While snake oil salesmen (Professor Harold Hill and Charles Ponzi) have all been heralded as untrustworthy, it can be difficult at times to spot them. However, when a vendor or consultant starts to take a page from swindler’s list, buyers beware.
- Pushing equipment (instead of savings) – When a vendor, or consultant, is being a bit too pushy about their products or services, something’s amiss. Especially if they’re just focusing on selling something, anything, to meet their quota. A good salesman shouldn’t have to drive their product down a client’s throat. Rather, they should give the client just enough information and accompanying benefits that the client grows hungry to know more. Be enticed, rather than bludgeoned.
- The “awe” factor – With Black Friday sales still lingering in the air, it’s easy to understand how people get caught in the awe factor of a product instead of its actual benefits. While bells, whistles, whirligigs, and blinking lights catch a lot of attention, are they really needed? Not all motors need VFD’s; not all dust collection units need interlocks; not all buildings need destratification fans; and not all ventilation units need complex programming with high-tech control software. Sometimes basic is better.
- The black box – The infamous black box is a mysterious object that can do amazing things, just don’t ask how. When a vendor can’t explain how a piece of equipment works, but explains how much it will benefit a client’s process, be leery. Or if a consultant promises energy savings by implementing a series of measures, but can’t explain how the savings are generated, be wary. Stay away from the black box.
The Cold Truth
With energy efficiency, the cold, hard truth of the matter is – most energy savings aren’t sexy. They don’t always come with new equipment and chrome paneling. A lot of times, energy management improvements with a lot of savings potential are as simple as reprogramming controls or opening throttle valves and reducing pump speed. That isn’t to say new equipment and complex control sequences aren’t needed, but having a reliable service provider a client trusts is better.
 Music Man reference
 The man why we refer to something as a “Ponzi scheme”