Weatherization Is The Next Big Thing – At least according to this author

I hope this comes true.

Weatherizing homes: The next big green industry?

by January 28, 2009 4:00 AM PST

It’s not the sort of thing that excites your typical Silicon Valley venture capitalist, but companies that weatherize homes could be the sleeper green-business success stories this year.

Many people would like to lower their household energy bills but need an expert to recommend what steps to take as part of a long-term plan.

There’s also a substantial amount of government support for energy-efficient retrofits, including from President Obama who has set a target of lowering utility bills at 2 million homes. The federal stimulus plan now being debated in Washington, D.C., sets aside $6 billion to weatherize low-income homes.

At the local level, too, municipal governments and nonprofits see home energy use as one the most important ways to meet greenhouse gas emission reduction goals, said Geoff Chapin, CEO of Boston-based Next Step Living, which provides energy auditing services.

“This is a tremendous time to be in the field,” he said. “Cities and towns care about creating jobs that can’t be outsourced and reducing their carbon footprint and saving people’s money, so it has a lot of support.”

Chapin founded the energy-services company last year and has weatherized more than 100 homes. A former consultant for cities and nonprofits, he founded the business in an effort to cut residential energy bills, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and create jobs.

A blower door is a removable door with fan and computer to measure air flow. There are already free home energy efficiency services. Paid services from companies like Next Step Living typically use diagnostic equipment, notably a blower door, to spot holes where heated or cooled air slips outside. (Full disclosure: I’ve signed on as a customer and am expecting my first visit soon.)


More next week.


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