EEBA's High Performance Home Blog

Posts From November, 2018

Giving Thanks in 2018

With about 6 weeks left in 2018, the EEBA staff reflects on the year and expresses thanks and gratitude.
Giving Thanks in 2018

What a year it has been! I think most of us can agree that 2018 has had its share of industry ups and downs, but there are many things for which to be grateful. In this week of Thanksgiving, the EEBA staff takes a moment to convey what they are most thankful for.

“Reflecting back on this year, I am truly thankful for the inspiring leadership of our President Gene Myers, whose time and dedication to EEBA have been invaluable, and for our incoming President, Geoff Ferrell, for stepping up and taking on this important role. I'm grateful for a very good year for EEBA, including a highly successful Summit, the many training events we've held across the country, and the partners, presenters, sponsors and board members who make it all possible,” says EEBA Executive Director, Nancy Bakeman, who has both professional and personal topics for which to be thankful.

“I am also grateful for my small but mighty team, as well as all the new people we've worked with this year, whose contributions have made a significant impact. And on a personal level, I am beyond excited to become a grandma next year, with two grandbabies on the way!”

Jill Lindman, Conference & Program Administrator, adds: “I am thankful for being brought into this incredible organization through my friendship with Nancy Bakeman. The leadership she has brought in her role as Executive Director has been a game changer for EEBA. We are a small staff with a big mission...I think we do it well!”

Finance Director, Cristen Burrell, recognizes the progress the high-performance industry has made in the last 15 years and is thankful for greater public awareness and understanding that better homes are available.

“Because of increased code requirements and the enforcement of basic building science principles and strategies, like proper insulation alignment and air sealing, families are getting healthier and more energy efficient homes, as a standard,” says Cristen. “I am so thankful for the hard work and dedication of volunteers across the industry that donate time and expertise to continue moving the home building industry forward. I am also very thankful for good food and great friends!”

Wishing all our friends and colleagues a wonderful holiday season with their loved ones, and know that all of us at EEBA appreciate each and every one of you!

Energy Efficiency Affordability in Cold Climates

A Canadian design-build team proves that energy efficiency is attainable, even in cold climates.
Energy Efficiency Affordability in Cold Climates

When Emmanuel Cosgrove and Mike Reynolds, co-founders of Ecohome, designed and built The Edelweiss House, they were simply trying to exhibit that affordable, energy efficient homes are achievable. “We undertook this project to show builders and homeowners that it isn’t that hard or expensive to build better-performing homes and that your true monthly overhead can actually be lower, right from the moment you move in.”

Building a hyper-efficient cold-climate house 40 minutes outside of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, in Gatineau Hills, had its own challenges because of the climate and the nature of the location. Add in the standards required for Canada Green Building Council’s LEED v4 certification, and the challenge is amplified.

The resulting 1,552 sq. ft. passive solar home, where a visitor to Gatineau can rent a room and stay in, costs less than $250,000 to build, and energy bills were estimated to be less than $1.40/day, compared to a new home of comparable size that uses around 10 times more energy. To meet the stringent demands of LEED v4, Cosgrove and Reynolds used an array of DELTA® brand products from Dörken, together creating an airtight building envelope.

Fully adhered DELTA®-VENT SA, a vapor-permeable, self-adhesive, water-resistive air barrier for commercial and residential use, was used as the primary air and water-resistive barrier and helped the home pass difficult blower door test standards.

DELTA®-FLORAXX was used as the water retention and drainage component of the green roof and helped reduce the need for irrigation, while also helping to cool the building in the summer through transpiration.

DELTA®-VENT S served as the secondary moisture barrier and was installed to the exterior of the continuous stone wool insulation, providing additional airtightness, protection from moisture ingress, as well as insulation protection from wind-driven rain.

DELTA®-MULTI-BAND tape helped ensure that every lap and detail was sealed tight. It also played a critical role in maintaining an airtight building, along with a vapor-tight one because it was used to seal the interior vapor barrier.

The Edelweiss House was completed in 2015, and was only the second in the world to reach the rigorous Platinum level for LEED v4. The project really proved that affordable, cold-climate, energy efficient homes are possible.

Photo courtesy Ecohome


High Performance Builder and Site Supervisor Designations Earned at this Year’s EEBA Summit

Many took advantage of new designation opportunities and proved their knowledge in building science and high performance construction methods.
High Performance Builder and Site Supervisor Designations Earned at this Year’s EEBA Summit

In addition to some great sessions at this year’s High Performance Home Summit, we also offered the opportunity for attendees to earn the High Performance Builder and Site Supervisor Designations.

6 individuals joined Gord Cooke, Andy Oding and Mike Barcik to earn their EEBA High Performance Builder Designation after successfully completing Houses That Work, High Performance Mechanicals, and the HERS Associate. Each attendee took and passed the required test for each of the three courses. Congratulations to the following people who earned their High Performance Builder Designation:

  • Roy Birney - Thrive Home Builders
  • Matt Bohannon – R.E.S. Contracting
  • Richard Fayad – QC Manufacturing
  • Jason Hoyle - Thrive Home Builders
  • Jacie Jeffrey - Thrive Home Builders
  • Andy Llora – QC Manufacturing
  • Adrion Marti - Thrive Home Builders
  • Ricardo Schobert – QC Manufacturing
  • Dane Stevenson – QC Manufacturing
  • Greg Van Dam – Dwell Well

“Thrive Home Builders is excited about the EEBA Site Supervisor and High Performance Builder Designations,” says Bill Rectanus, Vice President of Operations. “These designations give our team the basic building science and project management training they need to build our high performance homes. They also provide Thrive an opportunity to give our team valued industry designations that they can carry with them throughout their career. We are proud to have several of the first EEBA designations be earned by members of our Thrive team.”

EEBA is also pleased to announce that 17 people earned the EEBA Site Supervisor Designation, led by Michael Baechler, proving their knowledge in the processes and best practices of building science for residential construction projects.

  • Manal Balaa - Thrive Home Builders
  • Kevin Brozyna – Insight Homes
  • Shannon Bryant – Prairie View A&M University
  • Bennett Doherty – Middlebury College
  • David Eis - Thrive Home Builders
  • Tony Grahame – Pensacola State College
  • David Kendall - Thrive Home Builders
  • Adrion Marti - Thrive Home Builders
  • Evan Matthews - Thrive Home Builders
  • Tim Nyquist – Nyquist Building Science
  • Chris Petroskas – Center for Energy & Environment
  • Ron Stafford - Thrive Home Builders
  • Cynthia Suarez-Harris – Prairie View A&M University
  • Travis Taylor - Thrive Home Builders
  • Ledell Thomas - Prairie View A&M University
  • Tim Vargas – Mandalay Homes
  • John Wooldridge – Insight Homes

Congratulations to everyone! We had one attendee pass a designation exam, but fail to legibly write their name on the test. If you believe this could be you, please contact with an example of your signature.

Our final educational sessions of 2018 are taking place in the next couple of months in Portland (November 8), Charleston (November 15), and Nashville (December 5). Contact Nancy if you have any questions or if you know a student who would like to take advantage of our Student Scholarship Fund and attend one of our regional events.

Let’s Remember Why We Do What We Do

During his closing remarks at the recent High Performance Home Summit, exiting EEBA Board President, Gene Myers, reflects on the conference, the industry, and what we all must do to keep pushing forward.
Let’s Remember Why We Do What We Do

“So I decided to wing it. Ron's [Jones] talk to me was very provocative. We have to meet challenges. You want to know who is going to solve them? — the people in this room. Our big builders don’t do anything. Our big builders don’t take risks. Our big builders have no fire in the belly. They are harvesting the market. They harvest it when times are good and pull back when times are bad. And they have resiliency, because they have deep pockets and big capital. But we have creativity. We have drive.

We have a saying at Thrive: When we see intractable problems, we need to deploy our secret weapon. And that is us. We live in a world where the worldwide engagement in our jobs is 16%. The United States and Canada lead the world with 29% of people fully engaged in their jobs. You want to know Thrive’s secret weapon? — 100% engagement. For every two hands we hire, we get a free brain. That is our secret weapon.

We are a small fish in a very big pond. I have often thought that it’s a little like white-water rafting. The current is whatever’s happening — the economy, technology — and it’s going to go wherever it’s going to go. We are in that stream, and a skilled whitewater rafter knows how to navigate the obstacles and get into the right stream. That’s what fully engaged people can do, and that’s a powerful thing.

We are challenged right now at Thrive with the reality that it costs more to build our houses. It costs more to build a better house. Is anyone really shocked by that? We have an affordability problem, and our challenge is how do we find a way to build our kind of house at prices people can afford. It is hard. But there is no one else who will do it. Who is better equipped than the people in this room to take that challenge, and to use our ingenuity, creativity and our commitment to wrestle these problems to the ground, whatever they may be, and make this world a better place?

Ron is an environmentalist. You and I are environmentalists. We just happen to be dealing in the human environment. There is no higher calling, because our human environment means we need to leave the world a better place. We need to make our homebuyers thrive. That’s why we changed our name. We need to make our employees and co-workers thrive and prosper. We need to make sure everyone who touches any part of our kind of company walks away a better person.

I go to conferences, and I see all the predictions about factory-built homes and panel plants. It might happen. But what I always come back to is: What can I do today? What can I do tomorrow with the cards I have been dealt to make the world better? It will take time to get to factory building as the predominant method for building in the United States, and I would have to tell you that it won’t happen in my career. So I guess I’ll just give up…No. No! Because we have today, and we have tomorrow.

Another issue is the long game, and I will be honest with you, I think the industry is too distracted by the shiny new thing called the long game, to the exclusion of what do we do today and tomorrow to make the latter better than today. What’s the medium game? What’s the short game? For us, the short game is the full engagement of our people. For us, let’s just face reality and deal with it as it comes. Let’s not live in a dream world. Let’s not wish for how we want it to be. It is what it is: Let’s go do something about it.

That’s why I love EEBA. That’s why I love you. Because that is what we, in this room, are all about. IBS will not change the world. The EEBA conference changes the world. IBS is about the status quo. NAHB — I’m a card-carrying member — their mission is to defend the status quo. Our mission is to change the world.

So, I have a joke — it’s a bad joke, and all my people are rolling their eyes, because they have heard all of my stories way too many times. I used to be a Peace Corps volunteer. And the joke is that I joined the Peace Corps to save the world; it must have worked because we’re still here.

So… you’re welcome.

After you get out of the Peace Corps, you sort of have to come down from that. But guess what — I didn’t change the world. And I’m not going to change the world in the way I thought I would when I was young. But I have this philosophy that our job is not to worry about that. That is above our pay grade. How about we just bloom where we are planted? How about I just build the best houses? How about I change the world for the customer? You saw and heard some anecdotes [in the PechaKucha session] yesterday about changing the world for a kid on an inhaler. That’s a good thing; that is an important thing.

Thrive will never be big enough to take over the world, but we can take over the world for our customer by building the most important thing they will ever buy — the thing that will change their lives more than any other purchase.

I am incredibly optimistic for us in this room. We have the spark, we have the drive, we have the mission, and we care. We also have the technology. We just need the people. We need the culture in our companies to be “This is what we do.” We don’t cower in the face of the problem. We don’t wring our hands over things we cannot really change. I have come to think that living in the present is way better than living in the past or the future. The present is the only time we have to make a difference. I urge you to keep the faith. I urge you — in the face of rising interest rates and labor challenges and all the other stuff we deal with on a daily basis — to remember why we do what we do and that it’s a worthy thing we do, so it is worth doing well and worth doing right. We make a permanent mark on the landscape. We leave behind us neighborhoods and homes that will be there for 100 years or more. So it is very important that we do it well. That is what you guys are about.

My hat is off to you for being present on this third and final day. My hat’s off to you for paying the expensive plane fare to get here. We have heard complaints that, maybe, our tuition [for the Summit] is a little high. This is what it costs, so thank you for paying it. We ask you to be with us again next year in Denver. Bring a friend. Bring a whole department. Bring your company. There is something infectious about just being with you and with us that, by the time everyone goes home, will make anyone you bring a better builder and a better person.

Are we good? Thank you.”