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Home Energy Audit reviews in Cambridge

  • A
    Next Step Living did a great job for us. First, there was a lot of information at the front end. An energy auditor went through our whole house and explained all the things that could be done to improve our energy efficiency. He provided a detailed breakdown of costs, and explained available rebate and incentive programs. Second, after we decided what we wanted to get done, a project manager kept in touch every step of the way about scheduling and work to be done. Finally, the team arrived on time, did a great job, answered all of our questions, and carefully and completely reviewed with us what they were doing while they were doing it, and after the job was complete. They also suggested some additional work we could consider, after having gotten in to our house down to the studs.
    - Robert N.
  • C
    I really wanted to like Next Step Living (I'm a big environmentalist and fan of energy efficiency), but I had so many issues with them that I would suggest trying another provider that works with Mass Save.
    Main complaints
    - Initially extremely difficult to change the date for the work. I spent hours on the phone changing it, only to get a call a few days later confirming the old date. More hours on the phone going through the switchboard and having multiple people tell me that this was not their responsibility.
    - Energy auditor missed presence of knob and tube wiring in the basement. Altered my schedule to be available for the work crew, only to have them come in and say they couldn't do anything until knob and tube was inspected by an electrician and found to be disconnected.
     - Next Step assigned someone to my case (helpful to have one person to contact), but they sent a knob and tube inspection form that could not accommodate all of the recommended work. I had asked for a form that included as few parts of the building as necessary because I was worried about access to the attic, but Next Step took the attic off areas that needed to be inspected without telling me this would disqualify about half of the work. I was then told I would have to pay out of pocket for an additional electrical inspection if I wanted all of the work done. I thought Next Step should have paid given that they never told me that the inspection form they sent could not accommodate all of the contracted work. 
    Main positives:
    - Work crew was friendly and actually showed up.
    - Mass Save program is great, but this is more of a State policy, not Next Step Living. The prices for the work are set by Mass Save (and are great).
    - Tal L.
  • C
    It went ok, but we were not impressed.
    Note: price rating is for the windows replacement estimate, not for the assessment, which was free.
    Energy assessment:
    • - the guy was ready to replace the incandescent bulbs, but we had only few, since we replaced them earlier on our own, so he replaced just few we had. Bulbs he installed are pretty basic - not bright, and take very long time to heat up for their poor maximum brightness. I would NOT want to have all of the bulbs in my house replaced with those, even though they are free.

    - the device he used for scanning the walls needed to be charged, so he had to charge it in our place ... homework not done, or they save on upgrading their equipment.
    - he was supposed to give us an energy efficient extension cord, but said he ran out of his supplies... too bad, we have already paid for it though the fees our energy provider collected, so guess who keeps the change!
    - thermostat replaced, but not leveled, sloppy job ... more training needed
    Window replacement estimate:
    - the guys are offering a non-major brand of vinyl windows twice the cost of the Harvey windows - the prices are exorbitant! If we can get HEAT loan for $500 per window, it doesn't mean we are ready to pay $1000 each!
    - we had 2 visits, with the second visit being a followup because we were supposedly not shown a window sample during the first visit ... well, a sample was nowhere to be seen in the second visit either, instead we had another lecture on the greatness of SoftLite. There is no dramatic difference in numbers when it comes to window characteristics vs Energy Star rated model from Harvey.
    - funny fact: the guys pick their own windows, but say they have no control over the quality of bulbs ... I guess the reason is bulbs are free and windows are big big $$$ margins
    - no, we were not convinced, especially after looking at their record on this list, with the thousands of installations they have reportedly performed
    Bottom line: If you consider using their services, make sure you get another estimate from an independent contractor, and do know that you do not need to use NextStepLiving to get the HEAT loan for window replacement! The guys are crafting their talk very carefully to create an impression they are the only guys in town.

    UPDATE: I want to give credit to the company that they do monitor reviews on Angie's List. I did receive the powerstrip in mail after posting this review, which is in agreement with "A" I gave them for Responsiveness.
    - Andriy F.
  • A
    He was prompt and he explained what he was doing to determine where the "leaks" in heat/air were happening.  He made concrete suggestions for improving our energy use and efficiency.
    - In P.
  • A
    Very good quality work.  The crew was professional and cleaned up well after themselves.  Also, this work was massively subsidized through the MassSave program.  I paid $500, for about $2500 in insulation work.   My upstairs is much warmer now!
    - Benjamin L.
  • A
    I got a referral to use their services from somebody who I know really well. They haven?t charged me yet and it depends on what we do. They were fine and responsive. They have a relatively long time out between when you call them and when they could come. However, there is nothing to be unexpected. They haven?t done the work yet. They were an hour late. I would use their services in the future too.
    - SUSAN R.
  • A
    This is an excellent vendor. Flemming was punctual, professional and very thorough. He returns calls, arrives at the job promptly, and he did an excellent job evaluating my home. The report was emailed to me the same day and I followed up with him a few days later to go over specific questions I had. He was very patient explaining his findings and he recommended a few different contractors for each specific job that needed work. It was reassuring to feel that he didn't seem to be directly tied into any of the contractors he recommended. He also looked at my water heater and furnace and made suggestions as to how to improve the energy efficiency of those two units. It was a pleasure working with someone as professional as Flemming.
    - Matt K.
  • A
    We were very happy overall with the experience and work. Pricing: BGB was _by far_ the most detailed quote of the 3 we requested of companies. We appreciated all of the investigating and quoting which was done by tradesmen who could understand what the jobs entailed. They agreed to our architect's request to bill us in a way that ensured we would not get "stuck" if anything happened to their business. Pricing is a B because the end expense was significantly higher than quoted. The multiple change orders were justified by additional work that wasn't anticipated; however, we did feel a bit "nickled and dimed" at times. They did do their best to answer all of our questions about charges. The contractors (especially Andy who also did project management) did very high quality work. We were pleased with the attention to detail. We had weekly meetings at the house to discuss any questions or issues that arose. They were very helpful in troubleshooting difficult questions (e.g. how to restore the cupola, how to place ductwork) etc. We were given many options for each quandry we encountered, and felt that the eco-friendly options were included and well-explained. There were very few days when no work was being done--that had been my biggest fear. The project took longer than expected, probably due to: increased scope, delays in ordering (our fault), and resolving roof issues. They worked well with our architect, who was a constant and demanding presence. She made sure the construction documents were implemented and alerted us to any quality issues, which BGB was agreeable about, for the most part. I'd recommend this relationship for anyone doing extensive renovations (i.e. having your architect have close contact during implementation of plans). Staff and subcontractors were professional, approachable and had a positive attitude about the project.
    - Susan K.
  • A
    No large renovation project is without its trials and tribulations (e.g. "what do you mean the bamboo shipment has been held up for two weeks, we have in-laws coming to stay...") especially when you are living in it and through it and having never done anything so major before it was particularly helpful to have Steve as our guide. He clearly loves transforming living space, pays close attention to detail, and considers every material, ever detail and ever choice. Working with him was like going to a good restaurant in Italy where you don't just pick items from a menu you have an open discussion about the comparative merits of this or that ingredient so when the end result is there you end up appreciating it all the more because you have learned so much as you went along. My wife is was trained as an architect and it was something to watch the two of them go over the details of the plan. His patience and engagement, clear pride and delight in the finished project, made the process a positive one (although I would never wish two back to back renovations on anyone). We were also appreciative of the respect his sub-contractors had for his judgment and quiet insistence on the highest possible quality. One gets to live somewhat more intimately than one would like with the different teams of tradespeople that got involved, but you could also see that they also respected his opinion. You knew Steve's hand on the project was firm. From time to time, he would take on specific tasks to do the work himself to ensure it met his standards and I think this helps to differentiate him from general contractors who are more project managers. If you are looking for someone to work with you, listen to you, help you navigate the choices especially if you are interested in investing in a energy efficiency and "green" design, than Steve is a great choice.
    - Susan B.
  • D
    Terrible service in scheduling an appointment.  I am actually hoping to cancel the service and get a credit.
    - Edye R.
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