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2013

Happy New Year – about 300 energy audits done over the last 2 and a bit years.  I’ve seen lots of houses from McMansions to tiny cottages.  The owners are all interesting, most very pleasant.

They self-select as being interested in saving energy because they contact us, agree to have us spend hours in their house and pay a fee up front.  Yet almost half decide not to go ahead with a project.  Why?

It could be that I’m a lousy salesrep, but the statistics comparing to others don’t support that theory.

More likely it is a combination of factors;

  • The cost of a project is relatively high, in the region of $10-20K
  • We are still in times of economic uncertainty
  • The rebates and 0% loans – very generous in New Jersey – still do not totally cover the costs and most people don’t have cash laying around.
  • Boilers and insulation, even if we love them, are not very sexy.  Air sealing is of course quite invisible.  A new counter top or some window treatment is more satisfying.
  • The price of energy is too low

The last item is the most important in my opinion.  Sure, it’s great to have low energy costs and the impact on a fragile economy of increased prices would be painful.  The prices are low partially because energy is still easily available (in the US) and because the costs are subsidized by all sorts of of direct  and indirect  support.

[Direct support such as tax incentives, exploration subsidies and much larger indirect support like leases on government land and payment of environmental and health effects by others – later]

For a home owner to really embrace a project they have to fall into one of three categories;

  • The rebates and other incentives cover most of the project
  • Their furnace or boiler is broken and they need a replacement today (and might as well collect the rebate…)
  • They have a “green” philosophy and a ten year plus outlook on return on investment

OK then, on into another year, looking for these enlightened people – and thanks to all my previous clients.

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