Government Participation in the Energy Efficiency Industry — Good Idea, or Not?

Our industry will not begin to grow and prosper in a sustained and meaningful way until our well meaning government removes itself from it, in my opinion.
Consumers are showing a lukewarm response to federal and state tax incentives and rebates and the underwhelming responses are generally short term whenever they are successful.
Utility companies further confuse consumers with contradicting incentives …i.e. gas company rebates to replace the electric water heater that the electric company paid the rebate to have you install.
When the government programs are gone and the emphasis is removed from the $50 rebates and is placed upon educating and marketing the advantages of increased comfort, healthier (indoor and outdoor) living environments, structual sustainability as well as energy efficiency … real growth and meaningful improvements can happen.
When this happens, the emphasis on “credentials” (BPI certification, RESNET certification, etc.) will be replaced with an emphasis on results and the ability to produce them.
It is only then that real and meaningful improvements to our lot will be seen.  Until then, we simply continue to apply fresh band aids in the form of new “credentials” to meet every new government program that comes down the pipe.  This, in my opinion, is the equivelant of drinking sea water from the life boat in a fruitless effort to sustain life.
The voice for change, however, will not come from those who profit from providing or selling training for these band aids.  It will come from the business man who has committed himself to service.

Agree or disagree?

1 Comment

Filed under Energy Efficiency, Health and Safety

One response to “Government Participation in the Energy Efficiency Industry — Good Idea, or Not?

  1. Jim,

    While I think our perspectives generally align, here the diverge. I think true progress will only occur when we have energy consumption transparency, which probably requires government intervention.

    Furthermore, I think consultative sales, and it’s long tail, is not something contractors understand, so how will they ever make the switch from “slam bang recommend what I want to sell and put a green spin on it” that we are seeing fail today.

    Contractors invariable say they know what saves energy. Equally invariably they say they’ve never tracked results. Where does this magic “knowledge” come from? If program realization is .38 – I’d say those statements are complete BS made with full knowledge they have no accountability to back up their promises.

    There needs to be compelling motivation which must include incentive and accountability for this change to work. That requires compensating contractors for efforts consumers don’t yet understand how to value. We need contractors to focus on what will really save energy, which means they need to be rewarded for success.

    That will only come from tracking promise, tracking results, and publishing realization stats by contractor. We need energy transparency.

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