EEBA's High Performance Home Blog

The Flashing Yellow Arrow

Ongoing education is essential for keeping up with what's going on in your industry, and not getting stuck at that blinking light.
The Flashing Yellow Arrow

Back in 2013 I was working on a project in Tucson, Arizona. One day as I was driving around town, I got into a left turn lane on a green light and waited for an opening. To my surprise, the light went from green to a flashing yellow arrow - something I had never seen before. Cars were honking behind me and I just sat there while the light turned red.

If you’re judging me right now, go ahead. To my defense, I grew up on an island that had ZERO stop lights and only a handful of stop signs. I later discovered that the Federal Highway Administration had passed some type of ordinance in 2009 “authorizing the use of flashing yellow arrows nationwide.” And just so you know, there are areas in SW Louisiana that JUST made the switch in late 2018.

Later that same day while reflecting on that incident, I knew I should have instinctively known what to do on that flashing yellow light. But it also made me think...driving is something I did almost every single day but I hadn’t studied or read up on the changes in driving laws since Driver’s Ed (over 20 years earlier at that time). I wasn’t as knowledgeable as I should have been.

In a recent article from Builder, the author referenced a 2018 survey where 31% of home builders said their biggest challenge in constructing new homes to meet energy code was cost. Additionally, 10% of those surveyed responded that their biggest challenge was dealing with the airtightness of a home: “Builders described issues with airtightness of homes ranging from inability to meet current air change requirements, to those believing building homes ‘too tight’ introduced moisture or ventilation issues, particularly in very humid climates.”

The author then stated, “I would suggest that a deeper analysis of this issue will find that a lack of training and education about energy-efficient building practices as the primary reason that cost is a challenge for builders in meeting the energy code.”

Many of you reading this might agree with that statement. While we’ve seen energy efficiency become more and more standard over the years, there is still an enormous opportunity to educate our industry. I didn’t study up on the changes in traffic lights back in the day, but I do wish I had had someone there to walk me through that flashing yellow arrow.

With a mission “to advance and disseminate building science knowledge in the residential new construction community via education and collaboration,” learning is the very core of what EEBA is all about. So the next time you’re attending an educational event, consider bringing along a builder or other industry professional who might benefit from what you’re learning. Or, offer yourself up as a free resource for people who are wanting to become more knowledgeable in a particular area you have expertise in.

Let’s get that 10% lower and help guide someone through their flashing yellow arrow.

It’s All About People

It’s All About People

Back in the early 2000’s I was working as a Limited Practice Officer in Washington State. The real estate market was on fire and we couldn’t close deals fast enough. Realtors were pulling in huge commissions and lenders were having a hay-day. As we crept closer to 2008, home and land prices were becoming ridiculously high and I remember wondering why, and how, people were obtaining so many 2nd and 3rd mortgages.

I recall a few instances when buyers were signing documents and would say something like, “Well, I sure hope I can afford my utility bill after this.” They were joking at the time, but upon receipt of that first bill, many may have quickly realized they actually couldn’t afford the house they had just purchased, in addition to the utility bill that went along with it. By law, as a neutral third-party we were not allowed to advise buyers and sellers on anything except to tell them if they had concerns they should talk to their realtor or lender.

After leaving that side of real estate shortly after the crash, I shifted a bit and have since had the privilege of working alongside and learning from some of the most knowledgeable and forward-thinking people in the building industry. Sustainability and energy efficiency are seen now more as a standard rather than a revolutionary idea - and that’s due to the consistent work of all of you out there who have pushed the dial forward for so many years.

I was recently chatting with a new modular construction company that decided to implement IAQ and energy efficiency standards in their designs. As I sat listening to the person talk passionately about their goal of providing healthy, affordable living conditions for their customers I remember thinking: This is what it’s all about. People.

Life is busy. Doing what we do takes time. Changing long-standing “systems” can seem daunting, but if we can keep our eye on the purpose of why we are doing what we do, it will always be worth it. It’s ultimately for the people who will be living in those homes. Our knowledge, our innovation - it’s only useful if it benefits people.

Let us know what changes you are looking to see in our industry in 2019? And don’t forget to Save the Date for this year’s High Performance Home Summit in Denver (October 1-3).

Mandalay Homes is Spot “iON” With Their New Series of Homes

Mandalay Homes has decided to do what no other production builder has done - provide rooftop solar as a standard product on every home they build in their new iON Series.
Mandalay Homes is Spot “iON” With Their New Series of Homes

A 10-time winner of the DOE’s award for innovation, and an ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year for two years in a row, Mandalay Homes has proven their passion for building homes that promote safety, health, comfort, style, reduced energy costs, and less environmental impact.

“We always strive to build homes that create a healthier environment for our homeowners while saving them money and contributing to the bigger picture, which is sustainable building practices and a reduced carbon footprint,” says Dave Everson, Founder and CEO of Mandalay Homes.

Available in the Prescott, Clarkdale, and Wickenburg, Arizona areas, the iON Series has a carbon footprint nearly 65% lower than a code-built competitor home and utilizes intelligent technology to increase water conservation efforts and reduce the amount of building materials used during the construction process.

Built to the EPA’s Indoor airPLUS certification, the iON boasts high standards for indoor air quality. Carefully selected products and features like an HVAC system that is 30% more efficient than a standard system helps provide a healthy living environment for home buyers.

2019 EEBA Sponsorship Opportunities

Support high-performance home education and connect with valuable decision-makers with an EEBA sponsorship.
2019 EEBA Sponsorship Opportunities

As we head into 2019, we reflect on the privilege of being a part of educating a diverse, talented group of high-performance building decision-makers who populate the EEBA community. It’s the analysts, architects, engineers, energy raters, and building trade professionals whose combined knowledge and hunger to collaborate and learn that help to shape legislation, codes, and energy efficiency standards.

“EEBA has introduced new, innovative solutions to keep our homes on the cutting edge of energy efficiency, sustainability and technology in an intimate and informative setting that far surpasses that of other builder events,” says Craig North of Tim O’Brien Homes.

A recent survey showed that 98% of professionals who attended an EEBA educational event, planned to implement lessons learned from a particular session. EEBA is proud to promote the advanced education of individuals in the following fields and is offering a few different sponsorship categories for 2019.


    Builders and Contractors                    46%

    Architects and Designers                    18%

    Trade Professionals                            11%

    Energy Raters                                     11%

    Utility                                                   5%

    Engineers                                            4%

    Other                                                   7%



The Platinum level sponsorship offers the opportunity to participate as a National Education partner and includes product category exclusivity, four scholarship seats at every regional training event in 2019, 3 host sponsorships, full Summit participation with exhibit space and a private studio, increased brand visibility, and digital marketing opportunities.

The Gold level is a Regional Education sponsorship and includes 2 host sponsorships, 4 scholarship seats at 6 regional training events, full Summit participation with exhibit space and a private studio, increased brand visibility, and logo inclusion in marketing materials at regional events.

And the Silver level sponsorship gives companies or individuals the opportunity to become a Local Education Supporter. Sponsors at the Silver level receive 2 host sponsorships, 4 scholarship seats at those events, and logo inclusion in marketing materials at local events.

CLICK HERE for more information and contact or to help create the pathway for future building science education.



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.”


Recap: 2018 EEBA High Performance Home Summit in San Diego

Recap: 2018 EEBA High Performance Home Summit in San Diego

The EEBA High Performance Home Summit is now a full week behind us, but there were many highlights from the conference we’ll recap in this blog to get you excited for 2019!

The conference opened up with an ode to the past as Harold Orr spoke at the Breakfast Plenary giving us a nostalgic look at the history of what we now call “Building Science” and showing us just how far things have come. It’s easy to become frustrated with slow-moving change in the industry, but his presentation really nailed down the importance of celebrating the wins we’ve had.

Day 2 began with a lively conversation led by an expert panel on California’s Title 24 Standard. Ron Jones of Green Builder Media led the discussion on Day 3 and challenged everyone to stay optimistic about the future of the building industry. And we can’t forget to mention there were a ton of great sessions during all three days. We’d love to hear from you as to which were your favorites (maybe through that survey we emailed you - hint hint)!

We also welcomed in the new Board President, Geoff Ferrell of Mandalay Homes, thanked Gene Myers for being an amazing outgoing President, and crowned the winners of the DOE’s Housing Innovation Awards and the EPA Indoor airPLUS Leader Award winners. Yes, there was a LOT of celebrating!


Exhibitors showed us what’s new in product innovation during breaks and networking opportunities - always one of the most important parts of the conference. And if you didn’t create a few new contacts at this year’s Summit, you may have been sleeping. Whether it was during those long breaks, on the party boat Wednesday night (with the creepy whisper ceiling), after hours at the bar, or during the beach jam session, there were plenty opportunities for attendees to mingle, reconnect, and get to know new acquaintances.


We were also honored to have some of the Department of Energy Race to Zero students attending and presenting under the Bring a Student to EEBA initiative. A huge shout out to the sponsors who supported this - probably the best thing to happen at any conference I’ve been to in years. The overall feedback from attendees and students has been overwhelmingly positive. Attendees have voiced how impressed they were with the passion, drive, and eagerness of the students to learn more about the industry. The students I had the opportunity to meet were overflowing with expectation for the future, sponges for knowledge, and incredibly grateful for the opportunity to attend the Summit and make new industry connections.

“I didn't know what to expect when signing up to come to the EEBA Summit but my expectations were exceeded greatly,” says Danny Nolan of Miami University. “The planning and coordination between all the events, speakers, and other impromptu social events ran smoothly, I am so happy I was fortunate enough to attend. I have brought back to Miami University my increased interest for sustainable building science and a new love for California.”

“We were blown away by how welcoming EEBA members were,” says Sara Turner of the University of Waterloo. “We had such a positive experience learning more about building science through the seminars and activities.”

Rachel Romero of the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) was on hand to organize the student presentations and to let attendees know that the upcoming Solar Decathlon will offer two tracks that build on the strengths of previous DOE student competitions: (1) an annual “Design Challenge” – former Race to Zero Student Design Competition, and (2) a “Build Challenge” – an expansion on the original Solar Decathlon. The winning teams will best blend architectural and engineering excellence with innovation, market potential, building efficiency, and smart energy production.

“Race to Zero allowed me to work with passionate people in my school community to design a realistic Net-Zero Energy home in partnership with Habitat for Humanity,” says Sharon Emmanuel of the University of Waterloo. “I got the chance to apply my knowledge from class and in turn learn crucial building science concepts in order to help design the home. Competing in the final presentation round at NREL was an experience of a lifetime. I was able to nurture my communication skills, gain knowledge from other teams and guest speakers and build strong connections with fellow like-minded students and industry members.”

The deadline for this year’s entries is in less than two weeks (Tuesday November 6, 2018 at 5pm EST). Each team must submit an application and required fee by the due date. Additionally, teams interested in the Build Challenge must also submit a Build Challenge Proposal and supporting materials. See the Solar Decathlon Competition Guide for more info.

The 2019 High Performance Home Summit will be held in downtown Denver, October 1-3. Put it on your calendar for next year and make sure your industry friends attend with you.



It’s Time for the High Performance Home Summit

We are one day away from the start of the High Performance Home Summit. Here’s a recap of some of the sessions and events you can take part in.
It’s Time for the High Performance Home Summit

Tomorrow marks the start of the High Performance Home Summit in San Diego. We are extremely pleased with the lineup of speakers, courses, and events that will be offered. Make sure you download the Summit app to create your schedule and connect with other attendees.

Two designation courses will be available this year at the Summit. The EEBA Site Supervisor Designation and the EEBA High Performance Builder Designation.  Both will begin on Tuesday morning with the Builder Designation ending at the conclusion of the program on Thursday.  The Site Supervisor Designation is a one-day only course.

You’ll also find multiple tracks that aim to enhance your knowledge and improve your business strategy.  On Tuesday morning we’ll be offering Energy Codes and Policy, Sales and Marketing, and Building Science tracks. Wednesday will cover Healthy Homes/IAQ/Ventilation, Water Efficiency & Conservation, Resiliency, Durability & Quality, and Innovation & The Future. Thursday will end with sessions on IAQ and Zero Energy Homes.

Start each morning of the Summit at the Breakfast Plenary sessions with special guests Harold Orr, Martha Brook, and Ron Jones.  Tuesday and Wednesday evenings will end with two fun networking events, and the dinner cruise closing out Wednesday’s program (this is a ticketed event). Then join us for two PechaKucha-powered lunch breaks on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Closing Plenary on Thursday will feature the Department of Energy’s Race to Zero Winners - collegiate teams who have applied sound building science principles to create cost-effective, market-ready designs. You won’t want to miss this inspiring close to the Summit.

We can’t wait to see you all!

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