Todd Abercrombie, 41, of Peoria, who owns his own business, has a running joke he tells people.
The more advice he gives people about energy efficiency in homes, the less they will need his services.
"It's kind of a joke. As I spread the word, if you follow my advice, the greater the likelihood you won't see me in the future," Abercrombie said.
Abercrombie is president of EverGreen Home Energy Consultants Inc. in Peoria. He has been an energy consultant for the past two-and-a-half years, using diagnostic equipment to perform energy audits for homeowners, builders, contractors and heating and cooling businesses.
"I spend about six to eight hours in a home running all of the energy audits," he said.
He is taking his advice on the road through a series of seminars at area libraries. His next seminar is from 6-7:30 p.m. Jan. 7 at Washington District Library, 380 N. Wilmor Road. He will also hold programs at 6:30-8 p.m. Jan. 14 at the Fondulac District Library, 400 S. Richland St., East Peoria. Seating is limited. RSVP the library at 699-3917. Another seminar will be from 10:30 a.m.-noon Jan. 18 at the Peoria Public Library North Branch, 3001 W. Grand Parkway.
The free seminars will offer information about what makes an energy efficient home; what features to consider with insulation, heating and cooling equipment, structural, water heating, lighting and appliances; and how the energy codes have changed.
Abercrombie said he has done seminars in the past on healthy homes and do-it-yourself energy audits, but this is his first seminar on building a new energy-efficient home.
Bob Jorgensen, a member of the East Peoria Green Team, said now is the perfect time for people who are rebuilding after the Nov. 17 tornado to attend this seminar.
"It will give homeowners who are going to rebuild a chance to learn of some techniques, steps, materials they should be asking their contractors to use when their homes are repaired or rebuilt. It is all about saving energy for these many people. Now is the perfect time for these people to find out some information on making their homes more efficient," Jorgensen said.
Abercrombie said there will be a lot of building in central Illinois over the next couple of years after more than 1,000 homes were destroyed by the EF-4 tornado Nov. 17.
Page 2 of 2 - "I decided that homeowners needed some good information when they start to rebuild," he said.
Guest speakers from Ameren Act On Energy and the U.S. Green Building Council will provide information at the free program as well.
"We will also talk about options building beyond code as well. When you build a house there's certain codes you have to follow ... there's also energy codes. Every builder has to meet codes for minimum standards for construction," Abercrombie said.
One example of going beyond building codes, Abercrombie said, would be to get the home as well insulated as possible.
"In my opinion we can do better than just building to code," he said. "If we're building as code as it is today, it's going to be a pretty nice home as it is. There's more that we can do to the home."
Some of the extras homeowners can pay attention to when building a new home that will help with energy efficiency, Abercrombie said, are the orientation or direction the building is facing, the number of windows being installed and the number of deciduous trees being placed around the house.
"When you're building a new home, you don't have to go with just your typical wood frame construction," Abercrombie said. "You can go with ICF (insulated concrete forms). Basically what you have is concrete walls all the way up and it's surrounded by insulation. ... It's not guaranteed to survive a tornado, but it's going to do better than a typical wood frame construction."
There are also SIPs, or Structural Insulated Panels, which Abercrombie described as a method of building walls with insulation sandwiched between plywood or orient strand board, an engineered wood that is more structurally sound than a typical piece of plywood.
"Both go together very quickly and both are competitive with wood frame construction," Abercrombie said.
Abercrombie urges people to attend his seminars because he said, "As an independent consultant I can give them unbiased advice. I am not there to sell them anything. I just want them to have as much information as possible because the best time to implement energy efficiency is during the design and construction stages."