Meet the Newest Phius Team Members

They say the only constant in the world is change, and that has certainly been true over the past 18 months.

As COVID-19 has affected nearly every aspect of life during that time, we at Phius have been lucky enough to not only stay the course, but greatly expand. Our vision is only getting larger, and in order to make that vision a reality, we needed some help.

We are thrilled to say that we got exactly the help we needed with several new additions to the Phius staff. Each staff member brings their own unique skill set to the table and will be instrumental in the future of our organization. 

Without further adieu, we would like to introduce the newest members of the Phius staff!

Jennie EberJennie Eber, Alliance Constituent Coordinator

Jennie started at Phius in August of 2020. She serves as the Alliance Constituent Coordinator at Phius, supporting members and chapters across the country. She works closely with members to ensure they receive the best possible benefits of being part of Phius. Prior to joining Phius, Jennie worked in development for a local tax assistance organization after moving from Philadelphia where she worked in membership organizations supporting volunteers and communications across internal and external platforms. She has more than 10 years of experience in nonprofits.

Jennie has a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts from Kalamazoo College as well as a Master’s degree in Public Administration, nonprofit management from George Mason University.

 

 

Michael FrancoMichael Franco, Product Certification Program Coordinator

Michael Franco joined Phius in October 2020 as the Product Certification Program Coordinator. Prior to joining Phius, Michael worked as an account manager for an MRO distributor in the industrial sector.

He holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Chapman University and an M.S. in Project Management from USC.

 

 

 

 

Max LapthorneMax Lapthorne, Marketing Communications Specialist

Max Lapthorne joined Phius in May of 2021 as the Marketing Communications Specialist. Prior to joining Phius, he worked as a Digital Marketing Specialist on an in-house marketing team in Hoffman Estates where he spearheaded the launch of a new loyalty program. He also previously worked as a newspaper editor for 22nd Century Media in the Southwest suburbs of Chicago.

Max has a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Michigan State University

 

 

 

 

photographs by lawrence braun

John Loercher, Certification Staff

John Loercher joined the Phius certification team in August of 2021. He provides design review, updates our existing CPHC training curriculum and helps expand the advanced training offerings at Phius. Prior to joining the certification team, John has been an active CPHC since 2016 and has certified all building types ranging from single-family and multi-family residential, commercial, new construction and retrofits. He is a Certified Passive House Consultant and holds a masters of architecture from Parsons the New School for Design.

He is currently on the advisory board of the Phius Alliance – Hudson Valley chapter and serves as the Secretary and Northeast Regional Representative for the national Phius Alliance chapter.

 

 

 

Al MitchellAl Mitchell, Technical Staff

Al Mitchell joined the Phius team in July 2020 to aid in technical capacities, ranging from research to project certification. He holds degrees in architectural engineering and architecture from Illinois Tech and Ball State University respectively.

 

 

 

 

 

Steven Reid-WynnSteven Reid-Wynn, Office Administrator

Steven Reid-Wynn joined Phius in June of 2020 as the office administrator, where he supplies administrative and financial support for the staff.

Prior to Phius, he has worked as an Accounting/Finance Manager for an IT staffing firm and Bookkeeper/Office Manager for a local startup. He has more than 20 years of experience working within accounting departments, office management, and operations. He studied Accounting at Kentucky State University and Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Mo.

 

 

 

Josh RuedinJosh Ruedin, Professional Training and Education Programs Manager

Josh Ruedin joined Phius in January of 2021 as the Professional Training and Education Programs Manager. He oversees live and on-demand training offerings and works closely with stakeholders and subject matter experts to ensure that Phius’ certification trainings and continuing education offerings provide quality learning opportunities.

He has worked as a high school English teacher, managed continuing education programs for radiologists, and directed online safety and health trainings for frontline construction and industry workers. 

Josh holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.

What are QAPs and Why are they so Important to Phius?

isaac picIsaac Elnecave, a member of the Phius certification team, breaks down Phius’ involvement in the Qualified Action Plans of various states, specifically Illinois and Michigan.

Over the last few weeks, Illinois and Michigan have proposed (and in the case of Michigan, finalized), the latest version of their Qualified Allocation Plans (QAP).  What is a QAP?

A good working description of the QAP can be found at the Illinois Housing Development Agency website: 

The Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP) sets forth the criteria for evaluating all projects that apply for a tax credit allocation. The QAP sets forth the rules under which the IHDA offers affordable housing development funding in the form of federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC). The QAP describes the selection criteria and application requirements for receiving these federal tax credits and tax-exempt bonds. 

Illinois Housing Development Agency Website

The LIHTC, a federal program administered by states, incentivizes the construction of low income housing.  States determine who receives the tax credit through the evaluation of the QAP. 

7_Harry and Jeanette Weinberg CommonsThe QAP is a points-based system. A developer submits a proposed project to the housing agency. The proposed project then receives points based on whether they achieve criteria set out in the QAP. Points can be awarded under a variety of categories such as (please note that each state has its own characteristics): 

  • Building characteristics, 
  • community characteristics, 
  • development team, 
  • financing and 
  • sustainability. 

For example, under building characteristics, a project can receive points for having an increased number of accessible units and engaging in cost containment. Under community characteristics, a project can receive points for being located near public transit. Under sustainability (the category of most interest to Phius readers), a project can receive points for meeting either energy efficiency or green building standards. 

The QAP presents a great opportunity to incentivize the construction of low-income buildings to the Phius standard. In Pennsylvania, when the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Authority awarded significant points to projects built to the Phius standard, the number of projects built to the Phius standard grew substantially.

Illinois 

In the new Illinois QAP, a project that meets the basic Phius designation — Phius CORE — would receive 10 points. If the project meets the Phius ZERO certification, it would receive an additional 3 points, for a total of 13. Thirteen points represents a significant percentage of the maximum 100 points. 

Moreover, the agency structured the point values so that a developer could meet both a green designation such as Enterprise Green Communities and Phius. This provides an additional pathway as receiving a Phius certification is one way of meeting the EGC energy designation.  

The Illinois QAP can be found here.

Michigan 

In Michigan, projects need to meet a minimum threshold requirement (such as EGC), and can receive an additional four points by achieving a Phius certification. So, much like in Illinois, Phius can work in tandem with green standards such as Enterprise Green Communities.  For example, a project that incorporates a Phius certification as part of the EGC requirements would meet the threshold requirement and receive an additional four points toward the overall score — an approach that leverages the strengths of both standards.  

The Green Standard requirements of the Michigan QAP can be found here.

Ultimately, Phius hopes to get its standard as part of the QAP in every state. Currently, there are about a dozen states, primarily in the Northeast, that incorporate Phius into their QAPs. The work in Michigan and Illinois charts a path to broadening the geographic scope of this important incentive program to help promote the construction of Phius certified low-income housing across the entire country.

New Brand. Expanded Vision. Same Phius.

A lot can change in 18 years.

While our core values at Phius have remained constant since our inception as an affordable housing organization in 2003, our vision has expanded significantly. Our goals are more ambitious than ever, and the methods by which we plan to achieve them are ever-changing.

New Brand Same Phius GraphicIn an effort to properly reflect the evolution of our organization, we thought it necessary to reimagine the Phius brand. But before you roll your eyes, it is important to know that this is much more than a new color scheme and font family; this is an update to more accurately reflect who we are as an organization.

The process has included surveying stakeholders, internal organization evaluations, spirited discussions about Phius’ future, and yes, some interesting logo iterations. Those efforts resulted in the establishment of the foundation on which the Phius brand will continue to build.

You have likely already noticed the new Phius logo and color scheme, as we have been slowly integrating it over the past several months. Our annual conference also has a new name: PhiusCon. Aside from being a bit snappier than the North American Passive House Conference, the new name makes clear that Phius is synonymous with passive building. 

Speaking of PhiusCon 2021, attendees will get an early look at the completely overhauled Phius professional portal and brand new website that is to be launched in the new year. Our talented website team has been working tirelessly to improve the functionality and reorganize all the valuable resources we have accumulated over nearly two decades. These new tools will provide a much smoother user experience, and we cannot wait to share them with you.

Phius is still the premier zero-energy and carbon neutral ready building solution. It is still the leader in educating and certifying professionals on passive building best practices. Its ultimate goal is still to make Phius the mainstream building standard. But in order to do those things the best way possible, we needed to expand our vision. This re-branding serves as the outer layer of a plan for the future that permeates all aspects of our mission, including the renewable energy transition and how Phius buildings interact with the new grid.

We have made great progress in our quest, but there is still a lot of work to be done. And as our organization evolves to meet the challenges ahead, we want to make sure you are right there with us.