How do you shop around for green technology and energy savings?

by Brian Koles

I am curious to hear how people who visit this site go about finding the right company to work with for embracing renewable energy sources (solar, wind, etc) and making energy saving improvements on their property.

Do you:
Use a search engine?
Ask your handyman or gardener?
Check the phone book?
Not bother, because you're intimidated by all the lingo?

How do you find the right options and companies to work with for green projects?

Carolyn from Arkansas responds:
(Relocated from Contact Us)

I don't know the right answer to this question. I asked about this at a board meeting where I sit on a board of directors of a non-profit. Everyone had a different opinion about which of the three energy audit companies in my city would do the best job.

My husband and I talked to all three energy auditors and all of them had been in a different line of business five years ago. Sometimes it was at least construction-related but sometimes not.

For example, we thought it would be a good idea to buy new windows for our aging house. It is drafty in the winter so that must mean that the hot air is coming in during the summer months as well.

We called three companies for that too. Each of them had a different proposed window type, with no commonality in how they explained the advantages and disadvantages of each window. After we were finished, we looked at each other and laughed about how we didn't want to hear any more about low-E, high-E, or argon.

If the energy saving products that are available are more tricks than tools, we don't want any part of that. We wanted to see real energy savings, and we thought that the local companies would have references that we could call and find out about the percentages that their bills went down. No such luck.

The internet seems like a very unlikely place to find out reliable sources of green building. This field already is overrun with people who don't see to know what they are talking about and who are johnny come lately types on energy saving.

In a way it was a good thing that all of the energy auditors had their detractors because our experiences have taught us that having a middle man just makes everything more complicated.

Maybe the field of green building practices is just too new to have companies with a proven track record. Since there a lot of them out there in our area, and most are new, maybe this problem will go ahead after we send more precious air conditioning out of our drafty windows.

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