November 2016
Photo of Jon Siemen in Colorado

Hannah Wood
Hannah Wood
Jon Siemen Memorial Scholarship Applications Due November 30th

Can you answer "yes" to any of the following questions?

  • Are you or any of your employees interested in obtaining one of BPI's Home Energy Professional (HEP) certifications?
  • Are you required by a program to have a member of your staff certified as an Energy Auditor, Quality Control Inspector, Crew Leader, or Retrofit Installer?
  • Would you or your employees like to take the exams for free?

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, then you might want to check out the Jon Siemen Memorial Scholarship.

The Jon Siemen Memorial Scholarship has been developed to honor the life, memory, and work of Jon Siemen, who passed away in March 2015.

The Building Performance Institute, Inc. will be awarding this scholarship to four recipients annually; one recipient for each of the four Home Energy Professional (HEP) certifications.

Recipients of the scholarship will be able to take the written and field exams that are applicable for the certification designation indicated on the application, at no cost. BPI will also work with each recipient to help them obtain training for that certification at reduced or no cost.

Applications can be submitted year round, but the deadline to be considered as a recipient of one of the four scholarships in 2017 is Wednesday, November 30, 2016 by 5pm. Any applications submitted after November 30th will be considered for 2018.

Click here to read more about the scholarship and apply.

Photo: AccuWeather

Quinn Korzeniecki
Quinn Korzeniecki
Building Performance News and Discussion

BPI News

Over 25 jobs seeking BPI certified professionals have been added to the BPI Green Jobs Connection website in the past few weeks. Check them out!

Do you have an opinion on how the future new BPI professional website looks and feels? BPI is seeking out contractors, program managers, and other industry professionals to join a web input committee. We want to ensure that the website is user friendly and informative for all audiences. Email to join the committee.

Industry News

Final ICC 2018 codes could recognize air permeable insulation options in unvented attics and buried ducts.

AccuWeather predicts the 2016-17 winter to be the coldest since 2010-11, increasing the demand for HVAC professionals skilled in gas, heating oil, and electric heating systems.

Nationwide, schools are upgrading to energy efficient HVAC systems and building management systems (BMS) in an effort to improve indoor air quality, which affects student and staff attendance, comfort, and performance.

Federal, State, Local News

Despite the lack of energy efficiency standards in the Midwest states like Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan, state and local governments are pushing to increase focus on these mandates.

California's Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) has sent out a request for proposals (RFP) to create a residential pay-for-performance pilot incentive program for energy efficiency to reward homeowners for investing in energy upgrades.

Milwaukee won a $750,000 federal grant to cut energy use by 20% by 2020 in downtown buildings by offering energy-saving programs that can help building owners pinpoint financing to pay for upgrades over time rather than upfront.

Tech Talk

No ventilation in a bathroom? Read Allison Baile's account on how he installed an exhaust fan during a bathroom remodel.

Learn how to properly air seal a dropped soffit (even a tight soffit) in this 3-minute video.

Photo: TVI Designs

Tom Grandy
Tom Grandy
It's Not about the Sales Process; It's about the Follow Up

Okay, the title is a bit misleading. The sales process is important and anyone in sales needs to know at least the basics of the sales process. The closing rate is also heavily dependent on follow up, or the lack of it.

I was the general manager of a trades company for many years. Sales people would come by the office on a somewhat regular basis. Each would make their sales presentation, then leave. More than a few times, I was actually interested in what they had to offer, but a seemingly strange thing consistently happened: they never called back!

I guess the assumption, from the salesperson's perspective, was that if I was really interested I would call them. Wrong! Remember, I was the general manager, like many reading this article, and my days were very structured. After a few days, I would simply forget about the product or service. The potential sale, from an interested customer, was lost. Why? Lack of follow up.

How do you feel when you get a follow up call from a contractor? You probably feel "special" since the vast majority of the trades industry does NOT follow up. When the salesperson calls back as scheduled, customers are often amazed. That one bit of integrity can often close a sale.

Follow up is the consistent, planned contact with a potential customer that is only concluded when the customer responds in one of two ways: the customer accepts the offer and the work is scheduled or the customer tells the salesperson they either have selected someone else or they have decided not to have the work done.

Your company may not be the customer's number one priority. It's not that the customer isn't interested; it's that they are busy with 28 other things that are more important in their world, but have nothing to do with you. I can honestly tell you that well over 90% of the work on my schedule comes because I followed up as opposed to the customer taking time out of their busy schedule to call me.

Follow up calls show the customer you are interested. If the customer has received three bids, the company that calls back is indirectly telling them they want to do the work. On the other side of the coin, if you don't call back, the customer assumes you are either not interested and/or are too busy to do their work.

As long as the customer allows you to continue to make follow up calls within the time periods they specify, it means they are still interested in having you do the work. Remember, the squeaky wheel gets the grease so be sure you are a polite, but squeaky, wheel.

About The Author

Tom Grandy is the founder of Grandy & Associates, a company focused on training contractors how to run profitable businesses.

Photo: Master Isolated Images

Did Someone Stump the Chump?

Thank you to everyone who submitted a response to September's stumper! We had a few close responses but none really hit the nail on the head.

As a reminder, Jim Fritz of The Snell Group submitted the image below. The upper three floors this 15-story apartment building was taken in late January, approximately 6 hours after sunset. The wall facing the camera was a west wall while the wall at right angles was facing south. The wind was calm, while outdoor air temperature was about -18 C (0 F).

Jim explains, "This wall is known to have serious moisture accumulation issues with inadequate drainage plane behind the brick. The building has experienced both efflorescence and brick spalling due to the extensive freeze thaw cycling, particularly on the south and west walls. Some tenants had experienced water infiltration along floor areas, which the property manager reasoned was due to wind driven rain infiltration at the lintel/slab. Brick spalling on any building is a serious durability issue but on a high-rise can also be a safety issue, particularly if the presence of water and freeze thaw cycles compromises the integrity of the brick tie-backs.

A mosaic of the complete west fa├žade tells the story of pressurization in the building. The routine warm circles between the windows are bathroom exhaust outlets. The bathroom fans are simple axial manually controlled fans. Note that all the exhaust fans in the upper 6 floors "appear" to be on. This, however, is due to stack effect, with the bottom of the building under negative pressure and the upper floors under positive pressure.

Note the lone exhaust fan which is really on the third floor up from the bottom of the mosaic. This means, in winter under low wind, the upper floors are under complete positive pressure which also rules out the change in polarity of the suspect area is due to air movement. Elimination of heat and air as the thermal source of the thermal anomaly only leaves moisture as the suspect. Thermography reveals that issue is not just wind driven rain infiltrating along the slab. The source of the water may be weather related but is not localized to the slab."

The source also could be water deposition through diffuse air exfiltration as there is no air barrier in this building and the problems appear to be worse (thermally and physically) on the upper floors. There is an ongoing building science investigation as to the root cause. An extensive building cladding retrofit is anticipated.

Let's Play November's Stump the Chump!

This month's stumper comes from David Byrnes of Green ID in Phoenix, Arizona.

An all electric, 1700 sq ft home in Phoenix, AZ was recently built in 2008. The average pressure pan was found to be 0.6 Pa with a static pressure of 0.4 IWC on the return and 0.2 IWC on the supply.

The summer and winter temperatures are kept at 78 degrees and 68 degrees and 2 people live in the house. There is no pool but there is a recirculation pump on the water heater. Windows are dual pane, low-e but they do get 4 hours of western sun exposure. Attic insulation was found to be aligned and at R-36 on average along the attic floor.

What would be the cause of a $450 energy bill in July?

Send us your answer to this month's stumper! Email to enter to win the contest, and be featured in the next issue of Performance Matters.

JOIN THE DISCUSSION! Each month's Stump the Chump challenge will be featured as a topic on BPI's discussion page on Home Energy Pros, the home performance industry's very own social networking site. To send your answer there, and discuss with other Stump the Chump fans, simply visit BPI's discussion page and click on the right-hand 'Sign Up' box to create a profile, then add your comment.

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Upcoming BPI GoldStar Webinars

Speaking of Estimating - Speed and Accuracy Are Essential!
Mike Gorman, TechKnowledge Systems

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Earn Up To 1.5 BPI CEUs

Free to BPI GoldStar Contractors and BPI Test Centers; $50 fee for all others

In this session, we will explore how quick and accurate pricing could guarantee you more sales.

Click here to register.

Click here for information on upcoming GSC webinars!

Come See Us at an Upcoming Conference

Join BPI staff as we present and/or have a booth at the following upcoming conferences:

Residential Energy Dynamics

BSP Second Edition Now Available

Thousands of people just like you have earned the BSP on their quest for success as a professional in the home performance industry. Isn't it time you joined them?

The second edition features an entire section dedicated to DOE's Home Energy Score, even more critical information on renewables including solar and other alternative energy sources. Spanish version now available.

Buy Now! Buy the Reference Guide and online exam. Take the exam anytime within a year.

Learn more about the Building Science Principles Certificate

Become a BPI GoldStar Contractor

BPI GoldStar Contractors: quality driven, industry leading home performance expertise.

BPI GoldStar Contractors are held to the industry's highest standards. With a quality first approach, these industry experts are the contractors to trust.

Learn more about becoming a BPI GoldStar Contractor

Many clients would like a simple, easy to understand energy rating of their home. Add ratings to your scope of services. Click here to find out how to become a BPI Rater today.
Think You Can Stump the Chump?

You know - that problem house, symptom or combination of symptoms that confounded the homeowner and challenged all your building science savvy to solve. Send us a description of the problem — and the solution, which we'll keep a secret. If it's a genuine stumper, we'll publish it in the next Performance Matters e-newsletter. Send to and we'll write it up.

Grace and Corbett 2016 Tour - Proof is Possible!

Grace and Corbett Lunsford kicked off their 2016 Proof is Possible Tour in April!

Following are the next three tour stops on the 20-city national tour:

The couple and new baby will be traveling the country in a small house on wheels called "The Tiny Lab" to showcase measured home performance through a series of workshops and open house tours.

Earn 2 BPI CEUs by attending the Advanced Techniques and Tools for Home Performance workshop with Corbett offered at each stop.

Are you a Home Energy Pro?

Join the BPI discussion group on Home Energy Pros, the home performance industry's very own social networking site. Get technical, business and marketing advice from your peers, and show what you know from your years on the job! Visit BPI's page and click on the right-hand 'Sign Up' box to create a profile, then join BPI's discussion group.