We all go through transitions in our lives.  One of the biggest is choosing or changing a profession.  As I mentioned in previous entries, my background for the previous 9 years was doing class action and warranty inspections on residential building products.  This meant I became keenly aware of the lack of effort put into the finer details of building homes properly.  One of the things I enjoyed (although wasn’t supposed to do) was giving advice to home owners about what to do about the products I was inspecting on their homes.  They always seemed to be appreciative of the knowledge that I was sharing.  Towards the end of that career, I started to think about how I could take the knowledge I had gained doing the inspections and turn it into a career that not only made money, but also helped people.  I thought of starting a siding company (I probably performed 10,000 siding inspections over 9 years); starting a roofing company (everyone at the time was getting a new roof); and even doing consulting for realtors and investors in the residential market.  Thankfully I was nudged into my professional by the advice of a multi-millionaire (you tend to listen to those people).

At the time the term “green building” was becoming a hot topic.  Because the housing market was so poor, builders were looking at ways to differentiate themselves (and the homes they were building). Because of this, my first certification was as a HERS Rater.  Now I could help current and prospective builders create homes that were more comfortable, healthy and energy efficient.  My second certification was as a BPI Building Analyst.  This gave me the knowledge to deal with existing construction and help homeowners make their homes a more comfortable, healthy, and energy efficient place to live.  Since starting my company in 2009, the second certification has been the most rewarding (and not just in a monetary sense).

In the past couple of weeks, two of my best (and favorite) customers have been widows.  It’s not that they don’t have the ability to make those types of decisions; it’s the fact that until recently, they’ve had a husband around to handle the tasks themselves (or try to at least).  One of the problems with being a man is that most of us always want to be right.  We want to be problems solvers so we don’t always ask for help when we really need it.  And if it costs money to get that advice or help, then that decision becomes even that much more difficult to make.  We want to be able to fix things even if we have no idea how to, because that’s what real men do (see the real man's code book).  As many of us find out, sometimes we end up getting in over our head and creating a bigger mess then that which we were fixing in the first place.  Building trust with these two wonderful people, while still being able to competently provide a service has been the most rewarding part of completing their projects.

For me, nothing is more rewarding than being able to not only help people, but to share the knowledge that I have gained over the years.  Our homes are a huge investment and unfortunately they don’t come with an owner’s manual.  With all the bad information and unscrupulous sales people out there, who are people supposed to turn to give them fact (and science) based advice on what is causing the issues in their homes and how to fix them in a cost effective manner.

 

THAT is what I do.  THAT is why I love my job.

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Tags: Audit, Comfort, Efficiency, Energy

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Comment by Joseph Lamy on April 28, 2011 at 9:41am

I love what I do too. I'm just an energy auditor in a free utility program, but I get to see several homes a day and snoop around to find things folks could do that would impact their lives, health, wallets, comfort, etc. You know the drill or you wouldn't be here!

 

They love to talk, and this is a great starting point, especially on the 25th anniversary of Chernobyl after Fukushima tsunami and the dogs in Oregon going goofy after eating radioactive fish from Japan that washed up on our western shores this week. It somehow helps us to put a bit more perspective on the gap in the air filter and the disconnected duct, the lack of rim joist insulation and poorly adjusted strikeplate - you know the little things that add up to a nuclear plant or two, a few coal plants and a pile more waste. This job connects me and the folks and the planet like nothing else ever could, and I hope you feel the same way, that the culture of comfort and efficiency lifts us up where we belong.

Comment by Jon LaMonte on April 25, 2011 at 3:01pm
Kent, I have to agree with you there.  I actually would like to drop the new construction part of my biz so I don't have to deal with builders any more and I can stick to dealing with home owners.  Believe it or not, the owners are a lot easier to deal with than the builders.
Comment by Kent Mitchell on April 25, 2011 at 1:54pm
Hey Jon!  Good points here! - The biggest challenge to really being able to love this work though - is the 'making money" piece of the puzzle... We're surviving but have yet to thrive.
Comment by Jon LaMonte on April 25, 2011 at 12:54pm
Leah,  that would be great.  Just let me know what I need to do.
Comment by A. Tamasin Sterner on April 25, 2011 at 9:50am
Love it, Jon!  Listening to those widows went a long way toward them getting what THEY want and need - and gave you pride.  How can it get any better than that!
Comment by Henry Borysewicz on April 25, 2011 at 8:22am
Great post, Jon!
Helping people to save on energy expenditures is one of the most rewarding aspects of what we do.  I also get satisfaction out of knowing I am doing my small part in making this planet a better place for my children.  They have told me that they are proud of me for what I am doing.  You can't place a pricetag on that!

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