August 12th, 2010

Home Energy Efficiency: The Bitter Taste of Low Hanging Fruit


I love running a business for contractors and building practitioners because I’m awed by what they do.  It’s like magic to me.  Have you ever tried to do a home improvement project for yourself?  Unless you have the training and experience, it takes forever – you’ve got to be really motivated.  It turns out the ‘low hanging fruit’ of energy efficiency is much the same story.

Inspired by the eloquent presenters at the GLD Cleantech Kingpins event on July 22nd, I decided to implement some much-needed energy efficiency measures on my own house.   First I invited my neighbor, a BPI certified auditor, to come over with his blower door and duct blaster to find the issues.  We discovered my house has a decent envelope but leaky ducts.  So air sealing and insulating the ductwork was job #1.  Seemed simple enough.

Eight hours later, after losing 15 pounds in the hot attic, I had developed a cough from inhaling fiberglass and had created a mess in the upstairs bedroom below the attic hatch.  My wife was completely unimpressed with the ‘huge improvements’ that could be neither seen nor felt.

I’m tremendously proud of the work we did, but worry about how appealing it is for contractors.  How can they demonstrate their tremendous value if the homeowner doesn’t care to hear about mastic duct sealant or UL 181 rated tape?  When people say ‘energy efficiency isn’t sexy’ they’re not just saying that.  It’s the truth.

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Brian Hayden

About Brian Hayden

Brian Hayden founded HeatSpring Learning Institute in 2007. He's an accredited geothermal installer and creates technical training programs on geothermal and solar systems. HeatSpring has been featured in Business Week's "America's Top 25 Promising Social Entrepreneurs"