For years men’s clothing retailer Sy Syms told TV audiences, “An educated consumer is our best customer.” Remodelers could use a dose of that attitude as home performance increasingly goes mainstream. That’s where The Energy Pros can help.
Consumers are already getting tax credits and rebates and are keen to know how to save on energy costs. They may understand that insulating their attic can help to lower their bills, “but there are so many components that make houses work,” says Dave Mikels, president of The Energy Pros, based in Louisville, Ky. “They may spend extra money to get geothermal products or solar panels, but they’re chasing individual components of a building, not making sure all the components work together.”
The Energy Pros is a group of remodelers, builders, subcontractors, and manufacturers whose aim is to educate consumers and building professionals about home performance so they can make informed choices for projects, says Thad Adams, owner of Adams Construction Services, in Jeffersonville, Ind., and a member since 2008.
The group created its own educational materials and holds two types of seminars during meetings held four times a month, a six-hour class for professionals and a two-hour free program for the public. Says Mikels, “We are careful that [seminars] aren’t sales pitches to sell products. The intent is to educate.”
Since beginning in 2005, The Energy Pros has grown to five chapters, all in the Midwest, and has educated more than 5,100 consumers. Professional members pay $100 per month and can attend seminars, get a link on The Energy Pros website, and receive an e-newsletter.
Adams says that, before joining The Energy Pros, he knew no more nor less than other remodelers about green-building techniques. But once he joined he was hooked — not only for the education but for the marketing. “There are usually 30 to 40 people at the public meetings. All [of them] are looking to build or remodel,” Adams says. “If I go to those meetings and wear my [company] shirt and answer questions, we can get leads.”
Adams also presents seminars. At a recent Louisville home show, Adams spoke to an audience about solar shingles. “It’s a great opportunity to get connected with people,” he says. And if he has a client interested in energy efficiency, he invites them to The Energy Pros seminars.
Now members are “seen as the experts in how to get this stuff right. We have a passion about buildings performing correctly,” Mikels says. “If we can educate the consumer, we can all win.” For more information about starting an Energy Pros chapter, go to TheEnergyPros.net.
—Stacey Freed, senior editor, REMODELING.