Juggling the craft of building excellence to deliver affordable and appealing buildings for clients is challenging enough, but these days there’s the added hurdle of figuring out what’s best among a seemingly endless menu of new energy efficient products.

While it can be a brain-buster to get up-to-speed with any new product and cause a drain of jobsite inefficiency, energy efficient products can require more attention and knowledge than others. And, there isn’t a slow-down in the forecast for new building products either, as they seem to be rolling off the conveyor belt with alarming alacrity and speed. Right now, there are 406 Energy Star-certified heat pumps, 9,856 Energy Star-certified light bulbs, 2,154 windows and doors, and 18,585 WaterSense-labeled faucets.

Compounding the pressure to ramp up expertise in energy efficient products and weatherization techniques, 61 percent of commercial real estate property teams say that energy efficiency is a priority and 70 percent of consumers believe it’s a priority to live in a home with energy efficient features.

For contractors who don’t have the luxury of an 8th-day-in-the-week to navigate all of the options to suss out what’s best for each project, there are local utility companies like National Grid that have energy-efficiency consultants who help ease the process for their clients with on-site assessments and incentives. Plus, experts at National Grid are dedicated to making decisions easier for contractors by staying connected to those with boots in the mud and to emerging technology and product solutions.

“We poll contractors and architects to test out and to to find solutions to problems that they might not have even realized that they had, so National Grid at a high level is is constantly working to look into new technologies and to build new offerings to to make make designing buildings and improving their envelopes easier,” says Max Halik, Senior Product Developer, Customer Energy Management - Growth & Development at National Grid. “And we believe that we've set up the incentive structures and programs that encourage them to use those novel technologies when they apply and when they're most cost effective and efficient.”

What are the major weatherization priorities for clients?

Tricky to detail at times, and sometimes difficult to figure out which product is best, there’s no doubt that energy efficiency is key to durable modern construction. And even though it’s not news that HVAC, insulation, and lighting are major focuses of optimizing building performance, there are some key points and trends to keep in mind when weighing the options and contemplating integrations.


It’s a good-news bad-news proposition that the lifespan of HVAC is under 20 years. Central AC is about 12 to 15 years, furnace is about 15 to 20 years, and a heat pump’s lifespan is expected to last 14 years. While newer HVAC products are expected to gain extra time in use, there’s still this known countdown for clients to ask for an upgrade. For contractors who install HVAC or detail those spaces, it’s important to have a strategy in place for when that customer asks for an upgraded system.

“Once in a while we might have to figure out how to vent a high-efficiency boiler and the exterior wall termination kits can be tricky to place,” says Jeremy Kassel, owner/operator of Albany, NY-based Kassel Construction. “We have also been asked to try and hide or locate ductless mini-split line sets in places that are inconspicuous.”


“As a remodeling contractor, and with respect to weatherization, another upgrade that folks ask about is exterior insulation and attic insulation work,” says Kassel. “During the rough phases of construction and remodeling, we are really trying to focus on air sealing means and methods. Air sealing seems to be just as important as well-installed insulation. This includes thinking about high performance building tapes, sealants, and more.”

According to the Insulation Industry Trade Association Coalition, adding insulation to walls, rim joists, and basements can deliver 33 percent energy savings when combined with installing higher-efficiency windows.


Even though lighting might not seem like an obvious weatherization focus, the amount of energy—about 17 percent of a commercial building’s energy use—makes it a major factor in a building’s operational nimbleness and weather preparedness.

While swapping-out light bulbs are the low-hanging-fruit of energy efficient upgrades, incorporating strategic daylighting to lower the need for electric lighting and smart lighting controls to better regulate their use can go a long way to meet a building owner’s energy use goals.

Plus, knowing how to achieve more efficient lighting will check-off-the-box for mindful customer service, as 75 percent of U.S. homeowners believe that lighting is one of the most important design choices for their home, according to a Harris Poll survey conducted on behalf of Lutron Electronics.

For contractors who are ready to deliver energy efficient upgrades, it’s good news that building owners are prioritizing weatherization. If you’ve been kicking the can down the road, it will only get harder to know how to detail and incorporate the efficient buildings that customers want.

Learn more about weatherization opportunities at your projects by visiting NationalGridUS.com