Craig Lord had been thinking about green remodeling for some time but didn’t take action until after he attended Remodeling’s green-themed 2008 Leadership Conference.
When the owner of R. Craig Lord Construction returned to Moorestown, N.J., he made a commitment to update his company’s field work with green practices. Lord’s research led him to New Jersey’s participation in the Home Performance with Energy Star program. “Energy Star is familiar to our clients,” Lord says. “And the program is so good — it’s a win for consumers.”
Homeowners pay just $125 for an energy audit, and once the assessment is complete, they qualify for $1,000 of air sealing. In addition, homeowners receive a 10% cash rebate up to $2,000 or a 5.99% low-interest loan if the estimated heating savings are lower than 25%. They receive a 50% cash rebate up to $5,000 or a 3.99% low-interest loan if the estimated heating savings exceed 25%. The state reimburses the $125 audit fee if the homeowner has at least $2,000 worth of additional work completed within three months of the audit.
The program requires contractors to meet the certification and accreditation guidelines of the Building Performance Institute (BPI). Lord sent Anthony Provost for BPI training, and since January the estimator has been performing an energy audit on every project — totalling 13 so far.
Provost discusses the audit report and options with homeowners. Of the 13 audits performed, he says that 12 of the homeowners chose to complete air sealing work. About half of that group chose to make at least one other energy-efficient upgrade.
“This is way better than the energy-efficient federal credits, which the homeowner still receives,” Lord says, noting that the state rebate could double as New Jersey tries to reach its goal of air sealing 2 million houses by 2020.
“This work is not our bread and butter. We’re doing it because we are committed to it and it gets us in front of people. Instead of paying for an ad in a magazine, if I do a good job air sealing, I have another happy customer. It’s another way to distinguish ourselves from other contractors,” Lord says.
—Nina Patel, senior editor, REMODELING.