Posts Tagged ‘Gold Star’

Contracting Business Article Cites Clear Thinking in Support of Home Star

September 4, 2010

A Contracting Business article this week, quotes heavily a letter from The Linc Group CEO Tracy Price in support of Home Star.  Tracy very effectively counters short-sighted trade association ACCA opposition to the pending Home Star legislation.  Home Star, supported by of coalition of almost 3,000 companies and organizations nationally from manufacturers and labor groups to small contractors and environmental groups, would provide up to $6 Billion to create U.S. jobs and make home more energy efficient.   ACCA, late to the game and with the finesse of a bull in china shop, supports the basic concept, but would risk killing the program with an argument against high quality standards intended to deliver results and protect taxpayer dollars.  Click here to read Tracy’s full letter.

Whether the Senate has the ability to get the legislation passed—it passed the House in May—remains to be seen.  As mentioned a month ago, we have the technology and ability in this country to make our homes much more energy efficient, increasing our energy security, creating good local jobs, and improving national and home economics.  What is unclear is whether we have the leadership and political will to make it happen.  What do you think?

Do it right the first time

August 30, 2010

I adored the WSJ article by Scott Adams that Mike pointed us to on Thursday and I was laughing out loud at a lot of what Scott had to say. Although the path he walked was flawed, and his end result is probably still not as efficient as it could be, he captured the essence of something that we believe in here at GreenHomes America: Being ‘green’ is about finding solutions that both reduce energy consumption and meld with your lifestyle, so they are sustainable in the long run.

Although his underlying premise was something we believe in, the way he went about building his green home is at odds with our philosophy, which is ‘do it right the first time’.

Building a home or upgrading/retrofitting a home are like going into surgery – you want a doctor you can trust. If you choose someone like Dr. Nick Riviera (from The Simpsons) you will inevitably find that you end up with more problems and bigger problems in the long run. If you need proof take a look at these contractor bloopers (and more, and more bloopers). If you are serious about the health of your home you should choose a reputable contractor with years of experience who does not cut corners. Enter, Greenhomes America.

At Greenhomes America we take the efficiency of homes seriously. We don’t go for the ‘quick fix’ because we know from experience that it will end up costing you more in the long run. That’s why we always start with a comprehensive energy audit, so we can identify underlying problems and give you detailed insight into your home’s issues and your options for resolving them.  And why we recommend you use a BPI Gold Star Accredited Contractor like GreenHomes.

And Mr. Adams, if you’re reading this, please give us a call.  I’m certain that we can make your house perform better so you’re comfortable, your energy use drops, and that meter “spins backwards”!  Just tell our operator that I sent you.

Reduce your Risk – Hire a BPI Gold Star Accredited Contractor

August 5, 2010

Chances are good that you, or someone you know, have had a bad experience with a home improvement contractor. We’ve all heard stories of shoddy workmanship, inflated costs and projects completed late—or not at all. Homeowners need protection. So do the good contractors.

Improving the energy efficiency, durability, comfort, health and safety of your home is a great investment, but you’ll get the most bang for your buck if you choose a home performance contractor, someone with specialist training and skills.

That’s where we come in. The Building Performance Institute, Inc. (BPI) is the national standards development and credentialing organization for contractors that offer those specialist skills. We set the standards they have to meet, then certify individuals that prove their ability to conduct whole-home energy and safety assessments, seal air leaks, install insulation or fine-tune your furnace or air conditioner.

The highest level you can find when you’re researching a home performance contractor is a BPI Gold Star Accredited Contracting Company. Not only do these companies employ those certified professionals that have proven that their skills meet our national standards, they also offer you something almost unheard of in the contracting world—a formal Quality Assurance Program.

Each and every BPI Gold Star Accredited Contracting Company in the United States is required to participate in our national Quality Assurance Program. Contractors must conduct tests on your home before they start and after they’ve finished the job to make sure it was done right. They have to fix any problems identified during the test-out phase and have you, the customer, sign off that you are satisfied with the work. In the case of a disagreement, contractors must also have a formal conflict resolution policy.

At the end of your project, they submit a report that includes your sign off that you’re satisfied. BPI audits all the paperwork and also conducts periodic inspections on the company’s work throughout the year just to make sure they’re batting 1,000 (or as close as possible).

It is this commitment to quality that sets BPI Gold Star Accredited Contractors apart. That is why BPI Accreditation is a prerequisite for contractors participating in funded energy efficiency incentive programs in states like New York, New Jersey and, soon, California.

When you choose a BPI Gold Star Accredited Contracting Company, you know you will get quality work, lower energy bills, enhanced comfort and improved durability without ever risking the health and safety of your family.

How’s that for homeowner protection?

Larry Zarker is the CEO of the Building Performance Institute, Inc. (BPI), an independent, not-for-profit organization committed to the improvement of home performance via affiliate training, certification, accreditation and quality assurance programs for residential contractors and their customers.

A “Gold Star” Audit

May 6, 2010

What does a “Gold Star” energy audit look like?  It looks just like the audits that GreenHomes provides.

Audit Image

The idea behind a Gold Star audit is an accurate and actionable.

To be accurate, the audit needs to include a good inspection and a range of diagnostics including combustion safety, infiltration (using a blower door), duct leakage testing, and an infrared scan.  If the person conducting the audit is making cost-effectiveness recommendations, then they need to have a firm understanding of local installation costs by a quality contractor—if they don’t know these exact prices they can’t talk about cost effectiveness!  And only by accurately determining how your home is operating, can we determine how much you can save.

To be actionable, any recommendations for improvement need to be easily understood by you and easily communicated to an installation contractor who can fully execute the recommendations.  For example, if the recommendations are for attic air-sealing and insulation (you shouldn’t do the insulation without the air-sealing), the person doing the work needs to understand exactly what needs to be done and be able to deliver (assuming the recommendations are accurate—see above!).  

A simple “clipboard audit” or home energy rating won’t cover both of these for you, so make sure you get what you need!  And don’t waste your money on what you don’t!

For a bit more background and additional links, see my earlier posts, our website, or the video description above.


GreenHomes America offers a home performance retrofit franchise

February 17, 2010

Here’s a sneak peak:  After several years of development, GreenHomes America now has a franchise offer available (in most states).  Now contractors who are interested in offering their customers home performance solutions can take advantage of GreenHomes’ award winning systems to deliver the best.  Visit the GreenHomes website for more information.

GreenHomes America franchise information

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