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Make your Projects Energy Efficient and Zero Carbon Aligned

By Jennifer Castenson Guest Writer
Apr 5, 2023

Buildxact, an online platform that streamlines the project estimating process for builders and remodelers, has teamed up with the ABC Collaborative and Rise to offer access to hundreds of high-performance building solutions to help builders achieve zero carbon alignment. Through an easy-to-use program launching on April 11, builders can find recommended packages for their projects, adjust quantities, and purchase sustainable materials directly through the platform.

"Rise is now an official retail partner of Buildxact, a collaboration to enable building professionals to easily plan and purchase products for energy efficiency and zero carbon retrofits."

In this article, we will explore how Rise, Buildxact, and the ABC Collaborative are revolutionizing the construction industry with their innovative solution to support the transition to a sustainable future.

The Importance of Energy Efficiency in Construction

Recently the government allocated millions of dollars to reach the nation’s climate goals by 2050. A critical part of reaching those goals is making the housing stock and new construction homes healthier and more efficient. 

This isn’t always easy. Builders face layers of building codes, regulations, certifications, and other criteria that can be difficult to sift through. 

That’s where Buildxact comes in. Buildxact is an online platform that streamlines the project estimating process for a builder or remodeler to quote and to win more work. As a digital tool to grow business, Buildxact saw the opportunity to help construction professionals tap into the growing economy of energy efficiency in the home.

Advanced Building Construction Collaborative
Advanced Building Construction Collaborative

How Rise Fits in with Buildxact and ABC Collaborative

Working with the ABC Collaborative, an initiative administered by RMI, ADL Ventures, Passive House Institute US, Association for Energy Affordability and VEIC with support from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Buildxact now offers access to hundreds of high-performance building solutions, so the builder doesn’t have to do the hard work of putting them together. 

Plus, the system connects seamlessly to the Rise catalog, so with just a few clicks a user can find a sustainable package, add all the products in that package to their online shopping cart and have it shipped directly to their job site. 

Retrofit Decision Tool
Retrofit Decision Tool

The Retrofit Decision Tool: A Fast and Easy Online Process

The easy-to-use program is launching on April 11 alongside a webinar hosted by Buildxact.

Users will start on the Retrofit Decision Tool site by entering 12 data points about their project, ranging from building type to insulation. Based on those inputs, the platform will display recommended packages for the project. These packages include performance specifications for lighting, appliances, mechanical systems, and the envelope, unique to the project outline, including climate zone details. 

Each of those packages has a live web link that directs the user to the Buildxact platform where the user can interact with the bill of materials, adjust quantities, and then connect to Rise to purchase the package. Once the user arrives in the Rise catalog, they can select the exact SKU that they want to order and complete the purchase. 

Through Buildxact, users also can put a professional proposal together to send to the homeowner. As inflation continues to go up, so do energy prices, leaving homeowners looking for ways to save money. With these rebates and long-term energy cost savings, there is a real opportunity for a proposal to land the job and potentially bring in a next project as a trusted sustainability advisor. 

Users will be able to access this program via a free, two-week trial of Buildxact, with the option to enter an ongoing monthly subscription following the trial period. 

Defining Zero Carbon Aligned (ZCA) Construction

The packages through the Retrofit Decision Tool are based on decades of work that were accumulated in the recently published Accelerating Decarbonization with Advanced Building Construction: Market Guidance to Scale Zero-Carbon-Aligned Residential Buildings report. 

Based on the work supported by the US Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy under the Building Technologies Office, the authors of the report include Brett Webster, Lucas Toffoli, and Martha Campbell from RMI; Leslie Badger, Alison Donovan, Damon Lane, and Kevin McGrath from VEIC; Aven Satre-Meloy from Berkeley Lab; Cheryn Metzger and Tyler Pilet from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory; and Eric Wilson and Janet Reyna from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory

All the report’s recommendations are based on the term zero carbon aligned (ZCA) construction. Through authors’ diverse perspectives operating under the umbrella of the Advanced Building Construction Collaborative, the group defined ZCA with four provisions. First, ZCA means that there are no net on-site carbon emissions; second, it eases the decarbonization of its end uses by having low power and thermal loads that do not need much electrical or mechanical infrastructure; and third, it sources energy from a carbon-neutral grid or local resource; and finally, it minimizes its grid impact or operates off grid. 

What the report suggests is that if all US buildings are built or retrofitted to be ZCA before 2050 and the assumed grid scenario is met, the US building stock can be considered decarbonized in terms of operational emissions – a huge milestone that Buildxact and Rise are preparing to help accomplish. 

Buildxact
Buildxact

Streamlining the Project Estimating Process

The Buildxact program hits at a key moment in time – with the rebates and tax credits offered through the Inflation Reduction Act and as homeowners are looking for ways to save money and energy.

While the online process does save a lot of steps, hours or even days in the research and identification of the right materials, there is still the process of selling the homeowner. Buildxact and Rise both offer various educational assets available to bring homeowners and buyers up to speed and motivate them to be part of a zero-carbon aligned future, whether they are motivated by the environmental impact and/or the money savings. 

For the US to reach its national goal, the report shows that virtually all new construction needs to be ZCA by 2030. There will be demand for more than 14-million new homes during the next 10 years, which would all need to be built following the four ZCA principles. 

Then, there are all the existing homes to consider. The report shows that 40-million housing units would only require an appliance and mechanical system swap-out to become ZCA. There are another 42-million units that would need envelope improvements, like window and wall upgrades, in addition to equipment swap-outs. Finally, there are around 32-million units that will require heavier envelope interventions in addition to equipment swap-outs to be ZCA. 

About 8% of housing, or 10-million units, is already ZCA so it will not need to be prioritized for one of the suggested retrofits, which still leaves about 60% of the housing stock that needs a significant retrofit. Currently, these retrofits are only being addressed in about 1% of the housing stock, which will need to ramp up to around 3% by the end of the decade.  

Aven Satre-Meloy serves as a computational research scientist at Berkeley Lab and shared that there is a more in-depth tool available for remodelers, builders, and policy makers, that can be used for a pro to understand the implications to their business. 

Using this separate online, interactive tool, demand-side actors like contractors, could narrow into their area of work using dynamic filters. For example, limiting a search to a geographic region and a building type to then see the recommended retrofit packages, as well as the estimated impacts of delivering those packages in terms of annual energy and CO2 savings. 

Conclusion

Builders and remodelers who never had the capacity or the resources to act on an opportunity like this are now able to with the help of the technology this partnership has put together. 

Now it’s time to start using the online tools. You can also register for the April 11th webinar to see a demonstration of the platform in action. 

If that’s not enough, Buildxact will be hosting a LinkedIn Live at 4:30 pm ET on Thursday, April 13 to chat with Lucas Toffoli, who serves as principal of carbon-free buildings at RMI. During this live session, you can ask questions to the Buildxact team and to some of the authors of the report.

Disclaimer: This article does not constitute a product endorsement however Rise does reserve the right to recommend relevant products based on the articles content to provide a more comprehensive experience for the reader.Last Modified: 2023-04-05T16:23:35+0000
Jennifer Castenson

Article by:

Jennifer Castenson

Jennifer Castenson serves as the vice president of ambassador and industry partner programs for Buildxact, providing leadership and collaboration through technology to drive a higher level of efficiency for builders and dealers. She develops and curates content to be a catalyst for innovation with stakeholders involved in residential construction. She also is a contributing writer to Forbes.

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