Issue 1 » Progressive Insulation & Windows
“At the end of each day I go home pretty satisfied that we’re a company of integrity and that we will always do the right thing!”
– Steve Anderson, Owner Progressive Insulation & Windows
When the catastrophic Porter Ranch Gas leak occurred, The Southern California Gas Company called Steve Anderson, owner of Progressive Insulation & Windows, to weatherize 2,400 homes. They knew Progressive understood how to insulate homes creating the Thermal Envelope making an energy-efficient, healthy home.
We sat down with Steve and learned a wealth of information that every homeowner should know about energy efficiency in their home and discovered a very unique story of a hard-working American family.
In The Beginning
3W: Steve, over the past 40 years you’ve installed windows and insulation in over 100,000 homes and commercial buildings throughout Southern California. Over 80% of your business comes from repeat and referral customers, and you have a customer satisfaction rating of 99%. That’s really impressive. As a business owner can you share your wisdom on creating and keeping this high level of performance?
Steve: Well, the wisdom comes from my father. He started in the insulation business in 1953, the year I was born. Little did my two brothers and I know that we would eventually work together in that same industry. It was a fabulous experience until they unfortunately passed away in 2005 and 2008. My brothers, Mike
and Gary were the best big brothers in the world. It was great working together while sharing the same commitment to excellence and integrity that our father handed down to us.
3W: What was it like working for your dad?
Steve: Dad did his homework early and knew that the “Best Insulation” is “Properly Installed Insulation.” At the time, insulation installers were paid “piece-work.” My father paid his installers by the hour to ensure the insulation was installed properly. That stuck with me and we’ve kept that tradition for decades with all of the products we carry today.
3W: What did you learn about running a business from your father and why do you continue your family business?
Steve: I learned, like the rest of our employees, about satisfaction and pride of doing a good job. It was my father who coined the phrase, “Most insulators sell insulation, we insulate homes.” It feels good to serve your customer with integrity, honesty and mutual respect. I feel compelled to carry on my father’s tradition of running a business with integrity in all that we do.
“We want to help your family make a good buying decision.”
3W: We got the chance to talk with one of your customers. They were absolutely thrilled with the honesty of the sales consultant and your crew’s performance of their window replacement and insulation installment and getting the rebate dollars. They told us they’re saving hundreds of dollars on their utility bills now.
Steve: That’s great to hear from satisfied customers. An energy-efficient home is also a healthy home and that’s why we do it. We want to make your family home an energy-efficient healthy home and help you take advantage of the rebate program to help you offset the cost.
3W: You’ve recently hired your son, Alexander, a business graduate from Pepperdine University. So, you’re in your third generation in the family business.
Steve: Yes, Alexander has been an integral part of our new process since he came on board. He is organizing operations for us. It feels good to be part of a third generation family business that has been helping families.
3W: That is a great story. So now let’s hear from the third generation. Alexander, what is it like working with your father?
Alexander: It’s good, I like it. I’ve been puttering around this place since I was 13; doing filing, odd jobs, etc. While I was in high school I helped us get involved in the Energy Upgrade California Program. Then I went to Pepperdine, graduated, and now I’m here again involved in all aspects of our company.
Steve: Alexander is a key player in organizing operations within our company and he played a major role implementing procedures allowing us to effectively service those 2,400 homes in Porter Ranch.
The Thermal Envelope
3W: Steve, what is this Thermal Envelope in our homes?
Steve: The Thermal Envelope is comprised of your ceilings walls, floors, windows and doors around your home that need to be properly installed and insulated for keeping warm air in during the winter and cool air in during the summer.
3W: So, how should a home circulate air keeping the family warm or cool and staying healthy.
Steve: Your home has to mechanically exchange the air through the HVAC system rather than from pulling it from the attic or dirty outside air and wasting energy. The doors and windows and insulation in your walls, and ceilings are a major component. Like with a car you look at the miles per gallon, today we look at the efficiency of the home.
3W: Are windows a factor in the Thermal Envelope either replacing them or modifying the home for larger windows.
Steve: Yes. We only use the finest materials so our customers will always get the best windows for their money, but its more than just the quality of the windows, it’s the craftsmanship of how you install the windows as well. We need to make sure we maintain the integrity of the Thermal Envelope. When we recommend certain windows and install them, we constantly focus on satisfying the customer’s needs while keeping their home energy efficient and healthy.
3W: A lot of families have music rooms or home theatres; the kids are practicing piano, dads like to binge watch their favorite movies full volume. How do we insulate these rooms with doors, or glass doors and insulate the walls so the rest of the family doesn’t go crazy?
Steve: Sound travels in two ways; waves and vibration. It’s like water. If I can build a room like a submarine, then it’s going to be quiet. For blocking sound from windows, we can use triple-pane windows or offset glazing, which are two different thicknesses, causing sound waves to move through the different densities and disperse, making it quieter. What we’ve learned from windows we can apply to insulating the walls in a similar way by installing different thicknesses and densities of insulation within the walls.
3W: When homeowners call you what is your first priority with them?
Steve: We tell them that we need to earn the right to be trusted and be their consultant and help them make a good buying decision. Then we follow through with our promise. The goal of our sales consultants is to understand the customer’s needs. Then we clearly define the scope of the work. There are many pieces and processes involved: windows, doors and insulation, so our internal departments must communicate with each other and the homeowner.
3W: What are the rebate programs?
Steve: I sat on the Public Utility Commission (CPUC) and local utility companies that developed the rebate program we have today. That became Energy Upgrade California. The CPUC announced in 2007 that by 2020 all new homes must be Energy Neutral by using advanced insulation systems and solar energy which bring us back to the Thermal Envelope. For the existing housing stock, they designed the Energy Upgrade California Program.
3W: And that is the program everyone is taking advantage of. What is the largest amount of rebates you’ve seen in this program for the homeowners?
Steve: We’ve designed solutions earning rebates up to and over $11,000.
“A Guarantee is only as good as the company behind it.”
3W: That is a huge rebate. Will making our homes energy efficient help with resale value?
Steve: It will increase your resale value of your home – I’ve seen up to 9%. When you think about resell value of your home today vs. in 2020, if you did not take advantage of these energy-efficiency programs, but your neighbor did, your house may sit on the market while his house may sell right away and for top dollar because his home is less expensive to operate.
Rebate Program Is Going Away soon!
3W: Going into 2017 what do homeowners need to know about these energy- efficient programs?
Steve: They might lose their opportunity. The rebate program will be phased out by design – because it’s only funded until the year 2020. But they are running out of money to fund this program so homeowners need to take advantage of this now.
3W: Do you mean that if we don’t take advantage of these rebate programs now we will lose the opportunity and have to pay for it anyway out of our own pocket?
Steve: Yes, because when the rebate incentives go away the market will still demand energy-efficient homes so eventually everyone will have to get on board and make their homes energy efficient.
3W: So, why not just do it now because the utility companies will help you pay for it now, rather than pay for it out of your own pocket years from now.
Alexander: I do recommend making your home energy efficient now because it makes your home healthy, saves on your utility bills, the utility companies help pay for it and adds to your resale value.
3W: Does Progressive Insulation & Windows offer a guarantee for all their services including those involved in the Energy Upgrade California program.
Alexander: Our guarantee is that all of our services are backed by a One-call Warranty. If you have a problem with a product or with some aspect of our work, we’ll make it right the first time you call. A guarantee is only as good as the company behind it so, with almost 40 years behind us, ours is a guarantee you can trust!
3W: After talking with you that is easy to believe. Steve, what is a great day on the job? Where do you draw your inspiration from to lead your company with integrity?
Steve: Well, I draw inspiration from the Lord and the teachings of the Bible where we get our values and our ethics. It’s all in the Good Book. A great day comes in many forms, but I love mentoring people, working with them side by side, sharing my beliefs at the appropriate time and when they come back to me years later and tell me they remember what I told them, that’s a great day!
At the end of each day I go home pretty satisfied that we’re a company of integrity and that we will always do the right thing!
All of our services are backed by a One-call Warranty. If you have a problem with a product or with some aspect of our work, we’ll make it right the first time you call. A guarantee is only as good as the company behind it so, with almost 40 years behind us, ours is a guarantee you can trust!
Progressive Insulation & Windows
9750 Topanga Canyon Blvd.
Chatsworth, CA 91311
Toll-free: (800) 500-6200