Big data toolbox

Why You Need Big Data in Your Toolbox

Focused on reaching HERO Code but having a few issues setting you back? Is a plan type failing to meet blower door targets? Is your Chapel Hill neighborhood earning more HERO dollars than your Holly Springs neighborhood? There’s a simple solution to many of the frustrations keeping your project from staying on track: Big Data.

Big Data, Big Data, Big Data… a buzzword that gets used a lot and that, to many, is about as intuitive as HERS ratings and window coefficients.

If you haven’t taken the plunge into the depths of your own data mining, refining, and analyzing, you might not need to jump just yet! As your HERS rater we’re constantly collecting data… lots and lots of data. At 13,000 yearly inspections x 100 data points per inspection we’re accumulating 1,300,000+ data points in real-time every year. That’s Big Data territory! Data we’ve already gathered on your homes, data that we have and use every single day in dozens of ways.

When are we using this “Big Data” to help you excel in the high-performance marketplace? The answer is always, but let’s focus on 3 for now: Planning and Design, On-Site Performance, and Sales and Marketing.

Quick Facts

Planning and Design

Utilizing data is a huge part of determining what needs to be done to achieve your energy efficiency goals like Energy Star or a Zero Energy Blueprint build, but what happens when one of your neighborhoods is failing to meet HERO code while others are passing with flying colors? Well, you rely on your rating partner to get you the solution. Fortunately our building science experts can turn to the data on your homes to pinpoint issues and implement impactful solutions quickly and decisively.

Here’s an example of how we’re using the numbers, custom tools, and well-trained, experienced team members to help a builder solve a common problem:

  • Jamison, our project manager, runs the latest version of XYZ builder’s HERO Data Tool.
  • She sees that Neighborhood B is under-performing as compared to Neighborhoods A and C.
  • Digging into the data sets, she sees that there are 5 building plans built in Neighborhood B.
  • Of the 5 floor plans, 1 of them has been built twice and has never met HERO Code ACH targets.
  • Continuing to use our data models, she looks at the details of the failing floor plan, compares it to the others, and sees no difference in options other than it has a 3rd floor walkup.
  • She reaches out to our field team, who identifies that the web trusses have had issues with blocking and air sealing. A common problem, but unfortunately common fixes aren’t good enough for this floor plan.
  • SEM’s field team works with the builder to create a unique solution for this floor plan and its troubled web trusses.
  • After the builder invests in targeted materials and labor to address the issue, we see the next house built by XYZ builders with a 3rd floor walkup has met HERO Code targets and all is well.

Sure this might be an over simplified example. Based on our experience, we could probably guess that blocking and air sealing at a 3rd floor walkup is critical to meeting HERO Code targets. But the difference here is that we have data that can help us pinpoint the problem and tell the story.

The issue with the blocking and air sealing at the trusses is brought to light by our data. We can show the builder that the only variance between the 5 floor plans is the 3rd floor walkup. It’s not a guess and guess again scenario on why this home is not meeting ACH targets. The culprit is identified, soundly and with evidence backed by our use of the homes’ data. This combined with an experienced and talented field team provides powerful results. The process is smoother, the results are better, and business decisions are stronger.

ACH improvement over time through data analysis

Adapting to Market Trends

When we commit to being on-site on a given day at a certain time, we’re going to follow through. But as we all know, the dynamic market we work in comes with random swings in production which means our managers basically need to have certified fortune teller listed in their job requirements.

We can’t be sure whether our team members actually possess psychic power, but by looking at our data they are able to predict the ebbs and flows of the construction industry to ensure we have hired and trained enough team members to meet the builder’s business process demands on time — and after doing this for nearly 20 years they’ve gotten pretty good at it. We’re proud to offer a scheduling guarantee and have a 100% schedule compliance track record to back it.

Sales and Marketing

Telling your story of high-performance homes can be challenging. It’s easy to get overly complicated and lose the homebuyers’ attention in the process. In response to that, we’re providing you with two Quarterly Reports to help your team communicate your value more precisely.

We can use the data at our fingertips to highlight the quality of your construction by detailing the energy bill savings you’ve earned for your existing clients. This allows us to point out the comfort gains your homebuyers experience and tell the story of how your ducts and homes are tight, your walls are insulated perfectly, and your HVAC systems are sized appropriately. Can your competition say the same thing? Do they have the data presented in the way you do? Can they point to a 3rd-party product that tells such a compelling story? 

Collecting Big Data

After hearing this, you might wonder, where does this data come from and how can we be sure it is accurately obtained? From team member performance, job costing, home performance details, high level neighborhood details, and many more, data collection and data processing are no simple tasks. We also believe in ensuring that the data we collect is accurate. That’s why we’re doing a quality assurance check on 100% of all our collected data to verify that the data we’ve gathered is ‘clean’. Having the right people, with the right training, and with the right direction is key — which is why we’ve invested heavily in those resources so you don’t need to establish your own team or process. 

Getting Started on Your Data Journey

We’ve invested heavily in training team members, hiring data analytics specialists, developing data tools, cleaning our data sets, and in using the data and tools we have to make consequential decisions. We’ve taken our data and data-skills sets from our management teams to our marketing and sales teams, and we think we’ve got a lot of powerful information to help our builders show their value to their homebuyers. We’re years into this journey.

So… Do you need to become an expert in collecting a large amount of data, scrubbing it for accuracy, and building tools so you can properly analyze the numbers? Maybe, but maybe not just yet. Maybe we can be your HERS-Rating-Big-Data trade partner? What questions do you need answers to? What metrics are your team missing? Maybe we already have the answers to your questions, you just haven’t asked yet? So the obvious question now is, what’s next? Let us know when you’re ready to dive into your data journey.

Sincerely,

SEM, your HERS Ratin’ Big Data ass kicking trade partner. (We do solar too). 

*** Disclaimer: We’re celebrating Big Data, not Big Brother. We don’t collect anything personal or anything that is outside of our scope of work. (1984 scared the shit out of me back in middle school, I haven’t gotten over that yet)***

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