ASSESSORS IN ACTION
Inspector: Brandon Matthees
Company: Northstar Home Inspections – Founded 2018
Brandon is a freshly-minted inspector working in the Twin Cities market. Despite having spent the last 15 months immersing himself in as much technical information and training as possible, his energetic sprint though the Fast Track training and his enthusiasm for the Home Energy Score made him an easy pick for this month’s snapshot.
Why the Home Energy Score?
I use Home Inspector Pro software, and when I saw that the Score is built into the software, it was an easy decision to jump on board. I’ve learned so much in the past year about how homes work, and the Home Energy Score training was a big part of that education – I pulled some solid building science knowledge out of that training! I think that anyone who is really serious about being a home expert needs to have expertise in energy performance and comfort, and Home Energy Score is the perfect first step down that path.
How do you work the Score into your marketing and inspection process?
At my stage in business, I need to get out there with as much credibility as possible, and being able to call myself a Certified Home Energy Score Assessor is a real confidence-builder, especially since there aren’t many of those in my market yet. I’ll be using the U.S. DOE brand in all my customer-facing materials – it’s one of the key benefits of being in the program, in my opinion. And I’m not going to get too fancy with packages or upselling it as an ancillary service right now – I’m just including it in every inspection. It’s a bit of extra work on site, for sure, but I’m getting quicker with it and so far the payoff is worth the added effort.
What do your clients think about the Score?
I’ve been an electrical lineman for the past 17 years, and the best thing about that job was delivering to people something that they really need and are grateful for. And even though getting information about how much energy a home is going to use doesn’t have the urgency of getting the heat back on for a homeowner, I get the same feeling of satisfaction from delivering truly helpful and important information to people who are making a huge decision in their lives. People are thankful to have the information that the Score provides, plain and simple, and that makes me feel good about the service I’m giving them.
What about Realtors?
I’ll be honest – most of them have never heard of it. For me that’s a good thing, since it gives me a great way to teach them about a part of the industry that they’d like to better understand. They do tend to appreciate that their buyers are getting “greener” all the time, so they’re pretty receptive to learning about ways to respond to those clients. I think that being a Certified Assessor makes me look professional and competent to them, and they can tell how excited I am about giving their clients the best possible service.
HOT TAKES ON HOME ENERGY
You Won’t Believe the Top Ten States with the Highest Energy Costs in the Country
Everyday, I get hit with folks that believe that energy innovation is bad for the United States and the people who live in it. Policies that promote solar, wind, and energy efficiency are actually great for Americans. In fact, California, New York, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Colorado, and other clean energy leaders rank as some of the most affordable places to live in terms of energy costs.
Did you know that for 25 million households, energy costs in the United States could eat up 22 percent of a families’ total after-tax income. And because of dismal energy efficiency in some states, lower unit energy prices don’t necessarily equate to savings. Where we live and how much energy we use are a big part of the equation. For instance, although electricity is relatively cheaper in Southern Louisiana, its scorching summer heat raises costs for residents compared with the temperate climate in more energy-expensive Northern California, where heating and cooling units stay idle most of the year.
To better understand the impact of energy on our finances relative to our location and consumption habits, WalletHub compared the total monthly energy bills in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Their analysis went beyond just electricity and included natural gas, motor fuel and home heating oil as well.
The highest cost state in the country is: Wyoming, the state where folks drive more than anywhere else, would benefit from more fuel-efficient vehicles. The more surprising states on this list are coal-heavy states in the South. Southern Company owns the utility companies in Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi. They have far more expensive electricity bills than California. You would think that the politicians and utility company would work together to help folks with energy efficiency like better insulation that would reduce air conditioning bills, but you would be wrong. Rounding out the top ten are more energy heavy states like West Virginia, Oklahoma, and North Dakota. I have no idea why Indiana is in the top ten at all…wait yes I do. It is because the utility companies defunded energy efficiency to the point of almost killing the program.
SELLING THE SCORE
ID Energy offers you a better way to wear your expertise “on your sleeve”
One of the great benefits of being a Home Energy Score Certified Assessor is the privilege of associating your business with an entity as credible as the U.S. Department of Energy.
The DOE and the Home Energy Score team have some nice branding materials available to their assessors, too — a variety of logos, flyers, scripts and other materials await every new assessor once they’re brought into the program.
And while the Home Energy Score team provides resources to a wide range of professionals — energy auditors, utility employees, state and local government programs — I.D. Energy focuses on the home inspector industry, and as such has special insight into what actually works for home inspectors when they’re on the job looking to make the best use of their various services and partnerships.
So it’s in that spirit that our cracker-jack graphics department put together a new logo that’s specially designed for inspectors. It carries the “certified” language that homebuyers respond to, and is shaped to allow easy incorporation onto business cards, vehicles, shirts . . the works.
The Certified Assessor Logo is just one example of the Exclusive Marketing Suite of resources that ID Energy has put together to help inspectors build their businesses with the Home Energy Score. Check out our “Assessor Resources” link here, and watch this space as we continue to bring on new tools and tactics!
Policy, tech tidbits, nerdy stuff.
The Home Energy Score Assessor webinar, conducted on July 12th, was a great success with over 140 participants.
In this webinar the Home Energy Score Technical Team discussed the following topics:
- The Score simplified – how to explain the Home Energy Score to your customers
- Data entry review – how to avoid common errors and increase the accuracy of your data inputs
- Home Energy Score Recommendations – how they are generated, and how you can create your own custom recommendations
- Utilizing DOE provided resources – how to use the resources created specifically for the Home Energy Score, and where to find them
- Questions from participants