Utilities Offer Programs That Can Benefit Your Customers
Not only that — these utility-sponsored energy-efficiency programs can lower your energy bills, too
In Texas, as in many other states, local electric utilities offer homeowners a variety of free services to help lower energy bills.
According to a website maintained by the Free Lighting Corporation, “The State of Texas has developed programs to assist qualified electric customers of investor-owned utilities in installing energy-saving improvements to help reduce consumption of energy. All electric or gas homes, low income/senior citizens, homeowners, rentals, and small businesses qualify. ... Texas has mandated the electric delivery companies provide relief. This service not only provides you with reduced utility expenses but also helps reduce carbon emissions into the environment.
"Qualified Homes May Receive at subsidized or NO COST:
- Weatherization measures to reduce the loss of cold/heated air
- Seal air leaks in A/C Ducts
- Compact Fluorescent Lights
- Showerheads, and
Having watched friends, customers, and family members get additional insulation, free CFLs, weatherstripping around their doors, sealing work at return-air chases, and sealing work on supply duct systems — all at no cost — I thought it was time to schedule an appointment for my home.
In all fairness, my delay was not related to procrastination, but rather to the word “qualified” in the program requirements. You see, if your home is undergoing remodeling, it does not qualify — and since I am a remodeler, my house has been in state of remodeling since I bought it seven years ago.
With the remodeling complete, I recently decided that it was test time for me!
Free duct sealing work and free CFLs
I gave them a call, and they said that the next time they were in my area they would schedule a time to come out to my home. It could be days or months, I was told.
But less than two weeks later, two seemingly qualified technicians showed up at my door, ready to go. Alas, I was not home at the time. But my wife let them in, and they spent the next couple of hours performing a blower-door testTest used to determine a home’s airtightness: a powerful fan is mounted in an exterior door opening and used to pressurize or depressurize the house. By measuring the force needed to maintain a certain pressure difference, a measure of the home’s airtightness can be determined. Operating the blower door also exaggerates air leakage and permits a weatherization contractor to find and seal those leakage areas. and duct blasterCalibrated air-flow measurement system developed to test the airtightness of forced-air duct systems. All outlets for the duct system, except for the one attached to the duct blaster, are sealed off and the system is either pressurized or depressurized; the work needed by the fan to maintain a given pressure difference provides a measure of duct leakage. test — both at no charge.
Once finished, they sealed my ducts and got my duct leakage down to 126 cfm (down from the pre-retrofit rate of 360 cfm). In addition, I received 10 free CFLs! Not bad, considering it was free. But I was still disappointed not to get my return-air chase sealed.
Helping your customers is good PR
So what’s the point of sharing this story with you?
First, to remind you to share information on programs like this with your clients and potential clients, because when you share information on good opportunities that will benefit them, with no direct benefit to you, you immediately have credibility in their eyes. It's just like good PR — you can’t beat that! And the money they save will free up dollars they can spend on remodeling services you offer.
Secondly, I would like to propose that despite the current fashion against government mandates, that some of them, however imperfect, work pretty well. After all, these are investor-owned utilities that are subsidizing these costs — and to the best of my knowledge, none of them have seen their share prices decline as a result of this government-imposed mandate.
So, as your business advisor / blogger, I hope you will redouble your efforts to see what government programs can help you, your family, your clients, and your business save money.
- Fine Homebuilding
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