By Jake Taylor
A member was kind enough to recently invite me along to an “energy efficiency luncheon” hosted in LaGrange County.
It wasn’t my first run-in with this organization.
The company hosting the event had done something similar a few years before and had preyed upon the retirees in our community in an attempt to convince them to spend money on efficiency upgrades that don’t perform as advertised.
Back then, I was able to help this member avoid spending thousands of dollars — yes, I said thousands! — on upgrades that wouldn’t have helped her in the slightest. One of the upgrades actually did damage to her air conditioner and cost more money in repairs.
Before you buy into these sales gimmicks, be prepared to ask some questions:
If the salesperson states they, or their company, is certified, then ask what certification. For example, our host stated their company is “EPA certified.” I asked “What certification?” She responded with “I’m not sure.” That is a huge indicator the salesperson isn’t educated enough to be an expert, or isn’t certified. While they could have a certification in lead paint removal not energy efficiency, this makes their statement only partly true, and absolutely misleading.
Our host only addressed radiant heat loss. She made it sound as if it was the most important thing to stop. However, she failed to discuss convective and conductive heat loss, which are the most problematic and easiest to fix.
She gave statistics on electric rates that were not indicative of our area, which made the cost of energy sound unaffordable. Check the math. Her numbers didn’t add up.
The prices she gave for these upgrades were way out of line. Her price for a solar-powered roof vent was $799. The exact same vent online was $380. And FYI, I wouldn’t recommend installing a powered roof vent unless you air sealed your attic floor first, a conductive measure.
If you are approached by these sales evangelists, before you decide to commit time or money to their efforts, call our office at 877-463-7165. We can answer any efficiency questions you have, and it doesn’t cost you anything. Or at the very least, we can help prepare you with the right questions to ask the presenter.
JAKE TAYLOR is the energy advisor at LaGrange County REMC.