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Community and Q&A

Siding Contractors for Energy Upgrade Research

tabithapnnl | Posted in Energy Efficiency and Durability on

I’m a technician with a national lab working on a residential research project that aims to validate adding ext c.i. during siding replacement (more here: An aspect of my job is to engage siding contractors to partner with us on this project, as a big part of the research is finding out from siding contractors how realistic this approach is from both the technical and marketing sides. We’re aiming for 3 to 5 siding contractors in each of these regions:

  • Buncombe County, NC
  • Charles County, MD
  • Essex County, NJ

Contractors who participate with us are not expected to “upsell” in any way – in fact, we ask that they do no more than introduce the idea to homeowner’s that are contracted for siding replacement. If the home meets our study criteria and the homeowner agrees to participate, we will ask the contractor to add the energy upgrade to the homeowner’s work scope and treat it like any other job – billing us for the labor and material of the energy upgrade portion.
I’ve attached our contractor one-pager for further info – but here are my main asks:
What is the best way to reach contractors right now? Is there a method of getting my foot in the door (so to speak) enough so that I can explain that that we aren’t trying to sell them a product in any way, or convince them of anything? We’re really just trying to offer a free energy upgrade to homeowners and have contractors install it, so that we can gather data to present to the Department of Energy.
An issue I’m having is that the broad suspicion is that I am attempting to sell some type of ext. c.i., and even when I bring up the fact that this DOE funded, there’s still hesitance. I’ve had better luck when I can get recommendations – but for obvious reasons, this isn’t possible all the time. I am planning on sending out a postcard to companies we’ve identified in our target regions (also attached here), but any and all advice/recommendations would be greatly appreciated!

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  1. user-723121 | | #1

    Free money !! Sounds like a good idea to me. My only thought is the study area is mostly a mixed climate, have you considered a wider climatic area for the study? Also the heating fuel availability will dramatically affect the ROI.

    1. tabithapnnl | | #2

      Free money, indeed!
      This study is targeting the mixed-humid CZ specifically, as the upgrade is modeled to have a positive NPV and no increased moisture durability concerns. Depending on the outcomes of this research, the scope may eventually be expanded to other climate zones.

  2. brendanalbano | | #3

    I'm an architect, not a siding contractor, but I'd be thrilled to pass on this opportunity to our clients if you were running this study in the PNW.

    If you are having trouble communicating directly with siding contractors in the areas of the study, I wonder if you might find some success trying to connect with architects/designers/builders/general contractors who do renovation work and have them coordinate getting the clients and siding contractors on board.

    Free money should be a slam dunk, I'm surprised you're having trouble finding participants!

    1. tabithapnnl | | #5

      That's an approach we haven't thought of! I'll take a look around and see what I can find. Thank you. :)

  3. agm413 | | #4

    Not to be cynical, but a lot of siding contractors I've talked to recently when inquiring barely know to tape tyvek seams...

    In less cynical approaches - have you reached out to siding manufacturer's to get their preferred installers names for specific regions?

    1. tabithapnnl | | #6

      I think that that cynicism is valid, and it is on our radar. A part of this project is developing installation materials and providing education, in order to bridge the gap.

      We do have several manufacturers in our advisory group. Unfortunately, the majority of them work with distributors and do not have direct contractor contacts. We are trying to utilize their internal networks, but as with most things, it has been taking a while to see results.

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