So... I saw the ad on the side bar and I had already been to the site before I even joined here. But I was wondering what people thought about the Green Irene concept. I, personally, feel that when I have the Money to spend I might sign on. It seems like an ecofreindly Pampered Chef type business.
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GreenIrenepost #2 of 81/13/09 at 12:47pm
I actually hadn't heard of Green Irene until recently (and then of course I noticed the ads). I haven't delved too deeply into their site but it's an interesting concept. The EZ Bulb Swap Out makes me laugh a little...why would you pay to have someone else switch out your incandescent light bulbs for CFLs? It begs the question....how many ___ does it take to change a light bulb?post #3 of 81/13/09 at 4:51pm
Well, I bit the $100 bullet and signed up. The fellow in my area was fairly green, and were it not for the fact that I had already done a huge amount of home energy upgrades, he might have been very helpful. As it was, his recommendations were fairly simple and reasonably accurate. As Jacob Andy guessed, it was a bit like a Pampered Chef or Tupperware idea. The $99 was not too high for a low-level "green makeover", but he makes his money selling products: CFLs, High end air purifiers, low-flow showerheads, composting toilets. He gets a percentage (20%) on the expensive items I was told.
It's a franchise thing, and he's an independant distributor, but I was not hassled to join or sell anything. He was curteous and I liked his selections. It was interesting to guage his CFL knowledge (I give him a B-) as well as his disdain for shady solar installers. He spent a little too much time leafing through his unbound sheets of paper that consituted his binder/catalog and clearly had not been doing this for very long.
For the average American consumer, this would be a good entry into the "green" world. I put green in quotes because it could also be a stopping point rather than a gateway. CFLs, low flow showerheads and green cleaning products don't really provide a very deep "green makeover", but it could be a start for some. Green Home Huddlers might find this service a bit on the low-hanging fruit side, but some might like the hands-on shopping experience for certain items.
Worth the money to me to see my competition (I do deeper energy audits with a thermal camera, blower door, EPA training, and full report), but I did learn one or two things about new CFL technology. As a money maker, you'd have to be a pretty savvy salesperson to make this work. I don't know how much of the hundred the salesperson gets, nor if there is a training regimen, or if the bottom line makes a family wage. I am still awaiting his report and purchase order as of Jan 13.
--Aaronpost #4 of 81/13/09 at 7:01pmpost #5 of 81/13/09 at 7:33pmThread Starter
I think for a Greenhome Huddler the better option than actually buying the Green Irene service would be to join in as a distributor and utilize the knowledge we already have. I think with what Aaron said about his experience that it might not be a bad idea but that the quality of the personnel could make a large difference. For the Huddlers in a situation that would not necessarily be able to start a full on Eco-audit business like recent graduates and people who are working part-time jobs the Green Irene might be a nice stepping stone to continue one's Eco education and start making the money that might enable a better green business to be started.post #6 of 81/14/09 at 8:49am
For my part, I am not interested in doing much hawking of product in my job as an auditor. I do, however, want people to have a trusted source for eco-friendly products on-line. Hence, GHH. What I'm fixin to do is simply use Amazon's affiliate program. Jacob, is there a Huddler Store I don't know about? I suppose that might be a conflict of interest since we review the products we might be selling. Green Irene is legit, but I wonder how much energy (heheh) is spent talking about products versus actually helping the customer. I'll report back on my experience with Amazon, I'm told they just give you a few bucks per transaction and you don't have to do anything but list the product. They take care of taxes, the shopping cart, the delivery. Perhaps this thread will morph into "Making Money Selling Green Stuff"...post #7 of 81/14/09 at 3:31pmThread Starter
I don't know of a huddler store Arron but what I was trying to propose was the Idea that the people in the Green Irene program could make the difference. If I do sign up to be a Green Irene representative I would not be in it just for the money therefore I wouldn't be spending excess energy on "hawking" the products my focus would be that it was far more important to help the client to improve the greening of their space. The goal is just to make it more accessible to people. I see that you live on the west coast and in Seattle so accessibility might not be as much of an Issue for you but over here on the east coast especially outside of New England "going Green" is not very widely spread. In my area there are no Eco-auditors advertised at all and I can only locate listings for 2 energy auditors. I think Green Irene might be an affordable alternative to full scale auditors to fill the temporary gap in this area. Also in this area many products that might be recommended are not widely available or easily located so the Green Irene service would just add another layer of ease and accessibility for the consumer.post #8 of 81/19/09 at 8:20pm
Sorry to use the word "hawking", it was a poor word choice for "selling". The products my rep suggested were actually those that I appreciated so it was certainly not hawking as that's done with things that people don't actually want to buy...
I just got the 2nd draft of my Green Irene's report and responded with some trepidation. I don't want a draft, I wanted a customized PDF of the products suggested with prices, pictures and a report summary. I am sure that other G.I. reps have different selling styles, but this rep was a bit new to G.I and didn't have his pitch down yet. Either way, I still think G.I is a reputable business and could even grow to be a very reliable source of eco-friendly goods.
I don't think they prepare their reps well at this point, and I don't think their services constitute an energy audit. It doesn't take a great deal of training to become a knowledgeable energy auditor, so G.I could do well to add the building science info into their training. They could indeed make a difference as you put it, and you yourself might make an even bigger difference by going into it with eyes wide open as you are doing. The gig is pretty clear, though, it's a way to sell products that people need, not a service that helps people truly understand why their energy bills are so high or why they have so much moisture on their window sills, or what sized PV array they might need. That's what energy auditors do from my experience. As long as the difference is understood, a person could definitely do both, and in an area where both services and products are not offered, you'd be a true resource for people and likely make good money.
Full-scale energy auditors should not be charging more than $900 for a thermal scan, building inspection, and wattage reduction report. I could have easily ended up spending that much with Green Irene in light bulbs, air filtration units, or composting toilets. The full scale audit is also a money generator when you apply the analysis to occupant behavior. I have a few clients who took none of my recommendations on system upgrades, but ended up saving $150/month due to simply knowing how much power their house wastes and acting accordingly. My basic audit for $350 will be paid back within 6 months, and keep paying for itself afterward.
For what it's worth, "going green" to me starts with reducing energy waste, then moves into eco-friendly purchases. Ideally we'd all do both, but when every day you have a hole in the envelope of your house that pulls heat out in winter 24/7 and that heat is generated by coal, nuclear, nat gas or petroleum, plugging that hole is more emergent than replacing your current 1.6 gallon toilet with a composter. Again, not that you can't do both (or get paid to help people do both!), but the priority should be on what's most directly affecting the environment and climate change. My biggest recommendation is actually "live closer to work" because the most direct big carbon footprints are your home's heating/cooling and your car.
In the end, my experience with this rep from Green Irene was sub-optimal, but it doesn't mean that someone else can't knock it out of the park, help people, help the planet, and make good money at the same time. It would be a particularly good business if you had a passion for sales, customer service, and saving the planet. If so, you can absolutely make a difference, especially in a place that has no other options or has yet to get the green religion. I'm just saying that from this customer's POV, it was a $99 eco-friendly in-home sales experience, not an energy audit. For some, this will be a fantastic entry-level "green makeover" as they call it, and it really will change some people's lives for the better.
I'm happy to elaborate on the report I've received if the Huddle wants to hear it, or I can give it people off-line in particular detail. I'm glad I had the Green Irene experience overall, and think that for some its the perfect job and/or perfect entry into eco-friendly living.
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