June 7th I attended a contractors meeting hosted by ORE. Reminder-- ORE (Office for Resource Efficiency) is a nonprofit, so funding can get complicated. ORE has had a about a year of funding from Energy Smart. Energy Smart launched their green initiative only a little while ago and they did this in a number of ways. One way was to fund nonprofits like ORE to encourage contractors to not only do home energy audits, but obviously, to promote energy smart appliances. This is a pretty great idea if I must say. The downside of this is that funding stops. ORE’s funding will end in August. Energy Smart is one of two main programs they support the other is Local Farms First. So what does that mean for ORE?
ORE’s original mission was to build a community of sustainable building professionals, so support for green building workshops and referrals to homeowners for energy audits will prevail. Is there something to worry about without the Energy Smart logo? I say yes. If you live in Gunnison County it’s very likely that you know someone with this green white Energy Smart hat. The logo and ORE’s representation with that logo is synonymous. That’s good marketing. You see one logo and remember two companies. ORE managers do not seem worried, but they know more of what’s going on than I. ORE is not the bosses of the contractors or vice versa. They are a network. They help each other. For example, right now, if you wanted a energy audit for your home through ORE-- ORE because of Energy Smarts grant pays $200 of that audit and the homeowner pays $100. Not bad. When Energy Smart money is gone, most likely that deal will be too. Let’s say you as a homeowner who has now finished the audit wants to make some home improvements based off of that findings within that audit ORE or your auditor connects you to a contractor who can do it. It’s really a good system because I believe that the people on this network are not trying to screw you. They have no incentive and if they do, and a complaint is filed with ORE the contractors out of the loop, thus the contractor looses money. So the future is unclear and that’s the way the cookie crumbles for nonprofits, but the trust is there for the “customer”, and that’s the business I intend on being in on; win for the environment, win for the customer, win for the intern.