EDGE Energy Blog
Beltsville, MD, March 31, 2020 — EDGE Energy is proud to announce that it has received the 2020 Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Contractor of the Year—Sustained Excellence Award for its outstanding efforts to promote energy efficiency through its customer first vertically integrated home performance and renewable energy business operations.
“EDGE Energy is very proud to be recognized by the EPA for the third consecutive year. This award is a reflection of our entire staff’s willingness to endorse energy efficiency and raise awareness for ENERGY STAR among the various customers we work with through the DC Metro area,” said Jason Dispenza, Founder and CEO of EDGE Energy.
“I salute the 2020 ENERGY STAR award winners,” said Anne Idsal, EPA Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation. “These leaders demonstrate how energy efficiency drives economic competitiveness in tandem with environmental protection.”
Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Contractor of the Year—Sustained Excellence is the highest honor among ENERGY STAR home performance contractors. EPA presents this award to contractors that have already received Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Contractor of the Year recognition across multiple years and have gone above and beyond the criteria needed to qualify for recognition.
For a complete list of 2020 winners and more information about ENERGY STAR’s awards program, visit energystar.gov/awardwinners.
About EDGE Energy
EDGE Energy is a highly-regarded Residential, Commercial, and Government renewable energy systems installer and “green” building contractor which is licensed, insured, and bonded in all counties of VA, DC, and MD. EDGE Energy designs and installs custom solutions for energy efficiency and renewable energy systems with pride and with proven track records. Their special focus is completing projects which decrease utility bills and energy consumption by 25% to well over 100% – even creating homes that are “net-positive”, all the while improving comfort, indoor air-quality, and building durability. An EnergyAudit is the first step to your energy efficient home!
About ENERGY STAR
ENERGY STAR® is the government-backed symbol for energy efficiency, providing simple, credible, and unbiased information that consumers and businesses rely on to make well-informed decisions. Thousands of industrial, commercial, utility, state, and local organizations—including more than 40 percent of the Fortune 500 companies—rely on their partnership with EPA to deliver cost-saving energy efficiency solutions. Since 1992, ENERGY STARand its thousands of partners helped American families and businesses save more than 4 trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity and achieve over 3.5 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas reductions. In 2018 alone, ENERGY STAR and its partners helped Americans avoid nearly $35 billion in energy costs. More background information about ENERGY STAR can be found at: energystar.gov/about and energystar.gov/numbers.
To achieve Passivhaus certification, the homes have to achieve a minimum air tightness level of 0.60 ACH 50, which is five times “tighter” than the 3.0 ACH 50 required of new Maryland code-built houses.
In this image, Robert Champ of Edge Energy operates a blower door, which pressurizes and depressurizes the house to test air-tightness and spot leaks. The initial blower door test, conducted after the modules were installed on site, was 0.36 ACH 50. This initial blower door test provides a crucial window to spot any glaring air leaks before they are covered in other building materials and become more difficult to access. The homes’ final blower door test, completed after construction was wrapped up, was 0.35 – below the Passivhaus requirement of 0.6.
See the full article here: http://www.flywheeldevelopment.com/angular-momentum-1/2017/5/22/blower-door-tests
The choice to convert to solar energy in your home isn’t a complicated one. The benefits are undeniable, from saving money each month to living a more sustainable life. But things can get a little more complicated when it comes to choosing a solar contractor and actually embarking on the installation process. That’s why it’s important to ask questions and make sure you’ve investing in the best equipment, workmanship, and service possible.
Home Improvement Leads offers a list of some of the most important question you can ask your solar contractor.
Is my roof suitable for solar?
Solar panels can be installed on most types of roofing materials, but there are many other aspects to consider. First of all, any leaks, rot, or damage will need to repaired before installation. Second, your roof needs at least 10 years of solid performance left. If you’re just a few years away from the end of your roof warranty, it doesn’t make sense to install solar panels that will have to be removed and reinstalled in just a few years. Solar panels typically last 25 years or longer, so you may need to reroof if your roof has seen better days. The installer must also consider the pitch and size of your roof and whether any shading (such as from a tree or nearby building) will block the panels’ access to sunlight.
Do you have the appropriate licenses and insurance?
Amid the growing options for solar contractors, the best way to narrow them down is by evaluating credentials. Online reviews are a good tool, but you don’t just want good service and good product; you want a guarantee that if anything goes wrong, the contractor or their insurance will take responsibility. Be sure to ask for paperwork or a license number and verify. Don’t make such a life-changing investment based on someone’s word.
Do you recommend a solar lease or power purchase agreement (PPA) as an alternative to buying?
Solar leases and PPAs can decrease your upfront investment. You get to use the power generated by the panels but you do not own them. Therefore, the company handles the maintenance and any necessary repairs. This can be convenient for some people, but these agreements aren’t right for everyone. It can be difficult to sell your home with a leased solar system, so make sure you’re entering an arrangement that works for you.
How much money will I save? How long will it take to pay the system off?
Vague answers simply will not cut it when it comes to how much energy the system will produce monthly. Your installer should be able to give you estimates on how much you’ll save based on your energy load, the utility prices in your area (with regard to inflation), and how much energy your solar system will produce. You should also have a method of keeping track of your energy production to make sure your system is living up to its potential.
What incentives are currently available?
Your solar contractor should be knowledgeable about the federal, state, local, and utility incentives that can be applied toward the project. Ask them whether or not they handle the rebate paperwork or if they’re available to help you with the process. Make sure they’re familiar with the standards that need to be met and permits that need to be obtained in order for these incentives to be applicable.
Could I add extra panels in the future?
Some solar customers make a one-time investment in a system that’s big enough to cover their entire home’s energy load. Others buy a system smaller system and use grid energy to fill in the gaps. If you’re in the latter group but are interested in expanding your solar array in the future, make sure your system and your roof are expansion-friendly. If you think you would be interested in going off-grid in the near future, be sure that your system has that capability as well.
What do I do if there’s a problem with the system?
Don’t let this question be an afterthought. If your system doesn’t perform as well as promised or something goes wrong, you need to know who to contact, how you can get a hold of them, and how long it will take for someone to respond and resolve the issue.
Don’t hesitate to ask questions. Any solar contractor worth hiring will be comfortable answering these and many more; they’re there to help you attain clean, green energy in a format that suits your needs.
Many homeowners relish the opportunity to make a comfortable living environment and enjoy getting acquainted with the inner workings of their home. However, there are some aspects of residential living that are so specialized and technical that they require the expertise of a qualified professional. At Home Improvement Leads, we understand that HVAC is a complex area that is best left to the pros, but we know how difficult it can be to find a qualified contractor who will do the best for you and your home. If you want to know whether you have a qualified HVAC contractor for your next home improvement project, we’ve come up with a few things to look for during your contractor search.
Basic HVAC qualifications
The qualifications obtained by contractors can and will vary, depending on their specific education pathways and experiences. Basic vocational training and on-site experience are essential for a qualified HVAC professional. If you want to be sure these qualifications are legitimate, you can do a basic background check of your contractor’s education and find out whether they are from reputable institutions or businesses. While your check will likely end with confirmation of their qualifications, it is important to remain aware that scams occasionally crop up in the contracting world and it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Certifications and training
As with education and qualifications, the certifications and training undertaken by HVAC contractors may differ slightly. However, the Environmental Protection Agency requires all HVAC professionals to undertake mandatory training on exposure to and work with hazardous refrigerants. The certification they receive from this training is labeled EPA 608 and should be one of the first things your contractor tells you when listing qualifications. If you have particularly specific or complicated HVAC needs, it is also a good idea to look for a contractor with specialized training in the areas you require.
All contracting professionals need to be properly licensed in order to work. For HVAC professionals, this licensing is required on a state-by-state basis. Before you make any agreements with your contractor, check that his/her state licensing is current, up to date, and valid for the state you live in. If your contractor has moved around and worked in this field for a number of years, he/she may be licensed in a number of states, but if this list doesn’t include your state then he/she is not fit to work for you.
Depending on your contractor’s employment status (usually either self-employed or part of a larger corporation), your HVAC professional should have several types of insurance to protect himself/herself, you, and your home. For most contractors, this includes business insurance, workers’ compensation, and damage and liability insurance. This information should be made clear to you before any work on your HVAC system begins, in order to avoid insurance issues in the event of damage to your home or anyone in it.
A qualified HVAC contractor will understand and be up to date on the latest products offered, including Energy Star rated products and brands, the latest and best energy efficient units and their energy efficiency ratios, and maintenance instructions and tips. Your contractor should be able to convey this information to you as the consumer easily and without hesitation. If you feel as if your contractor doesn’t understand the ins and outs of your particular HVAC system, it might be a good idea to find someone with more expertise.
Although finding out about qualifications and training are essential steps to choosing a skilled HVAC contractor, there is nothing quite like a positive reference from someone who knows to help make your decision. If applicable, you can check with employers and other business professionals who can vouch for your contractor’s skills. Asking around to see if other homeowners recommend your professional is another way to get references. However, one of the best ways to find reviews of your contractor’s work is through social media: if your HVAC professional has an online presence, you should be able to easily find out everything you want to know.
After an incident with the local utility company resulted in serious fire damage to their home, Amy and Lou were strongly motivated to seek alternative energy solutions and drive down their electric bills. The couple, living in Washington, D.C., was interested in renewable energy as a way to offset their utility costs and do their part for the environment.
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Discovering Solar from EDGE Energy
Before investing in a solar system, Amy and Lou spoke with a family friend who had their home’s solar system installed by EDGE Energy. After hearing the rave review about the productivity of his system, the couple was convinced that solar energy would also be the best solution for them. They wanted to have EDGE Energy install their system.
Initial Savings on Solar in Washington, D.C.
A recent action by the city council made a solar system even more attractive for Lou and Amy. The city had just recently extended and enhanced an already attractive SREC (solar renewable energy credit) program in the nation’s capital, making the payback for a home solar system about four to seven years.
Home Solar System Installation by EDGE Energy
In the spring of 2016, Amy met with part-owner Anthony Colella of EDGE Energy to discuss the goals for her home. The couple had agreed that they wanted the largest system that would fit on their roof and it had to look great on their well-maintained home in the historical Palisades neighborhood of Washington, D.C.
Since their home had a slate roof, they needed a contractor who was well-versed in this type of construction and installation. Fortunately, EDGE has experience will all kinds of homes, roofs and energy requirements. In order to fully accommodate the couple, truly black-on-black solar panels and a sophisticated racking system were required.
SunPower solar panels quickly became the obvious choice for Lou and Amy. The EDGE team suggested the X-20 250-watt Signature Black panels on SunPower Invisimount racking. This would not only give the family maximum power from their 13 kW system, with premium aesthetics, but about half of the installation costs would return to them in the first year.
The comprehensive 25 year SunPower warranty also gave Amy and Lou true peace of mind. They now won’t have to worry about babysitting their investment over time.
Taking Advantage of Solar Energy
EDGE Energy was able to install the 13 kW system in four days onto the couple’s existing slate roof, with all of the major electrical components tucked neatly into the garage around their main panel and generator.
With the system turned on, Amy and Lou are providing the majority of their home’s electricity from their panels, making thousands of dollars in SREC sales and contributing substantially to their own personal and local government goals of clean renewable power.
Solar energy for their home has made their monthly bills drop substantially, leaving the family money for more important things than paying the utility and giving them the satisfaction that they’re doing their part for the environment.
What Do the Homeowners Have to Say About Going Solar?
“We think the system is beautiful and EDGE did a wonderful job installing it. It is truly satisfying watching our electric meter run backwards for the better part of the day.” – Amy C., Washington, D.C.
“The installation process went well, the system looks fantastic and it was installed on a slate roof. We are pleased and look forward to realizing savings in the future.” – Lou C., Washington, D.C.
If you’re a homeowner in Washington, D.C., Virginia or Maryland you can start taking advantage of solar energy with help from EDGE today! Contact us or call (888) 586-3343 today to see what solar power can do for your home!