EEBA's High Performance Home Blog

Posts From February, 2020

Bringing it all Together

With a passion for the outdoors and vast experience in sustainability in the building industry, EEBA’s new CEO is ready to drive collaboration to a greater level.
Bringing it all Together

If you’re looking for EEBA’s new CEO, Aaron Smith, you’ll likely find him in Minneapolis working on a remodeling project or playing outdoors with his family. Whether he’s gardening, hiking, nordic skiing, downhill skiing, or playing hockey, his love of being outside is evident through the activities he and his wife, Jennifer, engage in with their three boys.

Aaron’s extensive resume includes over 20 years in construction, building products, sustainability and non-profit board leadership. He also has considerable experience in sales and business development and believes his current position with EEBA is a culmination of all of the subject matter he’s been passionate about during his life. His grandfather was a builder in Minneapolis and played a pivotal role in his love for the building industry.

“There’s such a pride in building something,” says Smith. “My grandfather taught me early on that when you build something, it could be there forever. That stuck with me. There’s something satisfying about building and providing a home, and joy, for someone. Our legacy is what we leave behind.”

He has always been driven by his grandfather’s ideology and feels privileged for the opportunity to impact people - forever.

Aaron sees EEBA as a curator and educator with the important purpose of bringing people together and learning from each other. Focusing on four common themes within the organization - energy, water, human health, and resilience - and building upon an existing foundation, he believes EEBA can further assist builders improving their own techniques within these four pillars and beyond.

In 2020 you’ll see improvements to the EEBA and Summit websites as they become more user-friendly. You’ll also see an increase in EEBA’s social media presence and outreach, as well as the edition of new Builder Benchmark Groups, a program focused on bringing builders together to learn how to both build sustainably and operate their businesses sustainably. In addition, EEBA has partnered with Thrive Home Builders and Pro Builder magazine to bring the Ultimate Z.E.N. (Zero Energy Now) home to the Summit in Denver, showcasing what it takes to build a zero energy decarbonized home.

“EEBA is a great organization with a great history and foundation,” says Smith. “I’m excited to bring a fresh viewpoint from a builder point-of-view. We have amazing people involved with EEBA but we need to touch more people and get more builders involved and move the entire industry forward.”

Aaron and the whole EEBA team will be out at the High Performance Home Summit in Denver September 29-October 1. Make sure you reserve your spot and be ready to ask Aaron about his spring chickens and love of cats (you’ll have to attend the event to learn more).

A New Level of Enlightenment

At this year’s EEBA Summit you’ll experience the Ultimate Z.E.N Home.
A New Level of Enlightenment

EEBA is proud to announce a partnership with Pro Builder and Thrive Home Builders to bring The Ultimate Z.E.N. (Zero Energy Now) Home to this year’s High Performance Home Summit. The 2400-2600 sq ft “eco-luxury” model will be built on a 53’x80’ lot and will aim for LEED Gold certification, EPA Indoor airPLUS and healthy home standards. The project will be completely electrified and decarbonized. This model will be used for an additional 33 homes in the development.

“We hope that this home, being a model for a community with the same base specifications, shows that homes like these do not need to be one-off demonstration homes but that they can be a successful home series delivered in a competitive marketplace,” says Bill Rectanus, VP of Homebuilding Operations at Thrive Home Builders.

As a leader in the home building industry, Thrive Home Builders has been providing the Colorado single family home market with energy efficient homes for over 25 years. Year after year they have received national recognition for their dedication to building sustainably. Their Z.E.N. product line is already certified by the U.S. Department of Energy Zero Energy Ready Home program.

“We are excited to partner with Pro Builder and Thrive Home Builders to bring the Ultimate Z.E.N. Home to attendees of our EEBA Summit,” says EEBA CEO, Aaron Smith. “The project will act as a beacon for sharing cutting edge net zero practices and education to high performance home builders everywhere.”

The 4-bedroom demonstration home will have a focus on health and sustainability. It will feature a HERS Score of 15 or less and utilize a battery storage system, a Wiser Energy Smart Home Monitor system from Square D, advanced lighting, HVAC controls, air quality sensors, as well as Thrive’s signature “clean room” that was developed to reinforce the healthy pillar of their brand - efficient, healthy, and local. This brand pillar begins with EPA Indoor airPLUS certification and is bolstered by fully active radon systems, advanced MERV 16 air filtration, and ERV ventilation.

“These features live in our mechanical rooms and are designed to provide consistent clean healthy air to the home,” says Rectanus. “Most builders do not pay attention to this area of the house as it tends to become just another storage area. At Thrive we believe this room is the lungs of the house and should be designed to show off the advanced clean air features that live there. We designed this room to be drywalled and painted with a clean sealed floor to emphasize the importance of these home features and reinforce the healthy indoor atmosphere they are designed to create.”

Pro Builder will cover the project throughout construction, culminating in a feature story in December 2020. The home will debut during EEBA’s High Performance Home Summit in Denver, Colorado September 29 through October 1 and will be open for one year. For more information on sponsorship opportunities on the Ultimate Z.E.N. Home, contact Aaron Smith.