In This Podcast:

Leslie McDowell
Leslie McDowell

Leslie McDowell, director of communications at the Building Performance Institute Inc., discusses the nonprofit organization’s new homeowner-centric website.

Q: Can you please introduce yourself and share a bit about your background?

A: I’ve been with the Building Performance Institute since 2010 as director of communications, and I’ve been in the home-performance and weatherization world for seven years.

Q: BPI launched a new website,, geared toward homeowners. Can you tell me a little bit more about the site?

A: The site’s purpose is to educate the public on the value of whole-house home-performance upgrades. We felt the best way to do that was to provide fun, interactive tools that give people information about their own homes. There’s a home quiz that people can take simply by typing in their home street addresses, and the tool brings up an estimate of their home’s utility energy usage. It also estimates how much they would save if they implemented a home-energy retrofit. There’s also a video about a successful home-performance upgrade from the perspective of the homeowner and contractor, as well as case studies, frequently asked questions on home performance, information on rebates and incentives, and much more.

Q: Why was it so important for BPI to launch the new site?

A: BPI’s mantra is to approach the whole house as a system, rather than fix energy or comfort problems through one-off ad-hoc measures. People have drafty rooms, hot or cold rooms they can’t bring to temperature, IAQ problems, or painfully high utility bills. Depending on the contractor you talk to — the window guy will tell you to get new windows, the insulation contractor will tell you to buy new insulation — [they all will tell you the problem stems from different causes]. In order to educate the homeowner on the most cost-effective and efficient way to handle these problems, BPI-certified professionals approach the house as a system. They’re trained to look at how all of these components — the HVAC unit, insulation, the thermal envelope, appliances, and lighting — play a connected role in maximizing cost and energy savings.

Leslie McDowell
Director of Communications, Building Performance Institute Inc. 

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Publication date: 4/20/2015

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