What happens here?

What happens here?

Buildings, energy, energy policy, indoor air quality, problems, triumphs, successes, failures and the people and processes that affect them.

Feel free to draw any tangential connection you think appropriate.

I love spirited and enthusiastic exchanges, but please maintain the decorum.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Paying for advise can be cheaper than paying for the wrong product or service.

I cringe every time I hear it. "We replaced our (boiler/windows/insulation) and the house is still uncomfortable and the heating still costs too much."

Usually I'm on the phone. Someone has called, they've already spent a lot of money, have very little satisfaction and now find themselves calling someone who is probably going to charge them money to tell them they made a mistake. To be honest I probably feel just as bad as they do. I'm going to charge them money, tell them they need to spend money on something else to save energy and feel more comfortable and I have to do it without saying that they made a mistake. My job isn't to rub it in.

So make us both feel better, pay me first. Really.

Why call me (or perhaps some other building consultant) instead of just calling a contractor? So that when you spend money on your home you'll be comfortable that it was well spent, because you had a plan. I don't sell anything, I only work for you. My job is to make the process easier for you. I help you make the plan.

How do we start? Usually with an energy audit. The process gets me to see the important parts of the building. Plumbing, heating, electrical and structure in addition to the insulation, ventilation and windows. We might be done at this point. Depending on your goals you might feel that you have enough information to proceed on your own. A lot of people do and that's fine. Please drop me a note after you're done to tell me what you've accomplished. Send some pictures too.

Suppose you've got big plans for your house. An addition or major rehab, residing, new electrical work or maybe finishing the basement for that man cave. Do you want to use this as an opportunity to add insulation? Does the basement have water problems? Is there some mustiness in the laundry room that you'd like to get rid of too? How do you know where to start?

We can make a plan. Once the energy audit is complete we can talk about how you can integrate the information from that with your overall goals. If you need further guidance I can write specs for each step of the process. I can suggest the best order to do things so that work doesn't have to be undone and redone. That can get expensive. Do you need help evaluating bids from contractors? Perhaps you need someone to inspect the work as it progresses to see to it that your work is done according to the specs we laid out earlier.

The important thing is that each plan is designed for you. The combination of services will be what you need, no more or less. I like to think of myself as a mapmaker for my customers. I want to get you safely, efficiently and cheerfully through your projects.

It all starts with a call. If you call me first you can call the rest of the contracting team with more confidence. You'll have a plan.

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