Powering Home Comfort
by Melissa LaScaleia
“I’ve always had a passion for energy conservation as well as solar energy,” says Jeff Thompson, the owner and operator of Carolina Energy Conservation, speaking of his start in the industry. “I saw a need to create ways that we can save money in operating our homes, be more comfortable, and live happier.”
He began his career by conducting educational seminars on home energy efficiency strategies that were applicable to house designs in the South. Jeff went on to get a BPI, Building Performance Institute certification, to learn what the standards were from the best resource available. He and his employees continue their training to this day.
BPI approaches energy efficiency as a whole-house system, and examines how all the factors affecting efficiency— like insulation, attic, lighting, doors, windows, vents, and garage spaces— are functioning together. Jeff fuses this aspect of his business with solar installation, repair, and maintenance.
“One of the things we really pride ourselves on is providing the right solutions for our clients that would best serve them,” Jeff says. “There are a lot of different ways to help people make their home more efficient. We look at a home as a whole, and look at conservation in terms of making your home more sustainable and seal-tight energy-wise.”
Because of the cost of solar panels, conducting energy efficiency improvements first can save homeowners considerable money because they will need less power to run their home after the improvements, and therefore, less solar panels installed. Yet most solar companies don’t offer this service.
“We have equipment that no other contractor has,” Jeff says. “Including things like blower door tests and infrared camera tests that enable us to pinpoint exactly where and how much air is leaking in a house. That’s important because when you’re heating or cooling a house, the air that’s leaking will be replaced by either your heating or your air conditioning system. We go over the house and seal those areas to make your home as efficient as it can be, then we conduct a solar analysis to determine the number of panels you need.
Jeff exclusively uses solar panels by Sunpower. They have a life expectancy of 40+ years; come with a 25 years warranty; and have a 25 year manufacturer warranty for labor, maintenance and any other issues that may arise— meaning if anything goes awry during that time, Sunpower will pay to repair it. If you have a problem and the company that installed the panels is no longer in business, the manufacturer will send another company to repair them free of charge.
“This is the only company in the industry that offers this type of warranty,” Jeff says. “They are the best panels you can buy.”
Jeff understands the importance first hand of having dealings with a reputable solar panel company. Many of his customers call him because they are having problems with faulty installations executed by companies in other states, or companies that have gone out of business.
Carolina Energy Conservation has been a part of Santee Cooper’s Trade Ally Program for more than five years; and earned the top spot on their Trade Ally List (a list of contractors Santee Cooper recommends) for insulation, three years in a row when Santee Cooper was offering that list. They also won the Solar Contractor of the Year for the past four years with Santee Cooper’s Trade Ally List for solar, as well as their insulation award multiple times.
“We’re big on customer focus,” Jeff says. “We have a multiple step process called ‘wow service.’ It’s a customer focused approach from how we deal with the customer from the initial call, to the energy consultant that goes out to see them, to the production crew that goes out to visit them to do the work, to the follow-up call after the work is done. We have customer satisfaction surveys and we are consistently ranked very highly. We ensure complete satisfaction every step of the way, and are there for our clients even once the job is done.”