Thanks to federal subsidies, growing consumer awareness, and the rising cost of fossil fuel energy, more and more people are making the switch to clean, green, renewable solar power for their homes and businesses. Solar system installation companies have helped thousands across the country make the switch, but according to industry insiders such as Thomas Neyhart, the CEO of PosiGen, a Louisiana-based solar power company, welcoming workplaces and consumer education are just as important if we are to reduce our collective carbon footprints.
We spoke with Mr. Neyhart to learn more about what consumers can do to lower their power bills. We also asked his thoughts on the solar energy industry. Here is some of his advice on how to save energy and what PosiGen is doing to help the people and communities they serve and work with.
Energy-Saving Home Improvement Tips from PosiGen
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, HVAC/heating and cooling systems account for almost 50% of energy use in the average home. Lights, appliances, and general electronics account for another 20%. Combined, heating, cooling, and electronics represent about two-thirds of all energy usage in the average home. According to Thomas Neyhart, this means we can significantly reduce our energy usage if we target cost-savings with these appliances. Here are some of the ways Thomas Neyhart and PosiGen recommend we do just that.
1. Perform an Energy Audit
The first thing to do is to understand what, where, and how you use electricity. An energy audit can provide you with a baseline with which you can make power usage decisions and calculate averages over the year. Solar system installation companies such as PosiGen often include an energy audit as part of their pre-assessment process so that they can make the most impactful changes and upgrades to your home before installing solar panels for you.
2. Insulate the Attic
Having the right amount of insulation, especially in your attic, can considerably reduce your heating and cooling bills. Solar panels can also be strategically installed to cover the sunniest parts of your roof, thereby creating shade and maximizing your solar energy production.
3. Ensure Proper Window Sealing and Weather Stripping
The spaces between different parts of your home are referred to as your home’s envelope. These are the places where hot and/or cold air can travel or leak. Window sealants and weather stripping can ensure a tighter envelope and will help prevent or at least minimize the flow of air into and out of your home. This will reduce the burden on your HVAC system in both hot and cold weather and will lower your power bills.
4. Install LED Lights and Smart Thermostats
LED lights consume less energy and can last longer than fluorescent lights. They can also mimic natural light more closely. Using timers and/or motion-sensing systems, you can further enhance savings by having lights on only when and where they are needed.
The same applies to smart thermostats that can heat or cool your home based on a pre-set schedule. These systems can take home occupancy, work schedules, and the weather into account to minimize power usage and maximize savings based on smart, automated power consumption.
5. Use Certified Appliances
An often-overlooked aspect of power savings, according to Thomas Neyhart, is investing in certified energy-saving appliances, such as energy star appliances. The biggest savings in this area typically come from big-ticket and power-heavy items such as refrigerators, washing machines, dryers, and dishwashers. High-efficiency machines can generate considerable savings over the life of the item. There are also certified systems available for commercial purposes such as office equipment, servers, and other business and workplace machines.
6. Basic Maintenance
Thomas Neyhart has said that the PosiGen engineering team provides a pre-installation assessment to all clients before moving forward with a solar panel installation. Basic maintenance is also provided for all systems. This maintenance, along with regular tuning of home appliances and systems, can vastly improve heating and cooling while lowering your power bills. Thanks to clean filters, a tight home envelope, and effective power storage, solar power installation companies such as PosiGen also help consumers enjoy cleaner homes while also securing them from power outages and rate hikes during peak consumption times.
In addition to the above, Thomas Neyhart and the PosiGen team recommend the following for lowering your power bills and carbon footprint.
- Let your dishes air-dry in the rack instead of drying them in the dishwasher.
- Be sure to regularly change your HVAC filters and have your heaters and coolers checked each season.
- Lower your water heater temperature from hot to warm.
- Turn off the lights and close the doors whenever you leave a room.
- If possible, use open windows and fans for cooling in the summer instead of the air conditioner. Use blankets, sweaters, and thermal clothing in conjunction with a lower heater setting in winter to save energy.
- Consider a smart thermostat and/or LED system for your home.
- Reflective materials can be used on roofs for cooling.
- Dual metering via a solar panel installation can generate passive income if you produce more solar energy than your home needs.
- If you already have a solar system installed, check to make sure it is working properly and inspect it regularly to remove debris buildup or rodent nests. Trim nearby trees as well to make sure your panels get as much sun as possible.
Thomas Neyhart on PosiGen’s Workplace Culture
According to Thomas Neyhart, energy sustainability is just one part of PosiGen’s strategy. Mr. Neyhart believes that people would make the right choice and move to solar if they understood the benefits of doing so. Furthermore, he has said that helping marginalized communities and lower-income households reap the benefits of solar energy is also a key mission of his company. This is why PosiGen invests in local talent and has a considerable number of employees from a wide range of backgrounds, including women and minorities.
Thomas Neyhart has said that PosiGen tries to go a step further by investing heavily in employee development and workplace happiness, and the results speak for themselves. According to Comparably, a workplace assessment firm, PosiGen scored in the 95th percentile in workplace happiness, CEO performance, diversity, and retention amongst other comparable solar energy companies. Work-life balance, company culture, and attractive incentives and benefits are also some of the reasons PosiGen is able to fill openings sooner and keep its people longer than the industry average.
While the move to greener, more sustainable energy sources such as solar is a clear industry trend, it looks like investments in human capital also have an impact on bottom-line performance. Thomas Neyhart and PosiGen may be on to something here, and it will be interesting to see new developments in the solar power system in Q2 2022 and beyond.