Is it just me, or does it sometimes seem like lawmakers and industry talk a lot about going green, but not much is really changing? Why are we taking so long to implement cost-saving, energy-saving, earth-saving technologies? Is it hard to do? Is it hard to understand?
There’s a real opportunity for those of us on the front lines of HVAC to make a difference. You aren’t just tradesmen; You are really salesmen for a new energy policy. You are in a position to accelerate energy conservation and cleaner technology. The truth is, demand drives production and policy. Government regulations have an impact, but it’s the marketplace that determines whether a concept or invention survives. You’re the ones who influence to a great degree how much of the new technology actually makes it into consumers’ hands.
What green technologies do you believe in? Do heat pumps deliver reliable performance in your area? If so, you can influence customers to install them. If not, then don’t. Are you at least a little familiar with solar and wind options? The better you know your business, the more you know about alternative options, the more you can influence your customers for good.
Some proposed energy-saving ideas just aren’t as good as others – ethanol comes to mind. It’s a nice thought, but maybe it wasn’t thought through. Others are perfect for specific uses. Tankless water heaters are a great innovation – they save money and energy when used correctly. But they’re not ideal for every situation. Most homeowners love them, but some bemoan the fact they installed one. Perhaps their HVAC provider didn’t weigh in with an opinion that the unit wasn’t the right choice in their situation.
Read up on new technologies, keep up with industry journals, attend a seminar, step out of your comfort zone. Even just talking with other contractors, builders, and homeowners helps. Find out what works, what really saves money, and then you can give informed advice to your customers.
Collectively, we wield incredible influence over our energy policy.