Home energy efficiency opportunity in 2014

Residential energy efficiency gained momentum throughout 2013, with technology advances in programmable and Internet-connected thermostats, affordable CFL and LED light bulbs, and a strong effort by home performance professionals to help their customers go green. In addition, many homeowners and property managers took advantage of a federal tax credit and replaced inefficient HVAC system components with Energy Star rated appliances. Although this tax credit expired on December 31st, many state governments and utilities committed to funding their residential energy efficiency rebate programs throughout 2014. And many of these programs will expand to be available to a greater number of homeowners, thanks to successful test programs in 2013. All of these developments point to a healthy and growing home energy efficiency market in 2014.

2014 means opportunity for home performance professionals

The first step for homeowners who want to go green in 2014 is to be aware of their home’s energy performance: its consumption and costs. With these numbers in hand, which can be found from a single utility bill with our Home Energy Performance Calculator, home performance professionals can recommend comprehensive strategies for homeowners: everything from the way they live in their homes to extensive retrofit and upgrade work is on the table.

Energy efficiency products and services will always be in demand from homeowners, but these aren’t the only opportunities for home performance professionals. Helping consumers understand their home’s energy performance is a key step in winning their home improvement business. Pike Research estimated that the home energy auditing market will grow to $23.4 billion this year, and it all starts with homeowner education. When a homeowner understands energy consumption and costs, a home performance professional can explain the benefits of a whole house energy audit, retrofit and upgrade work, and rebate programs to create a less expansive, more comfortable, healthier home. Who doesn’t want that?

Simple behavioral adjustments, like running the dishwasher during off peak hours, can help, along with turning off the lights in empty rooms. These changes, which can become habit in as little as two weeks, along with easy Do It Yourself projects are the low hanging fruit of home energy efficiency. Home performance professionals are in the best position to educate homeowners and guide their quest for energy efficiency. The Wall Street Journal reported “after they pick all the low-hanging fruit and see the results, people start seriously considering more significant engagement.” That means a whole house energy audit and professional retrofit and upgrade work.

As the benefits of residential energy efficiency gain traction with homeowners the prices of DIY upgrades like light bulbs, programmable and learning thermostats, and weatherization kits are likely to fall. Professional retrofit and upgrade installations and service, such as HVAC systems, insulation, and windows and doors, are the logical next step for the engaged homeowner. This is an organic and sustainable market for home performance contractors.

The “perfect storm” of increased homeowner awareness, high efficiency products at affordable prices – with and without rebate programs, and a strengthening real estate market, is an excellent opportunity for our industry. Pike Research also estimated the energy efficiency home improvement market will exceed $50 billion. We expect homeowner demand for all energy efficiency products and services to strongly grow throughout 2014.

2014 year will bring a lot of opportunity to the home performance industry as homeowners learn more about residential energy efficiency and its benefits, including a more comfortable, less expensive, healthier home. Home performance professionals are in a great position to reconnect with past customers and win new business thanks to strong demand from homeowners who want to go green in 2014.