Results From Leading Rater Roundtable

CodeWatcher RESNET Roundtable

This past February, at the RESNET Conference in Orlando, the ZERH team held the 3rd Leading Rater Roundtable Meeting. Here are the key findings from the event.

Insightful raters from across the country shared their experiences working with ZERHs. These regular meetings provide the ZERH team with firsthand experiences from the field, including common issues that arise when working with the program and what should be done moving forward to better support our rater partners.  A summary of the findings is below.  You can read the full report here.  

Key Findings

  • The more training and education the better. There was agreement in the room that many groups within the industry don’t have a full understanding of program requirements. This lack of understanding might come from builders, sub-contractors, raters, or others involved in the construction process. Participants consistently called for increased education and training.
  • More awareness and more stringent codes mean more responsibility and liability. As codes and standards become more rigorous and homebuyers become more knowledgeable about what they should expect from today’s homes, everyone involved in the construction industry has increased responsibility and added liability. In high performance homes, raters are especially liable because of claims made in marketing and advertising about the expected performance of the home.
  • Increased marketing and brand recognition. Communicating the value to builders and homeowners of the energy and the non-energy benefits (comfort, health, durability) that come with a ZERH is not always easy. Improving brand recognition through marketing and consumer awareness campaigns will help both builders and consumers understand the difference in value between a ZERH, ENERGY STAR, and code-built homes. Social media can and should be a very effective platform to do so. 
  • More money, more competition, more ZERH homes! There was consensus that incentives to motivate builders to move to ZERH would have an impact on market penetration.  Inclusion in state, local, and utility programs would improve the program from a builder participation standpoint.  Additionally, competition such as the Housing Innovation Awards, the Solar Decathlon, and even peer pressure can help drive builders to move to ZERH