By Connie Sue Centrella
Many pool professionals are challenged by the seasonality of the industry and look for new ideas that will keep sales flowing during the off-season. Performing energy audits for pool owners creates an innovative way to improve the bottom line and keeps professionals in front of their customers even during the winter months.
In today’s economic climate, homeowners are seeking ways to reduce costs as well as lessen their own impact on the environment, and pool owners are no different. They are interested in saving energy costs, reducing carbon emissions, lowering water consumption, and minimizing overall waste. Pool owners are changing their habits to embrace a greener environment. They are living a greener lifestyle by purchasing fuel-efficient automobiles, buying more organic foods, and using recycled products. This shift in attitude provides an opportunity for pool professionals to help pool owners meet their goals by offering energy-efficient technologies.
Energy audit programs
An energy audit program is one answer to help customers reduce expenses and embrace a greener future. Conducting an energy audit requires identifying opportunities for change as well as providing recommendations for energy and cost savings. Pool professionals can initiate an outreach program to existing pool owners and offer an assessment of their pool equipment and current energy usage.
The first step may be a letter, e-mail or perhaps a postcard mailer to their existing customer base, indicating a nominal fee to review the customer’s pool operation. Most pool auditors credit back the fee if the homeowner opts to purchase newer equipment or renovations.
The audit requires a visual inspection of the pool with a detailed review of what resources are being used, how much, and the state of the equipment. This will be the baseline to support future recommendations. The audit should assess all operational systems: pumps, filters, heaters, chemical treatment, lighting, and controls.
|WHAT TO INCLUDE IN AN ACTION REPORT|
|After the on-site inspection and all equipment parameters have been analyzed, including a thorough review of the usages and costs, a comprehensive action report can be achieved.
The report should indicate which areas of the pool need to be modified or renovated to reduce energy consumption. Recommendations for installation of new equipment and pool owner return on investment (ROI) should be included. ROI is important because it measures the cost of investing in the changes against how long it will take to recoup their investment based on energy savings.
The audit team should demonstrate how much the pool owner is currently spending and compare it to what they can potentially save by implementing any of the audit recommendations. This compelling data can be the deciding factor in a pool owner’s decision to upgrade their pool equipment.
Finally, the audit team should research current energy rebate programs offered by various municipalities and present them to the pool owner in the action report.
Phase 1: Assemble the audit team
The audit team’s job is to inspect the pool and document all the existing parameters that have an effect on energy consumption. Both field technicians and retail store staff should be involved, which helps them understand the value of offering energy audits and how they work.