Raters are Becoming… “Independent Building Analysts”

Author Archives: Emily Beierle

Raters are Becoming… “Independent Building Analysts”

A change to the Participating Rater Pathway

What will happen:
The Participating Raters pathway will have a new name: “Participating Independent Building Analysts”

When it will happen:
When the new portal rolls out, estimated for the end of February or March.

What is the new criteria for this participation pathway?

What role does an “Independent Building Analyst” fill?
We see two needs within the program that will be met by this new pathway. “Independent Building Analysts” can be hired by:

  1. Customers who wish to have an independent energy audit conducted by someone who is not in a position to sell them an upgrade or any other services
  2. Participating Contractors who wish to hire outside suppliers to handle completing combustion appliance safety (CAS) testing, whole house diagnostic assessments, energy modeling, and job submissions testing and modeling for their jobs instead of having in-house staff

Why is this change being made?

  • Originally, the “Participating Rater” pathway was designed to provide a way for Raters to manage project submissions under their own Portal account, in collaboration with Participating Contractors performing installation. This process has been under-utilized and has proven unnecessarily complex in terms of project tracking (QA, QC, etc.)
  • Nearly all CAS and diagnostic assessments, as well as energy-modeling services, are subcontracted to BPI-BA service providers or HERS II Raters that are also BPI-BAs, using the Participating Contractor’s account login to process incentive application submissions
  • The name “Participating Rater” is not customer friendly and does not adequately explain to the customer why they would need to hire an independent service instead of a contractor
  • HERS (II) Rating are not required for use in the Program. While we encourage comprehensive training and certifications to inform assessment of energy efficiency upgrade opportunities, we no longer need to require a certification to support Participating Rater pathway criteria that no longer exists
  • Requiring HERS (II) certification is an unnecessary barrier to entry for individuals and companies who can otherwise provide analyst services to the Program
  • We have required insurance proof, participation agreements, and background check confirmations from Participating Raters but have been leaving these verifications up to Participating Contractors when they subcontract with an outside BPI analyst. This makes it difficult to track for verification purposes and needs to be extended to all participating service providers to better ensure that anyone performing CAS testing and job submittal within our system has met (and continues to meet) all Program requirements

Thermostats: Set Points & Offers

When the weather outside is frightful, it’s time to turn up the heat!

Programmable Thermostat Set Points

When modeling thermostat set points in energy modeling software, the Program requires the use of software defaults. This helps keep predicted savings conservative and in closer alignment with actual savings and realization rates (on average), better managing customer incentive expectations.

For SnuggPro, please select thermostat type (e.g., programmable, non-programmable, etc.) and leave the set-point input fields blank, as this will prompt the software to populate those fields with default range values. Based on weather station and bill data (if available), SnuggPro picks the best values for the modeled building. Desktop QA will be looking to verify the following:

The default thermostat setpoints for SnuggPro (when left blank during input):
Heating (High/At Home) = 64-72 F
Heating (Low/Not at Home) = 60-68 F
Cooling (High/Not at Home) = 76-88 F
Cooling (Low/At Home) = 72-82 F

For OptiMiser, the software uses default values also, based on weather station and bill data (if available). Please do not change them. Desktop QA will be looking to verify the following:

OptiMiser existing buildings default (Simple Mode)

Heating (1 Set-Back/Programmable)
Day Temp: 70 F
Night Temp: 68F

Cooling (1 Set-Back/Programmable)
Home Temp: 78 F
Away Temp: 78 F

Heating (2 Set-Back Programmable/Smart)
Home/Wake Temp: 70 F
Work/Sleep Temp: 68 F

Cooling (2 Set-Back Programmable/Smart)
Home/Wake Temp: 78 F
Work/Sleep Temp: 78 F

Smart Thermostat Offer

Build It Green has partnered with Ecobee to provide an exciting volume discount exclusively for our participating contractors. The Ecobee 3lite thermostat will be available at the +10,000 unit price when ordered in full case quantities of eight, and Ecobee will pay the shipping. The Ecobee 3lite is compatible with all 24 volt comfort systems including two stage air handlers and heat pump systems. Contact your Build It Green account representative for more information.

Building Strong Business Relationships

  1. Be Authentic
    It’s easy to create a false persona, especially online, but that is not the way to start a relationship and short lived when we start qualifying people and companies. Find people and companies you feel a natural connection and ease of communication with and things you both have in common. The authenticity of connecting personality, beliefs and point of view can accelerate relationships.
  2. Identify Shared Goals and Values
    We seek out people in life we like and share similar goals and values with. Are they honest, kind, knowledgeable, helpful? How do they treat others? This is about moral character. Do we respect them? Too many people present themselves one way, only to take advantage of people once they have their trust. We may not always share the same point of view with everyone, but the shared values are a must.
  3. Develop Mutual Respect
    We prove ourselves over time and through different activities and experiences. Join a chamber, professional group, or online community, which are all great environments to develop relationships. Be patient, selective, and watch people in action. Building mutual respect is an essential for growing relationships.
  4. Share Some Vulnerability
    We are human and sometimes that means sharing and supporting people through difficulty, challenge and change. Showing our vulnerability is part of our authenticity. One word of caution: this is best shared with a select few rather than more publicly. Use good judgment here.
  5. Make Meaningful Connections for People to Network with Each Other
    The greatest compliment in business is a referral. We should be thoughtful, have the right motives, and be connecting people for the right reasons. Not all referrals work out. It takes two to make it happen and work, so don’t be doing all the work.
  6. Let Go of Expectations
    Always go into relationships with an open mind, realistic expectations, and never assume. People are only who we think they are based on what our interactions have been with them. If we have preconceived expectations of people, then we are setting ourselves up for disappointment.
  7. Schedule Brainstorming Time
    Block out dedicated time to brainstorm, engage, and do business together. Best to set a regular time, a time limit, and an agenda for what you want to accomplish in it. Leave some time for unexpected discussion.
  8. Offer Something Before Asking for Something
    When we educate, help, and inspire others with our experience and expertise, we are building the foundation for trust that underlies relationships that endure. When we blog, create content, speak, do a workshop, webinar, write an eBook, or go to events, we are serving and helping.
    When we get more serious and engaged on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media where community gathers and exchanges ideas, we are serving and helping. Serving and helping builds trust like nothing else.

Business Management Best Practices

  1. Assess yourself: Undertake a personal audit or self-assessment to identify your strengths and weaknesses. Work to your strengths and address your weaknesses – there is a great deal of help and assistance out there if you look.
  2. Surround yourself with a good team: You are responsible for producing, selling, customer care, financing, collecting bad debts, bookkeeping, etc. But it is not essential that you undertake all of these tasks unaided. It may be more cost-effective to allow professional and experienced people in particular sectors to assume some ‘chores’ with which you are not comfortable. This will you the time to undertake those tasks with which you are, paying for their work from the increased turnover you are now capable of earning.
  3. Assess your product: Are you confident that your product is of a high quality in design and production? Are you confident that there is a market for it? Are you confident that your potential customers will pay the price you calculate necessary to meet your costs?
  4. Know your market and competitors: It is essential that you know your market, as without this knowledge you cannot plan your route to market or the means of promotion you will use to inform your customers of your existence. It is also essential that you have a comprehensive knowledge of your competitors, as this knowledge will allow you to distinguish what the market will stand and identify the gaps in the market.
  5. The ability to recognize opportunities: Are you truly an entrepreneur? An entrepreneur will be studying the market and trends at all times and may go out on a limb (armed with good information) to seize an opportunity. All decisions should be taken based on information; knowledge is the greatest asset of any business.
  6. Costing and pricing: This is one of the most difficult tasks you need to address. It is imperative that you know your break-even point: the number of units sold that will cover the costs of your raw materials, your overheads, and your production time. Only when you know this figure (plus that of your competitors) will you be comfortable in the knowledge of how high or low your price may go.
  7. Good terms of trade and paperwork: Everything you communicate to your customer should be of a quality to promote you in a very positive manner. Your product should have good packaging, branding, and promotional materials. Your invoices should be clear and accurate and concisely show your terms of trade – how and when you expect to be paid.
  8. Keep clear records: There is no mystery to bookkeeping. It is nothing more than a filing system of the day-to-day transactions of your business. If you do not record and understand the transactions, your business will control you rather than you controlling it.
  9. Be tax-compliant: It is a legal obligation to register for tax with the Revenue Commissioners when you commence self-employment. Registering for tax does not necessarily mean paying tax in the early stages of your business. It may actually result in a repayment – should a number of circumstances be in play – for example, you may be paying PAYE on your employment while making a loss due to the investment in your craft business. Being able to claim the Artists’ Exemption on certain products also may be a benefit to registration.
  10. Planning: The key to a successful business is planning your project from day one. Planning is about making choices which should only be made on the basis of good information.