So you’ve decided that you’re sick of spending so much of your hard earned money on energy bills and it’s time to call an expert who can help you find good energy solutions.
Here are 5 things to look for in an energy contractor:
1. Do they just focus in one solution? You better not call a lighting contractor if you want solar. Likewise, if you don’t know what the best solution is, your best bet is to find a contractor who can provide a range of services from on-site renewable energy to energy efficiency, to energy monitoring and management solutions.
2. Industry certifications: always ask what industry certifications your energy contractor has. CEM (certified energy manager), NABCEP Certification, LEED Accredidation, licensed PE, are just a few of the certifications that are good to have and will help you recognize someone who take their role seriously and works professionally.
3. How detailed is the initial on site assessment? Do they show up on site and spend time measuring and monitoring? Do they spend time discussing, with you, your energy needs? Or do they just give you a price and a solution over the phone without even performing a site visit? No real energy solution can be devised without carefully analyzing the customer’s current situation. Make sure that you go with someone who will put the time in to provide this kind of up-front analysis.
4. How long do they warranty equipment for? Solar equipment should be warrantied for both panel defects and power performance. Likewise, for a solar thermal system, you should have at least a 10 year warranty on the panels and tank. Lighting is a different story. They should be warranted against manufacture defects and bulbs should be guaranteed to work a certain number of hours (LED lights should come with a 100,000 hour guarantee). Make sure that the contractor will guarantee the workmanship as well.
5. They involve you in the process as much as possible. Energy use is a very personal thing. Businesses and families have different energy needs and various patterns of use. Before any solutions are implemented these patterns of use need to be understood and both the contractor and the customer need to agree on how the work that is performed will mesh with the customer’s demand. Will you be willing to change certain aspects of your energy use based on a new plan that you and the contractor are implementing? Is there a critical load which must always receive power no-matter-what (medication which needs refrigeration, computer servers to run a business). Whether the project is a solar installation, a lighting retrofit, or a hybrid, the final result needs to meet customer expectations in reduced consumption from grid-delivered energy, reduced load on the building, and reduced energy bills. The only way to truly do this is to keep the customer fully integrated in the process.
Solar Energy is taking off in the residential and commercial sectors and is attracting major business ventures. Don’t believe me? Just take Solar thermal as an example. Solar water heating and solar thermal technologies account 20 Gigawatts of the total solar capacity that has been added this year alone. Just figure enough to power New York City.
The technology is simple: harness the sun’s energy to heat water. It’s been done for decades in buildings around the world and now it is catching on in the US. A simple configuration of flat plate heat collectors, a heat exchanger, and your existing water tank is all you need to remove a significant cost from your monthly power bill. It’s cheaper and cleaner than electricity or natural gas and your neighbors will admire the sleek dark panels on your rooftop.
Major oil spills and fatalities in mine-shafts are just some of the major reasons that it is time to rethink how we source and use energy. Going from dark to light at the flick of a switch, being able to spend hours surfing the net on your laptop, and running your HVAC system to bring your indoor environment to just the right temperature are just some of the luxuries which take for granted. But there are real people taking huge risks every day so that we can enjoy those comforts.
The technology exists for us to reduce those risks and the environmental hazards associated with fossil fuel generation. Every home and business can find sectors of their own energy use which can be powered by renewable energy sources. Heating your water is a great way to begin. Solar water heating is one of the most cost effective and most efficient forms of renewable energy. Simply put, you can transform sunlight to collected heat and offset your gas or electric bill for heating your water. If you’re interested in learning more, please click on this link: http://www.selaenergy.com/services_solar_energy.php or email firstname.lastname@example.org .
Driving around Israel this past week, I realized that over the past several years of traveling back and forth between Israel and the US, I have been taking it for granted that every house and building in Israel makes use of the sun’s energy to heat its water. The idea of gas and electric water heating as a primary source is considered absurd for two reasons: 1) it is simply too expensive to rely on these forms of energy for generation for every regular task; 2) the sun is there and it just seems intuitive. In looking at the attached pics, you will find that we aren’t talking about a new, innovative technology, but an obvious component of any building. Some of these systems are old and poorly cared for, but with proper maintenance, they can last 30 years and beyond.