SIR minimums, building a culture, an infrastructure based upon lying...

SIR minimum requirements create a culture of lying that, if things don't change quickly, will be embedded in the very culture of Home Performance.  We won't have an infrastructure of building scientists/designers that can deliver on energy savings promises, we'll have a bunch of liars who hide behind intangible excuses for their inability to perform.  


When people change to CFL's as incandescents blow, the savings is so gradual they never "see" the results.  When they change them all at once the results are obvious.  If you do small jobs that only promise small savings, you can explain away lack of savings to all kinds of variables.  This program now encourages these type of mediocre results, no accountability, small jobs.  

Ask yourself a few questions:  

  • If this is a program about saving energy, shouldn't people be rewarded for the energy saved?  SIR does not do that, it rewards them for the money spent IF certain "MODELLED" (aka - how good are your lying skills) savings meet an irrelevant Savings to Investment minimum.
  • If this is a program about creating jobs, shouldn't every audit result in the opportunity to perform program work?  SIR does not do that, if the house isn't a certain level of "crappy," improving the home will not "save enough" to justify.  Now you have unhappy homeowners unless you are willing to lie about the home's condition.  Willing to falsify your model and join the legions who over promise savings to get jobs through.  For many the choice is lie or starve.  
  • Shouldn't everyone who is willing to embrace this process be rewarded by the ability to participate in program incentives?  They are all rate payers.  Isn't it unfair to exclude some?  If the program "investment" in energy savings must be cost effective, make the incentive based upon energy saved NOT DOLLARS SPENT ON IMPROVEMENTS.  
  • Shouldn't deep retrofits be encouraged?  People don't sign up for efficiency improvements every time energy price jump, they do it once a decade, if that.  If we are mobilizing on a home, isn't it best for everyone if really comprehensive work is performed?  Or should we grab the quick and easy job and move on?  Grab the "SIR" opportunity and move on. 
  • Why is it the program's job to decide what is a good investment for people and their homes?   Every home is different, it may cost one person more to accomplish the same thing as another, they should be excluded?  Told they are a bad investment?  If my investment saves $100 and your investment saves $100, why is the government saying my $100 should be incentivized and yours should not? What a waste of everyone's time!

Why is it the program's job to tell people what is or is not a good investment - and when is the government good at making investments anyway?

We need a program where the best interests of contractor and homeowner are aligned.  Tracking and reporting results accomplishes this.  A homeowner that can see the contractor doesn't lie about savings based upon past results is easier to sell to.  

We need to INCENTIVIZE MODELED SAVINGS and the QC is TRACKING RESULTS.  Contractors who know their results are being track have a huge incentive to under promise and over deliver, because good results will help them acquire future business and bad results will make them look incompetent.  

Lying to meet SIR requirements goes the other way, turns the whole program into a thing with no ability to deliver.  That is what is happening in NY State right now.  

WHAT IS YOUR SAVINGS PROMISED TO DELIVERED RATIO?  - Does anybody know?  Wouldn't you like to know?  

Is this a program about creating administrative jobs that produce lots of paper and slow down energy savings work?  A program afraid to disclose results because they are so abysmal it's embarrassing?  

That seem to be the only thing that is truly being accomplished.  Everyone is wasting huge amounts of time trying to trick software to give numbers that will be approved.  Program momentum is in the wrong direction.  Fundamental change needs to occur.  For some reason the people at the reigns either don't get this, the program administrator is purposely hiding it (and their incompetence), or they all simply want unnecessary administrative process because it justifies their jobs.  What a waste of time and resources.  

I'm making people nervous because I won't be complicit.  I see consumption transparency around the corner, when it occurs the lies will be laid bare.  I don't want to be party to it.  When TRANSPARENCY occurs I see TRUTH as competitive advantage.  I'm hoping others will join me.


Tags: SIR, bad, bill, causes, corruption, design, energy, financing, lies, on, More…savings, structural

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On Bill Financing will expose the lie.  

A program that will only allow improvements that promise high SIR will get a lot of projects with very aggressive savings promises.  There is no check on that balance.  

When people expecting their bills to stay the same later find large arrears because they used much more than projected, the lie will be laid bare.  This is a structural problem.  The program administrators may try to "blame" the contractor but this lie is programmatic, not the contractor's fault.  Bad design at the program level.  

Why not have a program that let's people buy what they WANT.  If all the improvements I want will mean a net increase on my bill, so be it!  People want to get their homes FIXED.  If it costs more than the energy saved tell them the cost and let them decide.  Don't tell them "sorry, that project doesn't make SIR."  

Let's get these houses FIXED, not apply band-aids based upon todays energy costs.  Let's look to the FUTURE!

Don't incentivize total spend, incentivize savings and publish contractor's ability to deliver on promise.  Let contractors compete on RESULTS.  

Very good points.

Here are my own:

1. Is there any way to truly agree on what the value of existing insulation is? I have BPI and HERS training and I still cannot come to a consensus on how to treat existing insulation. For HERS Raters, you have three grades of insulation, but a good deal of the grading is subjective. So, if we can't totally agree that the existing batt insulation in Jim and Joan's attic is effectively achieving an R-this or R-that, then how can we truly provide accurate savings to investment ratios? 

Then there is the issue of proper air sealing of a location being integral to new insulation living up to its claimed R-value. I am a huge proponent of "air seal it first or I don't want the job." I some times come close to cutting my neck to make sure that proper air sealing is always performed prior to insulating (or adding additional insulation). Proper air sealing is typically a b***h, but if you got into this industry you should have known the nature of retrofits.

Let's address this first point, and see where it takes the discussion.



The effectiveness of the current insulation can be adjusted as you are attempting to true your model to actual consumption.  Or you could calculate using temperature delta's. But I don't think you want to waste much time on theoretical r-value, definitely don't get hung up here.  I don't think the difference between 6" and 8" of fiberglass is going to make or break your savings promise accuracy.

If one scale says you are 350 lbs and another calls you 362, do you want to quibble about the 12 lbs?  NO, You are grossly overweight.  You are going on a diet!  You are planning on dropping 150 lbs, 30% weight loss!  Quibbling over 2-4% is a waste of breath.  A rounding error.  

At 350 lbs, claiming you did or didn't lose 12 lbs is meaningless.  Maybe today you are dehydrated, maybe yesterday you had a big meal, or a good poop.   If you don't get to 20% savings promised, I can't be confident savings are due to my efforts.  I think the intent of BPI is to bring homes into balance, to perform deep retrofits, go after MEASURABLE savings, not "might have been a good poop" savings. 

I don't think you can take credit for savings that is not significant.  A $3-4000 job that promises 5% energy reduction, or $8 a month in savings - how can you accurately track those results?   How will the homeowner ever see those savings?  How can you be confident those savings are real if you calculate a 5% reduction in consumption?   To me that's a promise without risk.

I think avoiding risk of accountability is one of the reasons our program has implemented SIR requirements, it means no big jobs and no big promises.  They're hoping to hide behind poop and turning the program into it in the process. 


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