HPwES Launches New Web Site for Sponsors
In November, the program launched a new-and-improved web site for program sponsors. The new web site provides detailed information for new and prospective sponsors on how to set up a local Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program. The site also includes marketing resources available to all sponsors, such as logos, a new marketing toolkit, brochures, and case studies. Check out the new site at www.energystar.gov/hpwessponsors.

HPwES Marketing Toolkit Now Available On-line
The program recently rolled out a new online marketing toolkit that allows sponsors and participating contractors to create customized marketing materials - including ads, fact sheets, and direct mail pieces - to promote Home Performance with ENERGY STAR. All sponsors were asked to provide a list of participating contractors in their program. If you provided this information, your contractors recently received an e-mail with a user name and password inviting them to use the new Toolkit. If you haven’t yet submitted your contractor information or you would like to give additional contractors access to the toolkit, contact Chandler von Schrader at vonschrader.chandler@epa.gov.

To date, only a few sponsors and contractors have used the Toolkit. If you have used it, we welcome suggestions or feedback on any additional tools you’d find useful and how we can make the tool more valuable. Contact Jonathan Passe, our Communications Coordinator, at passe.jonathan@epa.gov.

Home Energy Makeover Contests
These contests have proven to be an innovative marketing tool for promoting local Home Performance programs. The national HPwES program is interested in working with program sponsors that are considering launching makeover contest efforts in the coming year. Makeover contests sponsored in association with Home Performance programs in Illinois and Maine were both extremely successful. Learn more at www.betterhomeperformance.us and www.mainehomeperformance.org.

Technical Corner: Assessing an Existing Home for Solar Thermal Applications
As part of their Home Performance assessments, contractors can easily include a preliminary evaluation for using solar thermal technologies, in addition to energy and water efficiency technologies. Solar thermal technologies can be used for a variety of applications and are commonly used for water heating and pool heating. First, assess the property for a location where the solar water heating panels can be installed to receive direct sunlight between 9AM - 3PM daily, without shading, most often on a south-facing roof or yard. A typical family of four needs two 4' x 10' collector panels connected to a 40-64 gallon storage tank, which costs about $3,000-$5,000 installed. After a preliminary assessment is completed and options are discussed with the homeowner, the next step is to have a solar installer come to the site and provide an estimate for hardware and installation costs. Currently, there is a Federal tax credit of 30% of the cost of the solar thermal system (up to $2,000) for domestic water heating and additional incentives in several states. Learn more here (for technology questions); and www.dsire.org (for state incentives and financing information).

Contractor Spotlight: Strand Brothers, Inc; Austin, TX
Ask Chris Stand, of Strand Brothers, Inc., how the company is doing and you are likely to hear, “We have grown into the largest and most respected air conditioning, heating, and weatherization company in Central Texas.” He’s not just referring to the company’s remarkable 25-year history, but also to its highly successful participation in their local Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program, sponsored by municipal utility Austin Energy. Strand Brothers is a pioneer in the whole-house approach to energy efficiency in Texas and considers home performance contracting to be the best way to make good on the company’s motto, “Take care of the customer.”

Home Performance contracting has helped Strand build its business by creating very satisfied customers. Strand Brothers gets 80% of its business from repeat work for previous customers and from referrals. Strand Brothers finds that their customers are happier with the whole-house approach. “Once they get the taste of how comfortable and efficient their houses are, and how they’re saving so much more money, they almost can’t live without it,” says Chris. For the rest of Chris’ story, see www.energystar.gov/homeperformance.

National Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Symposium: Save the Date
Mark your calendar. The national symposium will take place on Monday, April 23, 2007 in conjunction with the ACI Home Performance Conference in Cleveland, OH. The symposium is an important opportunity to hear about new program developments and to share information and experiences with other Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program sponsors. A symposium agenda is coming soon. Please visit www.energystar.gov/
for more information about the symposium.

Upcoming ACI Home Performance Conferences

ACI Tracks at RESNET
  February 19-21, 2007

ACI Northwest 2007
  February 21-22, 2007

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