This story appeared in print as part of “The Word on the Streets.” Want to catch up on infrastructure issues in Columbia? There’s...
Every day, new names are being added to the growing list of businesses, products, and cities that are taking steps toward becoming more environmentally friendly. Thanks to the hard work and drive of one businessman, Columbia is quickly becoming a greener city.
For the past nine years, Dan Riepe has been performing audits for homes all around Columbia with his company, Home Performance Experts. Now he’s receiving national acclaim from the Department of Energy for his work.
This past year, Riepe earned the Department of Energy’s Century Club award, which recognizes Home Performance with Energy Star contractors that have improved the energy efficiency of more than 100 homes during the year.
“Being a part of a handful of businesses in the nation that provide people with this service is really special, and something that I’m very excited about,” Riepe says.
Locally, Riepe has earned a reputation as a go-to for going green, not just with businesses, but also with citizens looking to reduce their environmental footprint.
“I really enjoy working with families in Columbia and educating people about energy efficiency,” he says. “Most people really want to save money and have heard about ‘being green’ but have no idea how to do it.”
Riepe studied geography at Northern Illinois University before working for four years at the MU Energy Management Department. He was a part of developing an asset program management system for the underground utility system, and he says that the university’s focus on energy efficiency encouraged him to be a part of the “green” industry.
“I wanted to educate people about energy efficiency and help families save money at the same time,” Riepe says. “Basically, I come out to the house and show you everything you could do to your home and how much money that would save.”
This desire to help homeowners become more energy efficient has made Riepe a leading weatherization expert in Mid-Missouri. Weatherization refers to all non-structural measures that improve a property’s energy efficiency. These can include insulation and air sealing, along with many other practices. Besides eliminating excess energy usage, these measures can result in improved comfort and indoor air quality.
There are two ways Riepe uses weatherization measures to encourage responsible energy usage in Columbia homes: home energy audits and comprehensive home inspections. “An energy audit is a great way to find out exactly how much electricity is used in your home and in what areas,” he says.
An energy audit with Home Performance Experts will identify how much energy your home uses and what steps can be taken to improve efficiency and save money on your future bills.
“Identifying small changes like finding areas in your home that are leaking air or could use extra insulation can save a good amount of money when it comes to utility bills,” Riepe says. “My job is to come in and find ways you can save money, and then provide you with the information you need to make sure that your home is as energy efficient as it can be.”
Seeing the growth in popularity in regards to energy audits in the Columbia area, Riepe realized a need for full home inspections. “Homeowners and realtors need reasonable home inspections performed quickly and fully,” he says. Homebuyers, sellers, and owners look to Riepe to provide them with specific details of the home’s condition.
Riepe says he takes pride in being a leader in the local Home Performance with Energy Star program, run by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. The program works to help both businesses and individuals save money while focusing on energy efficiency. Starting in 1992 as a labeling program designed to identify energy-efficient products, Energy Star now promotes energy saving programs across the United States.
Riepe sees the opportunity for more growth and education in Columbia. He says, “When people think of energy efficiency, I want them to think of me, because of what I’ve done for them and people they know.”
Columbia Water and Light starts the energy audit program to provide homeowners with specific advice on energy usage.
The EPA starts the Energy Star program to recognize innovative energy practices.
Dan Riepe graduates from Northern Illinois University.
Riepe works for the MU Energy Management Department, piquing his interest in the green energy industry.
Riepe opens Home Performance Experts in Columbia.
Home Performance Experts becomes a member of the U.S. Department of Energy Century Club.