If you were to ask the average American to define “home performance contracting,” you’d probably get a blank look. In fact, I doubt that most professional remodelers really know what it is. In coming years, though, I believe we’re going to see home performance contracting become a household term. My own company, GreenHomes America, is betting on it: After three years fine-tuning our business model in Syracuse, N.Y., we’re planning to go nationwide with company-owned branches and franchises, starting this year. What we’ve proven in Syracuse, we hope to repeat in every state.

Home performance contractors use a comprehensive “house as a system” approach to upgrading the energy systems in existing homes. We start with a complete battery of diagnostic tests and a careful analysis of the house’s energy efficiency, comfort, and indoor environment. We call this “testing in.” Then we apply the upgrades that make sense....

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