The Northeast Sustainable Energy Association’s Green Building Open House will be held on October 13th. EnergySage CEO Vikram Aggarwal discusses EnergySage’s involvement in this year’s tour.
Why did EnergySage become involved in NESEA’S Green Building Open House (GBOH)?
VA: We’ve been a member of NESEA since 2011. We both share common goals – to facilitate and accelerate the adoption of solar, wind, geothermal and other clean and high-efficiency energy systems. There are many people who were early adopters of clean energy—who were willing to take a chance—but most people are a little more risk averse. They need more information to feel comfortable moving forward with a purchase. They need to be convinced that clean energy systems are being used effectively to heat, cool and power the homes and businesses in their region, that is makes good financial sense, and that it isn’t going to require any changes to their quality of life.
EnergySage and NESEA believe that people want to be able to see for themselves that these systems are actually working in their neighborhoods at properties similar to their own. They want to have examples with convincing data about the cost and realized savings these systems are providing to real people in real-life settings. The tour lets them learn from their early-adopter neighbors that these systems actually are working and it goes a long way towards making them comfortable enough to follow their lead and make the switch.
What is EnergySage’s involvement in the GBOH tour?
VA: EnergySage is hosting the corresponding virtual tour which allows visitors to plan their tour stops ahead of time and get specific details about what’s installed at each property—details like system size, performance, and actual costs and savings. They can also explore the information, tools and resources we have on EnergySage.com. That information, in conjunction with the project profiles, provides people with a framework for understanding what they’ll see on the tour and we’re hoping it will spark richer interactions between the hosts and the people visiting the sites. Another benefit is that the virtual tour is available on energySage.com year round – so people who couldn’t physically tour the properties or those that want more information after visiting them will be able to tour them online at their leisure – which helps to extend the tour’s reach.
We’re also helping clean energy professionals by increasing consumer awareness of the benefits of these systems and growing the industry overall by creating more demand for them. Visitors can see who was involved in the installation and find out more about them and their work either from the project profile or directly from the property owner. This is a great benefit to the potential consumer, but also to the professional as it helps to reinforce their reputation and brand in the market.
What do you see as the value of involving the broader clean energy community in the purchase decision process?
VA: This is a big decision for most property owners. Researching the various clean energy options, evaluating what will work best for you and then actually going about getting the job done can be a very complicated process. We’ve learned that a majority of folks who consider clean energy systems actually don’t end up making a purchase because they either are not convinced of the benefits or remain confused about the technology. Connecting with others who already have been through the process, whether they’re a homeowner, a business manager, etc. , allows people to access the tremendous expertise that these folks have developed through their own experiences. There’s a definite credibility factor at play here, too. A neighbor’s restaurant recommendation carries a lot more weight than the restaurant’s ad in the newspaper. It’s the same principle with solar, wind, geothermal and other clean and high-efficiency energy systems. The local community is a terrific resource that offers incredibly valuable insights into what to expect, what to avoid, what to think about, etc. The project profiles are essentially case studies that validate the information clean energy researchers are gathering as part of their purchase process. The GBOH tour adds another dimension because it allows the back and forth between the host and the potential clean energy user to happen face to face. It’s a conversation that happens in the actual environment where the visitor can see what the system looks like, where they can touch and feel it. Plus, the enthusiasm of the hosts is contagious. It’s a very powerful experience for everyone involved.
Will EnergySage play any role in what happens after the tour?
VA: Yes, absolutely! We believe we’ll play a critical role in translating the enthusiasm generated by the tour into specific actions that will lead to greater adoption. EnergySage’s mission is to simplify the entire purchase process. Our educational resources and case studies, combined with the tour experience will make people more comfortable and more knowledgeable going into the tour. After the tour, they can come back to EnergySage.com and get help through all the remaining stages of the process. The EnergySage wizard can recommend which of solar, wind, geothermal, etc. is suitable for a particular homeowner. We also have extensive resources and tools that will guide them through the process of determining the best method for paying for their system, evaluating the economics of the various options to maximize their investment, locating the best installers, requesting and evaluating bids, and choosing the best system at the best price. Our goal is to make purchasing a clean energy system as easy as purchasing any other home appliance. The tools and resources that we provide through energysage.com and our consulting services make it very easy for consumers to navigate the purchase process. Research shows that people are 24% more likely to make a purchase after having seen a system in action. We’re hoping to take that 24% bump following the GBOH tour and translate it from an interest into real concrete actions on the road to adoption.
Interested in learning more about clean energy and energy improvements in a real-life setting? You can sign up to visit the host properties in your area and review the online profiles.
Already have a clean energy system or made efficiency upgrades you want to show-off? You can share your experience and expertise by serving as a host property on the tour and / or by creating a project profile for the virtual tour.