If you have been reading any of the trade publications over the past few years, you surely have read about home performance contracting. You have also been reading about why HVAC contractors are better positioned than any other to take advantage of these emerging opportunities. If that is the case, why are they so slow to do so?
In an October 7th article in the ACH & R news, Kimberly Schwartz writes that this might be changing. In it she quotes Michelle Knaszak, vice president of GreenHomes America as saying that HVAC contractors get into more homes than almost any other profession. Being able to offer home performance in addition to their current HVAC business is a win-win situation for the customer and the contractor. But we already knew that, so what is different?
According to the article, Michael Goater, success coach at Comfort Institute says he is now seeing more HVAC contractors expanding into home performance. "A couple of years ago, the insulation companies and home auditing companies were filling this niche," he said. "Today however, HVAC contractors are seeing the potential of home performance contracting, understanding what it really means to their businesses and seeing code changes across the country that include home performance testing when replacing equipment and/or ductwork." If that's the case, that's good news. Why?
First of all, HVAC contractors should dominate this field as they are already well attuned to the needs of energy efficiency and home comfort. Second, the economy has been tenuous for the last number of years and does not look to get more robust anytime soon. Contractors who embrace home performance contracting will find it a way to take market share away from their HVAC competitors, growing while others are downsizing. That doesn't mean it will be easy.
If you have not paid attention to home performance contracting, assume you don't know what you don't know. Before plunging in, learn all you can about it in order to make sure it is right for your firm. It will require some changes in how you operate and the technicians you are operating with. Getting involved in this market requires a different mindset so a contractor has to think beyond the box. (Pun intended) Home performance contracting includes the building shell, roofing, doors, window, envelope integrity (insulation, airtightness etc.), moisture control (leak prevention, humidity management) as well as efficient operation of the mechanical systems including HVAC, hot water systems and ventilation. It takes a commitment to education and training but the payoff can be lasting. What do you think?