Sharpen your pencils and get out your marketing plans, because the government is looking to provide contractors with a new tactic to sell energy-efficient heating and cooling systems - higher energy costs. They didn’t mean to, but in their effort to protect the environment with a carbon cap-and-trade bill (H.R. 2454 American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009), the government succeeded in making energy potentially more expensive. According to the Associated Press, the early costs of the climate change law would be modest, pushing electricity prices up a mere 20 percent by 2030. When studied by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) at the request of U.S. Reps. Henry Waxman and Ed Markey, H.R. 2454 was found to be easier to afford this side of 2020, but that more substantial energy price increases were established by 2030.

Now, instead of throwing your hands in the air and ranting about the cost of doing business, let’s discuss the opportunity in front of you to possibly increase sales. Residential and commercial customers are all concerned about energy, but armed with proof, you as the contractor can show them that the extra money spent up front on a higher efficiency unit is truly going to pay off in the long run.

I am not suggesting you scare your customer into higher efficiency equipment, but the customer will most likely appreciate being educated on what is to come.

The Senate is expected to return a vote sometime early this fall and there is no telling what changes will be made before the bill is passed. There is one thing for certain though; energy prices are on the rise.