Cart Before the Horse

Cart Before the Horse

Cart before the horse


We’ve all heard the expression the “CART BEFORE THE HORSE.” It’s an idiom used to suggest something is done contrary to the way it should be done, should have been done, or with the wrong emphasis.

Using this phrase in relation to “Energy Efficiency and Solar” solutions is a very relative topic and is addressed daily as we consult with our clients and our own representatives.

Whenever I am conversing with people about their energy issues and educating them on the solutions that we provide, by default they immediately refer to renewable energy, wind, batteries, solar, etc. Of those items, the most expensive is the Solar option. While there is most definitely a significant need for renewable energy such as solar, it most definitely needs to be placed “BEHIND THE HORSE!”

Purchasing solar for a house that is “energy-inefficient” is… putting the “CART BEFORE THE HORSE.” It would be the epitome of throwing dollars out of your vehicle window while driving down the road. It makes little sense to add solar panels to a home that has clapped out air ducts, poor insulation, no ventilation, a passive attic environment, unbalanced attic air and exhaust flow, 50-year-old windows, and/or other inefficient problems. Putting energy efficiency before solar, on the other hand, makes a whole lot more sense.  

Typical home energy improvements need to be implemented before the plunge into solar, and there are a few steps that can be taken to make your home or business more efficient first. Examples are:

  • Stop using some of the devices or units that are drawing substantial power
  • Limit the daily use of units or items
  • Find less expensive alternatives for the power consuming items that you have
  • Ventilate your attic space properly and balanced
  •  Insulate your attic space with the proper solution(s)
  • Create a positive/passive environment by way of exhaust fans that are solar powered 
  • Replace existing light bulbs (where most of the energy used turns into heat rather than light) with LED bulbs
  • Upgrade your heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems
  • Replace your old refrigerator and freezer with new, high-efficiency models (either energy-efficient or propane)
  • Replace high energy consumption loads (high-wattage electric stoves, clothes dryers, water heaters, heating appliances)
  • Make an external and/or an internal isolation of your home
  • Utilize your large electrical loads (pool pumps, electrical mills, etc.) during off-peak hours
  • Install solar water heaters and summer shading
  • Utilize devices with timers and other home automation systems
  • If you live in the U.S., when shopping for electrical appliances, look for devices labeled with Energy Star® labels


ACES provides many solutions and improvements with examples like sealing air leaks around floors, walls, ceilings, windows, doors, and fireplaces, to spray foam, and weather stripping, amongst many other things we do and offer. The energy savings from reducing drafts in a home alone, not including your attic, can range from 5% to 30%+ per year, and the home is much more comfortable and healthier afterward. What I have experienced is that 99% of the time, and I don’t use that number lightly, the energy efficiency solutions and repairs are less expensive, but most importantly necessary before adding solar. 

create EEcreate They are also necessary for comfort, as well as the obvious fiscal benefits. Upon completing energy efficiency upgrades and repairs for our clients, across the board our clients experience an average savings of 30%, with some clients exceeding 40% or more! What does this mean? This means that instead of a solar system that offsets 100% of your power needs, you now would only need to purchase a system that offsets 70% of your needs. The energy efficiency upgrades and repairs will account for the 30% balance. AND… you now get to enjoy the comfort and health benefits on top of the pocket-book! 

The Energy Efficiency Before Solar Solution 

So let’s be honest with ourselves and just look at this subject from an elementary perspective. Energy efficiency before solar just makes sense simply because saving energy is less expensive than producing it. By improving energy efficiency the cost of the photovoltaic (solar) system you are going to install will be reduced. The more energy you need, the more energy has to be generated. This again means that to meet your daily electricity needs, you have to buy a system that is sufficient enough to offset what you need. So putting the comfort and health benefits aside for a moment, we must not forget about the fiscal benefits of energy efficiency and solar. They are definitely attractive!, but the cart needs to remain “BEHIND THE HORSE”.

The “CART BEFORE THE HORSE” concept is imperative to reverse or realign correctly so that your R.O.I. is quicker and so that it makes the most sense. While the amount of savings varies by state, even a small reduction in dependency on traditional energy sources can indeed have a profound impact on a household budget, especially over time. Many homeowners find that the benefits from solar far outweigh the initial costs, combined with the cost of installation continuing to drop each year as well.

For our eco-conscious homeowners/clients, we know that they rely on a number of materials, installation techniques, and appliances that can help, but the one thing that has been increasing in popularity as it decreases in price is indeed solar. The single most significant problem that I see on a regular basis is that solar has to be, and must be, “Post Efficiency Solutions/Repairs and Upgrades”. That doesn’t mean that if you have solar already that you’re toast! Efficiency solutions should still be implemented with no hesitation. The point that I am driving home is that the ball is in your court if you haven’t installed solar yet! You’ll end up with less solar on your home and the same fiscal benefits, not to forget all of the comfort and health benefits.

Your Invitation to Energy Efficiency: 

Do it the right way and accomplish your goals! If you already have solar, you still have the option to place the cart “BEHIND THE HORSE”, and improve the efficiency of your home! Your ROI will be longer but it still makes sense. If you don’t have solar yet, experience a quicker and more cost effective outcome and put the cart “BEHIND THE HORSE” starting from day one. Placing the cart “BEHIND THE HORSE”, making your home as efficient as possible first, allows you to experience increased savings, a quicker ROI, a healthier home, and a more comfortable home! This is indeed the way forward! 


What are you waiting for?

LEDs–An Easy Way To Improve The Bottom Line For Businesses

LEDs–An Easy Way To Improve The Bottom Line For Businesses

You may have noticed a change slowly creeping over the City of St. George for the past few years.

One by one, the yellowish cast of high-pressure sodium street lights has been replaced by a clean, white glow beaming down from the new light-emitting diode, or LED light fixtures installed city employees.

If the switch has happened in your neighborhood, the first thing that probably jumped out at you was a significant change in color temperature and what felt like much brighter light beaming through your front windows at night.
After a few days of acclimation, however, they seem almost as natural as walking under the light of a full moon.
“They’re more of a moonlight type light that is softer on the eyes and provides better night vision,” said Laurie Mangum, director of the Energy Services Department for the City of St. George, according to an article in the Spectrum, dating back to 2015, when the city first began the project.

Of course, drivers navigating the city streets with better night vision improves the safety of the citizens of St. George, but that’s not the only reason the city made the change.

The biggest benefit is in the energy savings LEDs can provide.

LED bulbs last longer and use up to 50 percent less energy than the old sodium street lamps they’re replacing, and municipalities across the country have been converting to LED to realize the cost savings.

At the time, the city had recently had an analysis performed on all its systems which indicated some $4 million could be saved over the next 15 years with efficiency upgrades to lighting, plumping, control systems and other items.

While the street lighting project wasn’t included in those numbers, city officials determined the cost savings of the street light project was significant enough to pursue on its own.

“It’s more than just a feel-good project,” Marc Mortensen, assistant to the city manager, said, according to the Spectrum. “It’s actually something that will have a substantial payback and benefit all of us.”

Municipalities aren’t the only entities realizing the savings of switching to LED lighting.

A number of Southern Utah business owners are drastically lowering their power bills with this new technology as well.

“We’re resurfacing our entire parking lot at St. George Shuttle and brighter LED lighting seemed like a natural addition to that project,” said CJ Wade, the owner of St. George Shuttle.

On top of that, we’re further reducing our carbon footprint and the biggest bonus is the benefit to our bottom line. The proposal we looked at from ACES LED showed a huge potential for savings – a fantastic return on our investment – and we’re excited to see that first power bill after the project is finished.”

ACES Companies, a Utah-based company offering energy efficiency, solar and LED products, has been helping businesses throughout the state realize significant savings from converting to LED lighting. 

“Switching to LED makes so much sense for almost every business,” said Ty Haguewood, the President of the LED division at ACES Companies.

“When we show our clients the numbers, even on a fully financed project, they almost always come out ahead every month, right from the start. When your business is going to be saving a couple hundred dollars on power every month, and paying a fraction of that for the install, it’s a no-brainer.”

“The reduction to their carbon footprint and better quality lighting in their buildings that will improve the productivity of their employees, those benefits are just gravy on top,” Haguewood added. “Once a business owner sees just how quickly they can get a return with LED lights, they’re always eager to make the switch as quickly as we can get them installed.”

To schedule a walk through and get a free proposal for switching your business to LED lighting call Ty Haguewood with ACES Companies at (435) 232-2821, or visit the ACES Companies website at