Company’s neighborly advice: home efficiency saves on your bills

Next Step Living is making our economy more energy efficient, one home at a time. Founded in 2008 by Geoff Chapin, a Boston-raised, Harvard- and MIT-educated visionary with a practical idea for improving housing stock—and our country’s economic prospects—Next Step Living has brought real green savings to tens of thousands of homeowners in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Maryland. The firm has grown to more than 500 employees in just five years and now assesses more than 3,000 homes each month, illustrating the economic stimulus energy efficiency-promoting policies and investments create.

Making retrofits painless for customers is key to the success of Next Step Living. The company’s website serves as an informative starting point for residents who want to cut their energy bills and make their homes more comfortable. The process starts with an in-home energy assessment, which pinpoints a structure’s inefficiencies. Next, the company’s advisers develop a customized plan, including a rigorous search for rebates and incentives that can help pay for many energy-saving measures. In Massachusetts, for example, residents can tap the Mass Save Home Energy Services Program to cover the entire cost of a home audit and immediate improvements such as light bulb upgrades, as well as 75 percent—or up to $2,000—of new insulation.

Once the firm and client settle on a course of action, the company’s engineers and technicians go to work, helping customers realize savings from logical fixes such as air sealing and insulation improvements, solar panel installation, heating and cooling upgrades, and window replacements. Neighbors tell neighbors, friends tell friends, and a business based on trust and execution overcomes the hesitations that can hamper green-tech efforts to turn energy efficiency retrofits into reality.

— Environmental Entrepreneurs