Green Assessment Potential Score GAPScore for Homes

Welcome! From the Founder and CEO, Steve Pohlman

Thursday, December 19, 2013

On Dec 16th, 2013, GAPScore, Inc. responded to the General Services Administrations RFI on climate change risk management innovations in the market place.  We are a federal vendor and are pleased to cooperate with the government to reduce the effects of carbon in the environment, health of the general public, and reduce the effects of climate change through preparedness.  Here is a copy of the full response.

Response Form for GSA RFI XZ003-XZ988-3

1.    Organization[1] Name and Address:

GAPScore, Inc.
831 N. Marion St.
Oak Park, IL 60302

2.    Point of Contact (name, phone # and email address):

Steve Pohlman
708-825-5104 cellular
708-383-2427 office

3.    Business Size (if a company/contractor, must select one):
        Small (Small Business Size Standard: $14.0 million/year annual average gross revenue for your last three fiscal years)

4.    If you selected “Small” in question 3, please indicate if your company is also one of the following small business types:

        8(a) Certified Small Business (FAR Subpart 19.8) Certification is being applied for with assistance from SBA.

5.    Does your organization currently hold a GSA Federal Supply Schedule Contract?


9.  Climate Risk Management
Describe your typical protocol or process for providing decision support to federal agencies.  How will this method apply to decisions related to climate change impacts to federal agencies mission, operations, facilities, or affected communities? Cite two specific examples (with references) where your protocol or process was applied to support Federal, State, regional, or local risk assessments.

GAPScore Response

Describe your typical protocol or process for providing decision support to federal agencies. 

GAPScore, Inc. is in the process development stage of providing a custom process and procedure to accumulate and disseminate data for decision making processes.  A typical process for acquiring data on properties is during the inspection or recording service periods that the federal, state or local government already performs.  An inspector or home owner is provided a 30 minute training session to apply the GAPScore test data information correctly, the data is confirmed as correct and listed on the site.  This data may be made available to the federal government for prioritizing, dissemination, and decision making processes through contract.

GAPScore Response

How will this method apply to decisions related to climate change impacts to federal agencies mission, operations, facilities, or affected communities?

Climate Change Impacts:  More than 300 million single family properties exist in the United States, over 30 million are held by the federal government in one way or the other.  HUD and FHA control almost 10% of all SFR in the country.  Just reducing the impacts from housing held by the government 50% can reduce 5% of the greenhouse gases emitted by residential properties annually.  Changes in Single Family Housing can only be addressed by the home owner or those who hold the mortgage, lean, or deed.  Positive directives through public awareness can only make home owners change.  GAPScore addresses a multiple front of climate change impacts.  By using accepted existing industry standard housing design techniques and upgrading as a part of the existing market system influences, GAPScore entices homeowners, lenders, and landlords to implement cost in energy savings and healthier sustainable buildings thus reducing climate change gases while increasing good responsible water, air, solar, energy and land use leading to overall sustainability.

Federal Agencies Mission:  “We have to know where we are before we can get there”
EPA, HUD, FHA, GSA, and every municipality across the country has a mission, get greener.  In each city nearly half of the energy consumed is for residential.  Yet all of the 1% of green home certifications and energy audits have made little difference to motivate or influence the other 99% or the “not yet tested” of the existing housing market.  Many homes have been upgraded and all fail to be recorded or even recognized in the market place. 

GAPScore provides a platform for those that have made green improvements.  It acts as a snapshot of the housing market that is constantly changing and upgrading.  We can view market trends and changes in national, regional and local habits as well as increased production through comparison data.

Affected Areas of Agencies:
Basically, every governmental entity that procures, develops, or maintains a residential property is affected and has the mission to provide more energy and environmentally efficient living quarters.

Operations:  Fits in the existing system and easy to implement
The inspection process happens often during transitional periods in the life of a single family property or multi-unit residential property.  Operations of governmental entities vary across the supply chain.  Therefore, GAPScore is working to ease the process of integration of operations and the distribution of data.

Facilities:  Effective Data equals good decision making
As climate change creates the need for adaptation, so shall the facilities to adapt to the climate changes in each region and predict purchasing requirements, adjusted budgets, and adequate supply chain channels for areas most in need which GAPScore test data can highlight for prioritizing project management to residential facilities.

Affected Communities:  We are all in this together…..
How would your community use GAPScore?

Describe your process for conducting risk analyses to prioritize activities. 
GAPScore Response
The GAPScore process for conducting risk analysis is being developed through the requests and demands of its customers/users.  Each report that can be generated through GAPScore data is produced on a specific as need basis by request only. 

How will this process translate to climate change adaptation and provide linkages between physical/logistical context and social/economic/behavioral adaptive capabilities? 
GAPScore Response
By being able to view comparative analysis, the government can use existing climate data to correlate trends and specific needs of the housing under which it services.  The needs of those residences are prioritized and turned into actionable items. 
For example:  A division of housing was built in 1948 and is home to 1,000 active duty personnel and their families.  Since these homes are on government property and the tenancy rates are short term with high turnover, the occupants don’t really take ownership and provide the building with the needed upgrades to become more sustainable or environmentally efficient.  Instead they utilize smaller air conditioners and heaters that eventually travel away.  Human behavior aroused by necessity caused an economic upturn in the area for A/C window units and space heaters but does allow for energy efficiency and comfort.  As upgrades are funded for “greener” options through building upgrades from the property management services, the energy efficiency and sustainability of the structure increases.  The more comfortable the tenant feels in their home, the more productive they become at work.  Tenant and property management requests are reactive in nature and a proactive state can be instituted through social communication and directional advice. 

Example #2:  A division of housing was built in 1948 and is home to 1,000 active duty personnel and their families.  Since the property management of these homes have been making steady upgrades to better the energy efficiency of each of the structures as tenants move out.  Because of budget constraints, material availability and management changes that have happened, the properties have been upgraded unevenly throughout the past 20 years with only purchase orders to record the transaction without a location of the upgrade.  The need to evaluate each property becomes apparent. 

In each of these examples the physical/logistical is dictated by the social/behavioral adaptations made by the tenant’s requests.  Social behavior and adaptation are the catalysts to economic development and surges in the market.  Demand creates the need for supply.  As climate change happens through regions, the reactive demands will be for stronger and more secure housing with comfort at a tolerable level.  By taking a proactive stance to adapt to climate changes predicted throughout the models that have not arisen, the social behavioral adaptations will continue to push the economy in areas that further sustainability, health, and conservation of land resources.

Cite two specific examples (with references) where your protocol or process avoided cost to the owner or stakeholder of critical infrastructure or systems.
GAPScore Response
It is difficult to quote a specific case as to the cost avoidance power of the GAPScore data.  The amount of people and businesses that utilize the GAPScore will need to increase and those will have to implement the advice and we have to wait to determine the exact amount of money saved over time.  The GAPScore test concentrates on specific areas for the home owner and municipalities. 
Exaple #1.  Question from GAPScore; “Do the downspouts go to the sewer?”  Municipal storm water and sewage run-off systems are saved from over taxing and saves the city, county, and state tax payer money.  The natural river system is preserved and water tables are replenished saving ecosystems.

Example #2.  Question from GAPScore, “Is there an Energy Star furnace?”  Every home owner sees a performance increase and cost savings.  With correctly installed high efficiency furnace and Energy Star water heater, the case for CO2 poisoning from back drafting becomes almost nonexistent.  Health and well fair cost savings are really arbitrary at best, but a hypothesis would say that science is right.

There are 77 questions that are on the GAPScore test.  The evaluation of air, water, land, solar, energy, and sustainability combined with the tenants knowledge of the benefits reaches far beyond the home owner for overall cost savings.  

10.  For those services you have addressed in your response to Question 9, please use the following template to provide specific information about three representative completed or in-progress contracts you have completed or started during the past three years.  For each contract template completed, please also provide a copy of the work statement.
            GAPScore Response
Due to the newness of our online service, no contracts have been finalized yet.

Points of Success:
The US Green Building Council added GAPScore to the Illinois Chapters Affiliate Vendor Promotion to local chapter members in 2012.
See Katy Kaluzy – Interim Director USGBC Illinois Chapter
The National Assoc. of Realtors has a link to the site for reference on the Green Resource Councils web site for “greening the MLS”
See Kristen Short – Director Green Resource Council, NAR Chicago

Provide any additional comments or observations about this RFI and the types of climate change adaptation services being sought by GSA (add additional pages as necessary).  Here are some guidelines for this open-ended portion of your response:
·         Comments that address the Government’s requirements, assumptions, conditions, or contemplated approaches.

GAPScore Response
The “Green Button” can benefit from the use of GAPScore in so many ways.  We honor Kevin Powell for his work in GSA and his input through blog postings, reports and email.
GAPScore is ready to put in place and to provide a multi-unit test and condo-unit test to the general public once our development stages are reached.

Information and suggestions that may encourage new, different or innovative approaches that would result in cost savings to the Government.
GAPScore Response
Educate the tenants of housing to promote stewardship and foster the feeling of ownership.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Does your house have to be less than 2,000 square feet to be green?

No, it just means that it will take a bit more material and energy to get the building more efficient.  The average home size around the world is less than 2,000 sqft and the United States has the largest square footage of homes in the world.  European and Asian homes are comparatively less square footage because of the age of the structures and populated regions, older homes were built much smaller.  Many Architects that had grown up in the region had designed buildings with the existing buildings as models.  The sizes and shapes may have varied a bit, but the structures still remain visibly similar.  However the 2,000 sqft. house is easier to build and more efficient for family and personal uses.  Close quarters enhance family values and there all kinds of psychological studies on family growth and home sizes.  The amount of energy to heat or cool can be greatly decreased and efficiently handled in a smaller controlled space.  Many green design inhibitors and attributes that can be found in larger homes are virtually absent in smaller home designs. 

The size of the structure determines the amount of material and labor that will be needed to reach efficiency levels needed for lower costs overall.  It does not mean that it cannot become green.  It does mean that it takes a little more to do it and the amount of energy use to occupy the house will be more than an average sized home with the same insulation factors at a 1 to 1 ratio.  The energy used to heat or cool three 2,000 sqft. homes equals the amount of energy costs of a 6,000 sqft home with the same insulation and building techniques..  . 

The truth is that once a larger home of 6,000 square feet reaches Passive House Certification insulation levels, the amount of energy to heat and cool is decreased at a 3 to1 ratio or more because energy is not needed in certain time periods.  Weather patterns can vary your results.  In other words, the larger the structure with the improved insulation energy efficiency steps will cost less energy per square footage as it gets larger   Your larger home will cost the same amount in monthly utility bills as the small home without improved insulation when the square footage of your home is triple or more the size.   So, if a large home is needed for a family of eight and you thought you couldn’t be green, think again.