EEBA's High Performance Home Blog


A New Mexico custom home builder selects optimal solution for Indoor Air Quality challenges.

High performance home builders face several Indoor Air Quality challenges in the building process before, during, and after a home is constructed. Choosing a reliable ventilation solution is key for maximum efficiency.

Panorama Homes, a custom green home builder in Albuquerque, New Mexico, wanted to install an effective system in several newly constructed single family homes. They felt it was crucial to select a competitive, high performing ventilation system and fan that could bring in enough fresh air to dilute harmful indoor pollutants and create an easier breathing environment for the families that were about to grow up and make memories in these new homes.

Panasonic Eco Solutions’ Intelli-Balance 100 ERV was chosen to be the primary ventilation system in all new single-family homes. Carol Orona of Panorama Homes selected the system because of its overall efficiency and cost effectiveness, and technical features that provide builders with much needed flexibility, automatically adjusting to any home in any climate zone in North America.

To address spot ventilation in the garage, the Panasonic WhisperGreen Select vent fan was installed to exhaust excessive pollutants caused by a sealed garage floor, the homeowner’s car collection, and materials stored there for the up keep of the automobiles. The fan’s ECM motor with intelligent self-adjusting SmartFlowtechnology senses the amount of resistance in the duct run and automatically adjusts the fan speed to deliver the optimal CFM output, even in the case of a complicated duct run.

The installation and function of the ERV units and vent fans in the first set of newly built homes in the area have proven to be successful. A certified Indoor Environmental Consultant performed measurements and demonstrated the effectiveness of both the Intelli-Balance system and the WhisperGreen Select fan on a new home’s IAQ. Air sample measurements of IAQ factors such as VOCs and humidity were collected 24 hours before and 24 hours after the units were installed. Overall results showed a 92% reduction in the total VOC.

In the Spring of 2018 Panorama Homes received recognition from The Home Builders Association of Central New Mexico (HBA) with the Parade of Homes award in the ‘Most Innovative’ category. Learn more about fresh air ventilation calculations and HRV/ERV systems through the High Performance Mechanicals course offered by EEBA.



With the High Performance Home Summit quickly approaching, here are some last-minute opportunities for sponsors and attendees.

You may have seen the recent announcement regarding hotel overflow. While the venue hotel is sold out, there are a few rooms still available at the Bahia’s sister property, The Catamaran Resort Hotel & Spa (call their direct Reservation line at 800-422-8386 to receive the $189 “EEBA Summit” rate). Additionally, we have listed 4 additional nearby hotels on our website that should have space available. If you’ve procrastinated until now but want to attend or sponsor the Summit, it’s not too late!


There are still some incredible events available to sponsor - like the two-hour Evening Social Event Dinner Cruise aboard the Bahia Resort’s William D. Evans Victorian-styled sternwheeler. Guests will be treated to an open bar, three international food stations, and some fabulous views of Mission Bay.  Sponsors of this dinner cruise will receive 10 complimentary event tickets, recognition on all marketing and promotional materials (in Summit app, as well as on-site signage), a dedicated e-blast to the EEBA member list, high top table display with balloons and signage.  Tickets are selling fast for this incredible event!


Other available sponsorship opportunities include:

  • Opening Keynote Breakfast with EEBA Legend Harold Orr
  • Track Sponsorships
  • Day 3 Keynote Breakfast with Ron Jones – “Building Tomorrow: Embracing the Challenge of Change”
  • Networking Reception on Day 2
  • “Refresh” Afternoon Tea & Coffee Break


Contact for more information on any of these opportunities.


And if you still have not registered for the Summit, the Full Summit registration fee is $895 (through October 8) and then $950 onsite. The Daily rate is $395 (only through October 8) and $450 onsite. Visit the Summit website to register online.


Update High Performance Home Knowledge with EEBA Courses for Building Professionals

New designation program for building professionals to launch at the EEBA High Performance Home Summit.
Update High Performance Home Knowledge with EEBA Courses for Building Professionals

The EEBA Designation for Building Professionals will debut at this year’s High Performance Home Summit. The 3-day/3-course program is created for builders, construction managers, sales professionals, and designers seeking a broad understanding of building science and the latest applications in high-performance homes, compliance and strategic innovations. The designation should help demonstrate to employers, supervisors, clients, and consumers an understanding of the most dynamic and important trends in constructing houses.

On day one, Gord Cooke will be taking participants through EEBA’s climate-specific Houses That Work™ course, aimed toward educating building professionals on the house-as-a-system approach to home performance.

Andy Oding will join Gord Cooke on day two to lead participants through High Performance Mechanicals for Houses That Work - a course focused on understanding the growing complexity and scope of residential mechanical systems to comply with energy codes. Andy and Gord will go over relevant changes to HVAC, Ventilation, Hot Water, Indoor Air Quality and Electronic Home Controls and how they affect high performance housing.

Mike Barcik will close out the EEBA Designation for Building Professionals program on day three with the HERS Associate program that includes a review of Building Science principles as they relate to the Performance Path option in the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), as well as an introduction to RESNET and the HERS Index.

Following a recent training session on building science, Gord Cooke recalls a builder approaching him saying, “I need to know more. Where do I get more training and how do I, or my customers, know that I have done enough to be able to make good decisions on their behalf?”

“I am very pleased that EEBA is renewing one of their founding principles to provide builders with the educational resources they need to stay ahead of code, as well as consumer trends and expectations,” says Cooke.

Key takeaways for those attending the EEBA Designated Building Professional track include:

  • Great understanding of key building science concepts that have changed the way that high-performance homes are designed and built;
  • The latest changes in home design, building materials, and appliances and how to apply these innovations to increase product value, durability and improve performance;
  • The new generation of mechanical systems and how to size them to deliver health, comfort, durability, and energy efficiency; and
  • How to use an Energy Rating Index, such as the Home Energy Rating System (HERS), to gain flexibility in complying with the stringent International Energy Conservation Code.

With this designation, EEBA is providing critically acclaimed training required to create homes that provide comfort, health, durability, value and efficiency. There’s still time to join us at the High Performance Home Summit in San Diego next month.


HVAC Design Strategies for High-Performance Homes

HVAC Design Strategies for High-Performance Homes

High-performance homes require better HVAC design strategies than code-built homes. Builders can more easily understand high-performance needs by familiarizing themselves with basic HVAC design concepts and strategies.

The first step is conducting a room-by-room load calculation.

Local climates determine whether a building’s HVAC system is designed to first meet cooling or heating needs. Heating-dominant climates require heating needs to be addressed before cooling, and vice versa. Load calculations are based on the coldest and hottest days of the year to ensure systems provide comfort at both extremes. In any climate, high-performance homes have significantly lower cooling and heating requirements than code-built homes, so the best options for them might be very different than a code-built home.

Split-ductless systems, for example, provide both cooling and heating in one highly efficient system, and are a great solution for high-performance homes. The systems are energy-efficient; come in a range of capacities; offer a variety of indoor unit options; and can combine multiple indoor units using one outdoor compressor system.

Step two in HVAC system design is selecting the right size system. Undersized systems do not adequately cool or heat, while oversized systems unnecessarily increase cost and often short cycle.

If ducted systems are used, determining ductwork design can be challenging. In high-performance homes, efficient ductwork needs to be inside the conditioned space. Ductwork run outside of conditioned space results in energy penalties and an increased risk of condensation. One benefit to using split-ductless systems is the elimination of ductwork challenges.

Builders are encouraged to look for an HVAC contractor who specializes in high-performance new construction. During the design process, teamwork between the builder and the HVAC contractor is essential. Other allies helpful in the HVAC design process are energy raters and HVAC manufacturers committed to helping high-performance builders find better HVAC strategies.

Mitsubishi Electric Trane HVAC US understands that high-performance builders and HVAC contractors need help with new strategies as the cooling and heating loads for residential new construction continue to be lowered. Over the last few years, Mitsubishi Electric Trane HVAC US has introduced its Performance Construction Team to provide continued support in this area. Find more information about the Performance Builder Program and the Performance Construction Team here.


Industry leaders create a way for DOE Race to Zero winners to attend the High Performance Home Summit.

For the last five years, the Department of Energy at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has organized the “Race to Zero” Student Design Competition in Golden, Colorado. The event challenges college students and faculty from around the world through a design competition for zero energy-ready structures - both single-family and multifamily homes, as well as school buildings. This year’s event brought together 84 student teams from 68 collegiate institutions from nine different countries.

EEBA has officially kicked off their student scholarship fundraising efforts by offering free attendance for two students per team to the 2018 High Performance Home Summit in San Diego. Each scholarship of $1,500 provides one student with full Summit registration and meals, double-occupancy for three hotel nights, tickets for a networking event and a dinner cruise, and $500 for transportation.

The scholarship fund is the first initiative enabling interested students to attend and participate in regional trainings and future High Performance Summits. “Bring a Student to EEBA” is currently being financed by six of our generous industry firms: Thrive Home Builders, DuPont Tyvek, EnergyLogic, Mandalay Homes, Revive Properties, and TopBuild/Environments for Living. The goal is to raise $25,000. EEBA is accepting donations in any amount to help further fund these scholarships into 2019 and beyond.

Six schools have already committed 11 students to attend this year’s High Performance Home Summit, and more are anticipated. The “Race to Zero” students will be presenting short overviews of their winning projects during the “Pecha Kucha” Session at the Summit.

“With the huge labor shortages currently facing all builders, we want to provide Summit attendees with an opportunity to meet these talented students in San Diego,” says EEBA President Gene Myers. Myers has recruited several “Race to Zero” winners as interns at his homebuilding company in Denver.

In the future, the U.S. Department of Energy will be joining its two student building design competitions, Solar Decathlon and Race to Zero, into one national Solar Decathlon competition. Solar Decathlon 2019–2020 will offer two tracks that build on the strengths of previous DOE student competitions: (1) an annual “Design Challenge” (formerly known as the Race to Zero Student Design Competition), and (2) a “Build Challenge” that expands on the original Solar Decathlon.


If you’re interested in donating to the “Bring a Student to EEBA” scholarship fund, please contact or CLICK HERE to donate now.

Visit our registration page to sign up for the High Performance Home Summit in San Diego.


High Performance Home Education Happening Around the Country

It’s that time again. All over the nation, school is starting back up and we could not be more excited.
High Performance Home Education Happening Around the Country

And as you know, education is important to us and with the High Performance Home Summit right around the corner, we thought we’d provide you with a preview of additional upcoming classes being offered around the country.

Mike Barcik will be back at it again, leading The HERS Associate & Taking the Performance Path. This class, an introduction to the HERS Index and IECC Compliance, will allow attendees to obtain CEU’s for AIA/CES (HSW), BPI, ICC, NARI, NAHB, and NATE, as well as earn the HERS Associate designation. The session will be offered at the following locations, on the following dates:

Boston, MA - September 25, 2018

Baltimore, MD - September 26, 2018

Charleston, SC - November 15, 2018

Nashville, TN -  December 5, 2018

Andy Oding will be leading the High Performance Mechanicals for Houses That Work session in Boise, ID on October 10, as well as in Portland, OR on November 8. Andy has over 23 years of experience in the residential construction industry and is currently a Building Science Associate with Building Knowledge Canada.

High Performance Mechanicals for Houses That Work is a full day seminar for builders, designers, code officials, and trade allies that focuses on HVAC, ventilation, hot water, IAQ, and electronic home controls in high-performance housing. CEU’s will be available for AIA/CES (HSW), BPI, NATE, RESNET, ICC, and InterNACHI.

Visit our website for more details on each session and where they will be held.


PechaKucha to Celebrate Housing Innovation

Winners of the prestigious DOE Housing Innovation Awards will be awarded during the High Performance Home Summit Luncheon and PechaKucha in October.
PechaKucha to Celebrate Housing Innovation

The Department of Energy recently released their 2018 Housing Innovation Award winners. The program recognizes the best in innovation on the path to zero energy ready homes. Winners are selected for each of five categories and one Grand Winner will be announced from each category during the EEBA High Performance Home Summit in San Diego, October 16-18.

You won’t want to miss the Luncheon on Day 1 of the Summit as Sam Rashkin announces the Grand Winners and the Housing Innovation Winners take part in PechaKucha with Alex Glenn. These companies and organizations have designed homes that are independently certified to meet the DOE Zero Energy Ready Home guidelines and hail from all over the U.S. “Every year we see the caliber of winning homes rise. Thrive is honored to be in the company of such great HIA winners,” says Gene Myers, EEBA Board President and CEO of Thrive Home Builders in Denver.

Innovation in Affordable Homes winners received recognition for building homes at an affordable price point and include four nonprofit organizations, and two repeat DOE Housing Innovation Award winners - Thrive Home Builders is a four-time winner and Mandalay Homes has been awarded six times.

  • Habitat for Humanity South Sarasota County, Venice, FL
  • Habitat for Humanity of Catawba Valley, Hickory, NC
  • Kalamazoo Valley Habitat for Humanity, Kalamazoo, MI
  • United Way of Long Island, Deer Park, NY
  • Thrive Home Builders, Denver, CO
  • Mandalay Homes, Prescott, AZ


Other winners in each category include:


The Innovation in Custom Homes (SPEC)

  • Addison Homes, Greer, SC
  • BrightLeaf Homes, Hinsdale, IL
  • C & B Custom Homes, Cottonwood, AZ
  • Dwell Development, Seattle, WA
  • Leading Force, Yakima, WA
  • Meritage Homes, Orlando, FL
  • Tim O’Brien Homes, Pewaukee, WI


Innovation in Custom Homes (Buyer)

  • High Performance Homes, Gettysburg, PA
  • TC Legend Homes, Bellingham, WA
  • Imery Group, Athens, GA
  • Ferrier Custom Homes, Fort Worth, TX
  • Bellingham Bay Builders, Bellingham, WA


Innovation in Multifamily Homes

  • Health-E Community Enterprises of Virginia, Williamsburg, VA
  • Garbett Construction, Salt Lake City, UT
  • Revive Properties and Philgreen Construction, Fort Collins, CO
  • Off The Grid Design, San Rafael, CA



  • Revive Properties and Philgreen Construction, Fort Collins, CO
  • Thrive Home Builders, Denver, CO
  • Mandalay Homes, Prescott, AZ
  • Garbett Construction, Salt Lake City, UT
  • Insight Homes, Bridgeville, DE


Previous winners can be found on the DOE’s Tour of Zero page. And don’t forget to register for the High Performance Home Summit soon! Discounted pricing ends August 31.


Educational Sessions for California Net Zero Mandate

Whether or not you’re ready for it, California is mandating it net zero directive in 2020.
Educational Sessions for California Net Zero Mandate

On May 9, the California Energy Commission voted to mandate advanced efficiency measures and rooftop solar for all new houses, condos and apartment buildings (up to three stories tall), obtaining building permits after January 1, 2020. If a building isn’t suitable for a rooftop array, it will be required to have access to community solar or offset energy usage through alternative efficiency gains. Builders can also take advantage of “compliance credits” by installing batteries like the Tesla Powerwall or sonnenBatterie - and further reduce the size of the solar array.

As California builders, raters, analysts, and architects seek methods and solutions to meet this aggressive state policy, part of this year’s High Performance Home Summit will be aimed at putting all the information California builders need in one place, to help you reach the goal of compliance in time. Various classes will be offered revolving around the impact of policy, code, and Title 24 on design and construction.


  • Zero Made Easier – Simple Solutions from Award-Winning Builders of DOE Zero Energy Ready Homes.  This presentation provides a compilation of the techniques used by award-winning builders in DOE’s Zero Energy Ready Home Program to achieve HERS scores of zero and lower. It will show several specific examples of techniques developed and used by builders as they strive for zero energy ready homes. Construction methods used in Zero Energy Ready homes are compared with those used in just-to-code new homes and existing homes for key components like wall assemblies and HVAC systems. The path to zero offered by the DOE Zero Energy Ready Home program is described with overviews provided for national and new California-specific criteria. Presented by Sam Rashkin, Chief Architect, DOE Building Technologies Office, and Theresa Gilbride, PNNL.


  • ZNE Homes for All:  Perspectives from ZNE Homeowners Who Don’t Know What ZNE Is.  This presentation will give an overview of Southern California Edison’s involvements with ZNE homes in the California market, and will share how SCE has worked with industry leaders to unearth meaningful analytical findings as well as anecdotal insights. Perspectives from willing homeowners will be shared to shed light on the ZNE market at large. Lastly, in this presentation, SCE will describe how this information and work are being used to refine existing customer offerings, and to broaden customer participation in a collective clean energy future to help meet the state’s aggressive and visionary climate action goals.  Presented by Will Vicent, Southern California Edison.


  • Lessons Learned from the Greenstone Net Zero Demonstration Home.  This presentation will present the Greenstone Homes Net Zero Demonstration project and the lessons learned in moving a production builder to Net Zero Home building practices. In 2017, Greenstone Homes collaborated with Mitsubishi and Lifebreath to do a Net Zero Demonstration home that was certified as a DOE Zero Energy Ready Home with a solar array. Greenstone Homes made simple modifications to a standard home plan and was able to build a Net Zero home for less than 10% cost increase from its standard build. With the new Net Zero home building requirements in California, projects like this are valuable to show that Net Zero is achievable by production home builders with some simple and affordable modifications to standard building practices.  Presented by Greg Davenport, Mitsubishi Performance Construction Team.


Take a look at all of this year’s session descriptions and join building professionals in markets all over the country at this year’s High Performance Home Summit in San Diego.

New Educational Program at High Performance Home Summit

The one-day Site Supervisor Designation will be available to registered attendees at this year’s conference.
New Educational Program at High Performance Home Summit

EEBA will be rolling out a new one-day course designed for project managers and site supervisors at this year’s High Performance Home Summit. The Site Supervisor Designation course will provide knowledge, processes, and best practices gained from building science and will demonstrate how it all applies to residential construction projects.

For participants to successfully obtain the designation they will need to attend the required classes during the Summit, and pass a quiz at the end of the course. The curriculum is based off guidelines developed by the U.S. Department of Energy and topics will include:

  • Building science fundamentals
  • Whole building integration
  • Building testing
  • Quality Management
  • Applying experience from the job-site to integrated design


At the end of the class, attendees should be able to understand how building science applies to processes such as integrated design and how site supervisors can contribute to, and gain from, these processes. Participants will also come away with a more comprehensive understanding of how quality management, including crew training, building testing, data collection, and construction documents, contribute to construction processes and consumer satisfaction. Lastly, they will get a glimpse of free internet-based tools that can assist with crew training, sequencing, and installation.

The class will be led by Michael Baechler, Senior Program Manager in the Energy and Engineering Division at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). The program will begin at 9:30 am on Tuesday, October 16 and will conclude at the end of Tuesday’s programming. Participants will be encouraged to raise questions, share their perspectives, and offer examples from their job sites. Similar job titles for a site supervisor include project manager, construction site manager, foreman, and field superintendent. All are encouraged to attend.


Growing a High Performance Home Network

Three decades later, EEBA’s network of knowledgeable building professionals is helping move the needle on energy efficiency.
Growing a High Performance Home Network

In 1982, the average sales price of a new home in the U.S. was $83,817 (U.S. Census Bureau), gas was $1.22/gallon, the Commodore 64 was released, and Michael Jackson’s Thriller made its debut.

In the same year, the Energy Efficient Building Association was formed an hour outside of Minneapolis in the little-known city of Pine Island, Minnesota. The founding members of EEBA consisted of a small group of building professionals representing the U.S., Canada, and Sweden who all held similar ideals for developing higher standards for energy efficient buildings.

Through the years, as environmental initiatives grew in the U.S., so did EEBA’s goals. Taking into consideration the strong partnerships they had formed, as well as a commitment to sustainable building practices, the Energy Efficient Building Association updated their name to the Energy & Environmental Building Alliance in 2008.

Now, over 35 years later, EEBA has built a network of educational and technical partners that continue to help push high performance, and energy efficient homes, forward. The free educational resources offered by EEBA partners are available on the website - many of which are climate-specific.

Don’t forget to take a look at the speaker lineup and register for this year’s High Performance Home Summit taking place in San Diego in October.

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