Looking Back and Looking Forward: Home Energy Pros at 5 and 5000

Over the past five years, the Home Energy Pros social network has grown from a twinkle in our eyes to a vibrant community of 5000 doers and shakers in the home performance world. The membership represents a rich cross-section of participants in the home energy performance movement, including:

  • Energy auditors
  • Building contractors
  • Insulation contractors
  • HVAC contractors
  • Home inspectors
  • Appraisers
  • Real Estate Agents
  • Architects
  • Building Energy Modelers
  • Trainers
  • Fderal, state, and local government agencies
  • Manufacturers
  • Energy researchers

Our community is also geographically diverse, with members hailing from every state in the U.S., and 70 other countries.  An additional amplifier effect is that 25% of our members share content forward on their own social media streams.  We reach additional people by posting to our own associated social media feeds multiple times per week: Twitter: 22,000 followers; Facebook: 1,900 followers.

A look at the MOZ rankings provides a sense of the impact in terms of web outreach.  With a score of 86 out of 100, Home Energy Pros ranks among the highest of websites serving the home performance community. This is not surprising given the large amount of authoritative content posted by members, including, at latest count:

While membership is large, it’s only the tip of the iceberg, given that scores of non-members come and browse the rich content generated by the community. As of this month, we’ve had 2.7 million unique visitors. About 2500 people visit the site each day, with peaks at nearly 4000. They come for the extensive and regularly updated content. User stats and a profile of the content are regularly updated on this page.

Home Energy Pros provides our readers and authors with a valuable social forum to share resources and get reliable answers.  It's our daily water cooler–a great place to learn what's working in home energy efficiency and home performance.

Members are sometimes a headstrong lot, but almost always cordial. A massive amount of information exchange occurs here.  Per one of our recent polls (answered by 400 members thus far), about 20% have obtained answers to specific practical field-based questions posed to the community and more than 10% have incorporated new products, services, or techniques into your projects that led to improved performance.  One in 5 program operators have made improvements to their offerings thanks to information picked up in Home Energy Pros.  There were 77,000 Member visits in the past 12 months.  About half visited three times or more, and 20% visited 9 times or more. The Network appears to be used and useful. 

Other polls provide sobering information such as the levels of awareness of national programs.  While Home Performance with Energy Star does relatively well with a 24% awareness rate among respondents, followed closely by ENERGY STAR Certified New Homes (22%), most other programs show awareness levels well south of 10% among Home Energy Pros members responding to the poll.

We are always interested to see how members use the site.  BPI offers a great example with its 300+ member group, by reposting their articles and announcements in the Forum, sharing videos from their YouTube channel, and regularly listing trainings and other events on our calendar.

This success wouldn’t have been possible without our sole sponsor, the Better Buildings Residential Program (which is also an active user).  Jonathan Cohen and his colleagues at DOE have enabled us to provide the network as a free service to the broader community and, in doing so, amplify the collective knowledge base of the home energy professional network by offering a space for sharing resources, education and knowledge.

What’s next?  On our side, we are looking forward to a major update of our underlying Ning platform, which will offer new tools for members. There is also scope to coordinate more with related social media initiatives.  The real future of the network is in the hands of all members--we look forward to your continued engagement and airing of the latest thinking on home performance.  Suggestions for new features or uses of the network are always welcome.

A quote from Atul Gawande's June 10, 2016 New Yorker article, taken from his Cal Poly commencement address, comes to mind: "What you have gained is far more important: an understanding of what real truth-seeking looks like. It is the effort not of a single person but of a group of people—the bigger the better—pursuing ideas with curiosity, inquisitiveness, openness, and discipline.”

We are in awe the community’s vibrancy, and of how it continues to grow and keep on the cutting edge evolving home performance landscape.

Evan Mills, Founder

Tom White, Home Energy magazine

Diane Chojnowski, Moderator

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