction management degree from the University of Denver and enjoys playing golf and watching Denver Broncos football.

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Ventilation in homes is important to maintaining good indoor air quality, and even more important as the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and national energy efficiency programs like ENERGY STAR have increased building tightness requirements.

Recognizing this, ENERGY STAR started requiring mechanical ventilation in version 3.0 in 2010 and the IECC adopted a robust ventilation requirement in 2012.

There are a number of ventilation strategies available to home builders, but it is generally agreed that "Heat Recovery Ventilators" and "Energy Recovery Ventilators", also known as "HRVs" and "ERVs", are the very best strategy.

In the coldest climates, the IECC 2021 and energy programs like the US Department of Energy's Zero Energy Ready Home program now require HRV/ERV's.

In this information packed class you will learn why HRV/ERVs are considered "the best" ventilation strategy, why this strategy is required in the coldest climates, and much, much more!

What we'll be learning:

  • The most popular ventilation strategies for homes today
  • What is a Heat or Energy Recovery Ventilator and how do they work
  • Bust the common "myths" about HRV/ERVs, and learn the reasons why you would likely choose one for your own home
  • Examples of how HRV/ERVs are typically installed
  • Considerations when meeting code and how to ensure improved performance
  • Learn about a number of production home communities that have successfully included HRV/ERVs in their design

Guest Speaker:   Bryan Magnuson, Greenheck

Bryan Magnuson is Product Manager for the Residential Ventilation Group with Greenheck Fan Corporation.

Over the last 7 years, his group has worked to enhance and expand the residential ventilation product line and create affordable, high performance ventilation products that meet and exceed the increasingly stringent building code requirements.

Bryan holds a degree in Civil Engineering from Michigan Technological University. Prior to joining Greenheck, Bryan worked for a consulting engineering firm focusing on project management and delivery.

Guest Speaker:   Justin Erickson, E3 Energy, LLC

Justin Erickson is the co-owner and President of E3 Energy LLC, a building science company located in Flagstaff, Arizona.

E3 Energy is a leader in the high performance building industry in the southwest United States, providing consultation, testing, home energy rating services, and energy program certifications for home builders to increase the efficiency, healthfulness and safety of the homes they build.

Under Justin's leadership, E3 has successfully certified thousands of homes for national energy efficiency and indoor air quality programs, including the DOE Zero Energy Ready Home Program, EPA ENERGY STAR for Homes program, EPA Indoor airPLUS program, and US Green Building Council LEED for Homes program.

Justin and his team at E3 take great pride in working with some of the most cutting edge, award winning builders and building science professionals in the industry to design and test building techniques for the 21st century.

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There are many variations on the "insulated concrete form" (ICF) wall system, but few that utilize foam, concrete and steel quite the same way as HercuTech in their HercuWall wall system.

Since 2008, HercuTech has worked with home builders like Meritage, Mattamy and Woodside to build homes in Arizona and Florida, showcasing the benefits of their highly engineered wall system, including quieter living and lower utility bills for homeowners and shorter construction schedules and higher quality for home builders.

More recently, the HercuTech team has found a niche partnering with contractors like Sodella Construction to build hundreds of homes for the "build to rent" market, with over 1,000 more homes in the pipeline for construction.

In this class you will learn exactly how and why HercuWall is described as "common materials used in extraordinary ways."

What you'll be learning:

  • What types of buildings HercuWall can be used for
  • The "extraordinary ways" that HercuWall uses concrete, galvanized steel, polyester film coatings, and expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam
  • The complete list of benefits for homeowners/tenants living in HercuWall homes, as well as benefits to builders constructing with HercuWall
  • Hear the real world experience of a contractor who has built over 500 HercuWall homes, and has a large backlog to build many, many more
  • HercuTech's plans for expanding production and product delivery to key markets in the US

Guest Speaker:   Greg Garrison, HercuTech

Greg is a fifth-generation construction manager with over twenty years of experience in the construction industry.

He has been a part of the leadership team at HercuTech for the past eight years, helping bring the HercuWall product to market. 

Greg assisted with the final steps of product development, product testing, obtaining HercuWall code reports and the integration of the product into thousands of single family and multifamily homes.

Prior to joining the HercuTech team, Greg spent over twelve years in the commercial construction space working on facilities services projects, ground up warehousing, aircraft hangars, and a variety of US Department of Defense projects.

Guest Speaker:   Mike Mancini, SoDella Construction

Mike has over 20 years of experience in the construction industry, the past five years with his own general contracting company, SoDella Construction.

Before starting SoDella, Mike served as Vice President of Purchasing for Meritage Homes for over 10 years, overseeing purchasing in Arizona and 8 other states, ensuring cost effectiveness and high customer value for home buyers.

From 1999 to 2007, Mike worked with Homes by Towne overseeing planning, entitlements, contracting and field operations for over 1,000 multifamily units across Arizona.

He has a bachelors degree in civil engineering with a concentration in environmental engineering from Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York.

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Cold Climate Heat Pumps

All signs point to a future where most new homes will be all electric and, indeed, the movement in this direction is already underway.

According to the US Energy Information Administration, the percentage of homes that are all electric has increased from 20% in 2005 to 25% in 2015.

A big driver of this electrification is the growing popularity of "cold climate heat pumps" that deliver indoor heat even when the thermometer drops below zero outside.

In this class you will learn how cold climate heat pumps do this feat of magic, and much more.

What we'll be learning:

  • Why the market is now ready for cold climate/variable capacity heat pump technology
  • How heat pumps work in general, and "cold climate" heat pumps work in particular
  • The distinct advantages of cold climate heat pumps over other forms of heating for buidings
  • An overview of design and installation criteria
  • Example projects where hundreds of homes at a time are being built with cold climate heat pumps
  • Information on how you can design and build your next home with a cold climate heat pump

Guest Speaker:   Shawn LeMons, Mitsubishi Electric Trane HVAC US

Shawn is part of the Performance Construction Team with Mitsubishi Electric Trane HVAC, focused on efficient cooling and heating systems for residential new construction and high performance remodeling.

He has over 25 years of experience in the residential building industry with small and large companies, non-profits, and volunteer work, and since 2019, he has completed analysis and advising on over 7 million square feet of residential and commercial buildings.

Shawn strives to expand his building science knowledge and skills at every opportunity, and enjoys sharing that knowledge through hands-on training and mentoring for all levels of building professionals.

He has held certifications as a LEED Green Rater, PHIUS+ Verifier, HERS Rater, BPI professional, ICC Residential Energy Inspector, Level 1 Thermographer, and earned a BS in Business from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

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Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs)

The construction industry continues to face many challenges with maintaining quality in how buildings are assembled, labor shortages, increased material costs, and increasingly stringent and demanding building codes.

Penalized construction has been around for over 75 years, but today more than ever, can play a major role in addressing each of these challenges and, in doing so, move the construction industry to a much higher level of performance.

In this class you will learn how structural insulated panels (SIPs) are a solution to each of the challenges listed above, and much more.

What you'll be learning:

  • How SIPs increase quality, with fewer people, at lower costs, both in time and dollars
  • How SIPs are manufactured and assembled in the field
  • How to run wires and plumbing in SIP walls, roofs and floors
  • How to move a project from drawings, to engineering/design, to manufacturing, and finally delivery and product installation
  • See examples of successful residential projects the were multiple homes, not just custom one-off homes

Guest Speaker:   Phil Ligon, Premier SIPs

Phil Ligon is a Regional Sales Manager for Premier SIPs, the largest SIP manufacturer in North America.

With over twenty-five years of experience in the construction industry, Phil has spent the past 10+ years working with structural insulated panels, first as a SIP installer, builder and designer, and for the past six years with Premier SIPs delivering educational and sales presentations to architects, engineers, builders, framers, and homeowners.

For the past 50 years, Premier SIPs has focused on customer service and elevating the overall structural insulated panel industry.

In the 1980s, Premier invested heavily in research, field testing, third-partly testing, and code report substantiation to bring structural insulated panels into the International Building Code (IBC).

Premier serves their customers through education, pre-design expertise, and field jobsite training to ensure the SIPs framing portion of every project goes smoothly.

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Electric Vehicles & Battery Storage

All major auto manufacturers are moving towards converting their fleets to electric. Understanding the service entrance requirements for different level chargers will help you educate others on the best solution to “future proof” their homes.

In this class, you will learn common levels of EV infrastructure for residential EV charging and what requirements are coming in the next generation of codes and standards.

The Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) available for residential use are rapidly expanding. Understanding the basics of how energy storage works is foundational to working with these systems.

Truly understanding what "Thermal Runaway" is, and how to mitigate the potential hazards of certain chemistries used in BESS, is becoming more and more important for builders, designers, and code inspectors.

In this class, we will be reviewing the most recent code developments for safe deployment of these systems. Understanding the "why" of these requirements will provide you the necessary knowledge to stay ahead of others in the quality and safety of the homes you build, design, and inspect.

Guest Speaker:   Sharon Bonesteel, AIA, CBO, CP

Sharon has been a Senior Policy Analyst and Manager of Codes & Standards Initiatives at Salt River Project (SRP) for over 10 years, and has over 30 years of experience in the construction industry, including jurisdictional plan review and directing operations at her own architectural firm.

She leads SRP's enterprise-wide team focused on the safe deployment of battery energy storage systems and inverter-based resources, and provides expert witness consulting on batteries, fire and building code issues, as well as jurisdictional code enforcement.

Sharon brings this experience to the utility industry, facilitating the adoption of energy efficient building codes and providing education on codes and standards to the customers served by SRP.

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