Thanks for expressing an interest in Empowered! We're excited by the possibility of working with you, and want you to understand our value proposition and methodology.
Empowered is a 35-year-old full-service sustainability contracting firm. That means that we specify and implement projects to make buildings more environmentally sustainable, comfortable, and valuable. Our particular focus is specifying, financing, and implementing projects that have the best possible return on investment for our clients.
Because we're focused on projects that have superior financial performance to what is normally available in the green marketplace today, we've been forced to develop a skill set and methodology considerably superior to most of our perceived competitors. While our average perceived competitor is a solar company that will ask a building owner what their average bill is and size a solar system to match, our method is profoundly different, and achieves a fundamentally different and superior result.
When we work with a new client we first ask them to help us understand their objectives. Are they simply concerned about their utility bill, or is the building uncomfortable as well? Are they concerned with cutting costs, retaining tenants, improving the working or visiting experience of the building, or just getting big tax credits? Once you embrace sustainability broadly, instead of narrowly focusing on solar, many different goals can be met, and still create massive savings, incentives, and value.
Once we understand our client's goals we quickly collect a surprisingly small amount of information. All we need is online utility account access and a quick conversation with the facility manager or building owner and can have an initial proposal ready within a few hours. The intent of our initial proposal is to clearly express to the client what kind of financial outcome we can create for them, as well as addressing additional concerns, such as health and comfort. For example: "The following modifications will make the building comfortable for everyone - even the people on the fourth floor who are constantly fighting over the thermostat - and reduce the amount of energy you are putting into keeping the building comfortable, thereby reducing the size and cost of the solar system you need to eliminate your electricity bill."
Once the client understands what financial outcomes we can help them achieve - and there are a wealth of different outcomes ranging from more money now to more money later, larger incentives vs. larger savings, and a whole host of other trade-offs and goals - we ask a simple question: "Is this project potentially exciting to you, or not?" If the answer is no then at least we've wasted very little time on the client's part. If the answer is yes then our next step is to contract with the client to further define, and ultimately finance and implement the project.
All told, getting a proposal created takes about 90 minutes of a client's time, of which 75 is us presenting our findings. Generally speaking we can cut a client's cost of electricity IN HALF with no out-of-pocket expenditures on their part. We can also unlock huge tax credits if desired. For example, a client with an average annual utility bill of $120,000 can expect to receive tax credits worth $400,000. A tax credit of 3.3 TIMES the annual utility bill is about average. In addition, the value of the building that the project is deployed to will increase by about 7 TIMES the average annual utility bill. So a building paying $100,000 a year in utilities will go up in value by $700,000 on average.
In addition to financial outcomes our projects can profoundly alter other building characteristics, making them more healthy and comfortable. This in turn increases interior environmental quality, improves tenant retention, employee productivity, customer interest and loyalty, and many other desirable metrics at the behest of our clients.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we differ from other firms in that, where other contracting companies may guarantee their workmanship - that is to say - that they will physically do a good job installing a solar system - we actually provide services for decades (25 years) to ensure that our clients achieve the financial outcomes they were promised. These services include monitoring the systems (solar and otherwise) that we install, as well as guaranteeing their production, and ensuring that utility company billing is correct. We explain this to our customers by saying that while our competitors will guarantee to implement a good project, we'll actually guarantee the financial results of that project. This guarantee, and our continuing service relationship with our clients, makes us unique in the emerging green industry.
To achieve results like these, and make it easy, simple, and streamlined for the client is actually anything but easy. In addition to being able to specify, and install solar systems at competitive prices, we have broad knowledge of many different types of energy efficiency products and methodologies, and we've pioneered the development of patent pending analysis software that makes it possible for us to understand how these products and strategies interact with each other (synergistically or otherwise), how utility rate structures influence projects and vice versa, how financing and incentives interact with each other and influence project scope and outcomes, and many other considerations essentially unknown to other contracting and engineering firms. We are building and financial analysts as much as contractors, and the wealth of knowledge, technology, and applied sciences we bring to the table makes it possible for us to offer our clients outcomes as diverse as they are superior.
President, Empowered Energy Solutions