Patents, Prototypes, Manufacturing, and Marketing New Inventions
Marketing A New Energy Conservation Product For Saving Energy
Designing and building an injection molded prototype
Marketing A New Energy Conservation Product For Saving Energy In Water Heaters.
Shortly after we had raised our money and were beginning to develop our marketing plans, I managed to get a small piece of metal in my eye. While at the eye doctors office I was chatting with a nurse about our new product. The nurse told me her husband was a contractor and specialized in building energy efficient homes. She told me I should look into California's Title 24 regulations for new home construction.
We did check into Title 24, and found that the State of California had imposed energy efficient building regulations upon the new home construction industry designed to promote energy efficient homes. Regulations covered a number of items such as the amounts and location of insulation, orientation of the home with respect to the sun, heating and cooling system design and efficiency.
There was a point system so a builder could trade off various energy saving methods of construction. For instance, large windows are discouraged since they allow heat to escape from the home more easily than highly insulated walls. So a builder could put more windows in a home if he compensated with more insulation somewhere or maybe a higher efficiency heating system.
We hired an energy consulting firm who worked for home builders to analyze the proposed home designs for Title 24 compliance, and help come up with the least expensive methods of compliance. The consulting firm would help us obtain Title 24 recognition for the Hot Water Saver and help us market to the new home construction industry.
It was an uphill battle to say the least. Turns out that the Title 24 regulations were a highly political topic. Since the regulations influenced a large number of new home construction markets, everyone who sold anything to a contractor was trying to influence the regulations.
For instance, Title 24 gave gas heating more credit than electric heating. According to the regulations, only 1/3 of the electricity produced in power plants made it to the home, 2/3 of the energy being lost in the transmission lines on it's way to the customer. This pretty much made it impossible for a house to meet the energy requirements for Title 24 if the house had an electric water heater. So much for "all electric" homes. Southern California Edison, a producer of electricity, did not like this to say the least. They were a major player in the Title 24 battle for the continuously changing energy regulations.
Manufacturers of heat pump type water heaters were delighted since a heat pump water heater was the only way to electrically heat water and have the house comply with Title 24.
Gas companies lobbied hard for regulations that favored gas appliances over electric.
Window manufacturer's lobbied hard for regulations that favored things like window tinting and double pain windows and low emissivity glass.
Insulation manufacturers lobbied for regulations that favored ever increasing amounts of insulation in the walls, attic, under the floors, etc.
Solar systems manufacturer's lobbied for regulations favoring active and passive solar energy products.
About the only thing they did not want, was for another product to come along and provide an alternate method to help meet the regulations.
The California Energy Commission was the body in charge of and who created the Title 24 regulations. They had meetings to continue the updating and developing further of the regulations with the goal of achieving the most energy efficient buildings possible.
The public was always in force at these meetings, the public consisting of representatives of the gas and electric companies, the appliance manufacturers, energy consulting firms, etc.
The battle we waged for the hot water saver was long and hard fought, but in the end we did receive enough of a credit in the Title 24 regulations to ensure our marketability. For instance, if you wanted one more big picture window, you could install the hot water saver on your water heater and gain enough energy credits to have the windows.
Or you could install a less energy efficient appliance, saving you many times what the hot water save cost you. The credit we received was far less than what it should have been, but it was enough.
Marketing A New Home Improvement Product, (More of our new product marketing story)
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