Skip to main content


Best Practice Hamburger Helper

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant One Comment
The phrase that always has me reaching for a complimentary bag that can be found in the seat pocket in front of you on an airplane is “Best Practice”.  Are you following “best practice”?  Are you familiar with “best practice”?  Will you use “best practice”?  No. No. And no. Define best practice, anyway. What does it mean?  It’s something someone with many letters in their title block, who was paid a princely fee to declare, “This is the way it ought to be done”. Let’s examine a few deep thoughts on this concept. “Best practice” infers this is the best…
Read More

Integrity Police

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Government, Utility Stuff No Comments
There are a number of things any respectable consulting firm simply does not allow – because there is no good, reasonable, defensible, or Hail Mary excuse.  For example, there are proposal deadlines or interviews with contract selection committees for big projects.  As long as there is reasonable time to prepare a proposal there is no excuse to ask for an extension or plead forgiveness for an inept, disheveled pile of dung.  Reasonable preparatory time for a straight forward project not requiring subs might be four weeks.  A more substantial project in the $1-2 million range requiring subs should get six…
Read More

Stalin Lives

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant One Comment
Various areas of the country have various weird oddities.  When we moved to the La Crosse area last decade, or the one before that, we found that apartments come with laundry hookups but no washer and dryer.  What the?  How about a friggin wash machine and dryer to fill that hole and plug into those pipes and wall socket?  So we went to a now defunct appliance joint and picked up an Amana washer and dryer – electric of course because a rental joint isn’t going to provide natural gas. I think I’ve finally talked my wife into getting the…
Read More

RFPs from the Edge

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Government, Stimulus One Comment
Last month, the one session I attended at the AESP national conference was how to write a better request for proposal (RFP).  It was sort of a forum led by our friends at Tetra Tech.  Essentially, it was full of people like me, for whom a major responsibility is business development and marketing – responding to RFPs.  For a while I sat there like a lump, thinking, eh, just deal with it and quit whining.  Toward the end of the session I started getting fired up. Here are some guidelines for writing RFPs: If you’ve already decided who you are…
Read More

You Are SO Fired

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant No Comments
As a sub-consultant or as a prime contractor we must do about 25 “major” proposals per year.  By “major” I mean there is a formal request for proposals (RFP), sometimes there is an “intent to bid” form to submit, formal question submittals to the buyer, formal distribution of all questions and answers to all bidders, and then bids are due.  All questions from all bidders and their answers are provided to all bidders to help maintain a level playing field. I think I/we have only asked questions when there are contradictions within the RFP.  For example, the due date is…
Read More

Tax Deduction Pennies

By Energy Rant, Tax Stuff No Comments
Recently, we received our umpteenth “request for proposal” (RFP) to provide the engineering required to capture the elusive $1.80 tax deduction on new or remodeled buildings.  We spend a lot of time, money and effort to drive business through our doors but I’m not sure I want to see another one of these. Like the rest of the universally incomprehensible tax code, the engineering piece of this is relatively complex.  If we did this all the time, it wouldn’t be a problem.  But it seems we get the next RFP just as the rules are overwritten in my long-term memory…
Read More