Performance Contracting is a new phrase in the building community. You may have heard the phrase Energy Auditing; however Wilson Services, Inc. is taking this to another level. Smart home buyers are seeking out building contractors who will guarantee pre-specified energy performance benchmarks. Without getting into global economics here, energy costs in America have been very low for generations. Have you ever noticed what a liter of gasoline costs in Europe? Clearly, the wake up call has been ringing for several years now. Energy is no longer cheap. Many people have been thumping the snooze button, while others, the shrewd and savvy, have acquired an attraction for advanced energy consumption practices.
We can’t help but shine a light on the social aspects here. Why wouldn’t a home buyer not be very interested in the energy consuming characteristics of the home they’re about to invest in? Why would a consumer pay more money on kitchen cabinets than on a heating system? Why would a consumer let the building contractor have complete authority over what HVAC system gets installed?
At this point, many of our visitors must be thinking: We will have our home inspected by the building department, why in the world would we want to pay someone else to do the same job? Answer: because in Massachusetts (and most every other state for that matter), the building community is not required to document (or prove) how well the building or HVAC system is performing from an energy standpoint. There are no quantitive requirements regarding duct leakage and home infiltration. We really regret being the bearer of bad news, but if there are no minimum requirements (real world, not theoretical) being applied, what exactly do you expect in this competitive world of home construction?
Depending on what your background is, or even how much of this web site you’ve read so far, you may know that the energy required to heat and cool a building falls evenly of several factors, with some being obvious, and other items typically being overlooked:
How large the home is (very obvious)
- The heating and cooling systems energy performance rating (fairly obvious)
- How well the house is built (fairly obscure)
- How well the heating and cooling system is installed (very obscure)
At Wilson Services our consultant services are designed to save you time and money. We can design specification packages for your upcoming project with a variety of performance provisions. We can work with minimal interaction with your chosen building professionals, or with thorough interaction. There are no mainstream services in our area (Western Massachusetts) currently offering these services. We can design sliding scale” performance plans where if the building and its heating (and cooling if applicable) system result in very high performance rating, you reward your building professionals (the builder, the HVAC installer) with a pre-determined bonus. If the systems perform poorly, your agreement will require that the systems be improved, or a (again pre-determined) financial forfeiture is initiated.
Any professional in the construction industry, whether builder, insulator, or HVAC contractor should welcome this arrangement. However, because the concept is so new, don’t be surprised if you don’t receive favorable reactions at first. The contractors throughout the land put a lot of heart and effort into their craft, and this concept just might come across as foreign to these hard working people.
Q- I’ve never heard of this, is this new?
A- No. Energy Auditors have been around for years. If you spend some time on the internet, you’ll learn that there have been many studies regarding home energy performance (or the lack there of). Go to web sites that are progressively minded like ours, and it will begin to make more sense. Go to http://www.energystar.gov/, http://comfortinstitute.org/, http://www.nationalcomfortinstitute.com/
Q-What’s the difference between an Energy Auditor/Energy Rater, and what Wilson can provide?
A- Auditors and Raters typically don’t design systems. Therefore a firm with energy measurement tools and HVAC contracting experience (air balancing, duct design, combustion knowledge) would have more skills to offer you.
Q- Aren’t you crossing the ethical line in the sand by measuring and rating other HVAC contractors installations?
A- No lines are being crossed because were fair. Most contractors are fair for that matter. Besides, it’s our diagnostic tools and the training we’ve acquired that makes the difference. Simply put, our humble opinions are set aside and we focus on the facts.
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