Verify or Be Scammed – A Clean Energy Reminder

Tyvek thermawrap is one of several products whose energy efficiency qualities may have been exagerated.

Tyvek Thermawrap: exaggerated claims of energy savings?

Should you bring a lie detector to your home energy audit?  Well, no, but you should count on putting some research and initiative into the project.  Unfortunately, with more investments in energy efficiency being made every day, it has attracted an unwelcome element into the market: greenwashing.

Greenwashing, the practice of making unsubstantiated or misleading claims about the environmental benefits of a product, seems alive and well in the energy efficiency markets.  Take Tyvek ThermaWrap as an example: Originally launched by DuPont in 2006 as a high-efficiency insulation product, it now appears that that original claims of its insulating properties  were exaggerated.

Some energy efficiency products may not live up their claimed energy or utility bill savings

A recent article by Martin Holladay at GreenBuildingAdvisor.com reveals that DuPont bragged that the insulating properties of Tyvek ThermaWrap were due in part to its low emissivity.  However, Martin’s investigations revealed that the product’s emissivity is actually pretty average and that DuPont’s previous claims of the insulating value of this products have been exaggerated.  Other products identified as making exaggerated claims of energy savings include passive fresh air inlets, powered attic ventilators, and vent-free gas space heaters.

To avoid falling victim to such claims, spend some time doing your research.  Make sure you feel confident that the products you’re considering will achieve the energy and economic savings that you expect.

Recent investments to develop energy efficient technologies are resulting in a wide range of products and services that can dramatically cut your home’s energy costs. However, the heightened interest in energy efficiency has also created an environment where exaggerated or even blatantly false claims can lead to poor investments and lost opportunities.

Don’t let yourself be scammed.  A little time reading up on the products you’re considering can maximize your investment and minimize your carbon footprint.

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4 Comments

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I completing agree with this article. It is very important to go into anything with a understand of what should be done in an energy audit or the basic knowledge of terminologies of energy auditing. The purpose of energy audits to to help you save money and ensure your safety. With proper knowledge of energy auditing, you will ensure that you will not fall victim to false claims.


Comment by Mrs. Energy Auditor on November 21, 2009 9:01 am


This post talk about complete truth. Specially companies such as BP. In 2009 if Im not mistaken BP spent around 11 millions on a greenwash campaign and still, while campaigning kept doing what Oil companies do best – > destroy the environment. This is where a lot of PR enter and just try to persuade the organization’s publics that even though their practice is unethical, they try to maintain a safe environment and maintain their corporate responsability towards the planet.Great post, will definitly recommend it.


Comment by British Gas Energy Smart on March 4, 2010 2:40 pm


People is being aware now than ever that we need greener energy sources. You can see mass movement around the world about this topic. I guess is mother nature claiming its earth back.

But as Sam says verify or be scammed.


Comment by diy solar panels on March 5, 2010 8:23 pm


Martin Holladay is one of the most knowledgeable people in the construction/energy industry, having been the editor of Energy Design Update before going to Green Building Advisor. He’s constantly on the lookout for these kinds of scams and does a great service with his blog.

There are two main certifications that you should look for in anyone you hire for an energy audit: RESNET (HERS) home energy rater or BPI building analyst. There are plenty of energy auditor certification courses for sale on the internet that are essentially worthless. They’re scams designed solely to make money for the person who created the website.

RESNET is the Residential Energy Services Network, the organization that oversees the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) industry. BPI is the Building Performance Institute. There’s a lot of overlap between the two, but there are also significant differences. A HERS rater has energy modeling tools to look at the performance of a home. A building analyst has extensive training in combustion safety. Many people doing energy audits these days have both certifications.


Comment by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD on March 29, 2010 10:25 pm


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