Company helps businesses and families use less fossil fuel
by: VINCE CULP Steve Carpentier of Energy Unlimited in Sandy is pictured installing a complete solar-energy generating system for a business — producing electrical energy that connects to the grid.

Perhaps finding a niche and focusing a business on those selected products and services is the way to succeed in business.

That's what Steve Carpentier and Vince Culp of Energy Unlimited in Sandy have done, and they are successful - even though the business has been open in Sandy for just more than a year.

Recently, a committee of the Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce selected Energy Unlimited as the best new business of 2011.

The business will be formally recognized at a chamber gathering Aug. 10 in Meinig Park.

Culp said it is the economy that has driven their business - the fact that renewable energy can be less costly, better for the environment and more efficient.

'In this economy,' he said, 'everyone's looking to save money and have a positive impact on the environment. And that's the overall desire of our company.'

The products and services that Culp and Carpentier offer at Energy Unlimited reduce the amount of energy a family or business uses, therefore reducing the cost. They also sell and install products that make use of alternative forms of energy such as solar and wind.

Energy use is reduced by locating and sealing any leaks in the outer shell of a building. That is achieved by changing to more efficient windows, adding insulation and sealing air leaks.

Then they suggest what choices are available for renewable forms of energy - to reduce the use of fossil fuels.

'It's a lot easier and more affordable to save energy than it is to produce it,' Carpentier said.

Energy Unlimited does a lot more than just sell solar panels, which is a commonly-held myth. For example, catching rainwater and saving it for future use is one way to reduce one's carbon footprint because water companies use less electricity if less water is used, and electricity is often produced using diesel fuel during peak-use hours.

Another factor driving their business, Carpentier says, is the fact some government agencies are giving tax incentives to install energy-saving appliances or to generate alternative forms of energy.

'The bonus packages offered through Energy Trust,' he said, 'makes people more receptive to (our services) and often bring down the cost of an energy retrofit so much that it really helps.'

In summary, Energy Unlimited offers a package of materials and services, something like a consultant, first to make a building as efficient as possible with its use of heat, and then to find ways of using forms of energy that are easy on the environment such as solar or wind or hydro power.

Culp and Carpentier and some of their six employees are qualified to do retrofits and install efficient products after completing several certification programs and maintaining updates.

In their business, Carpentier and Culp make use of as many local products and services as possible, but always shop for Oregon-made products when they are not available in Sandy.

Their customers are from Oregon, but outside of the Sandy area they mainly include residents or businesses in the metro area, Salem, Bend and a few on the coast.

Energy Unlimited is located at 38888 Pioneer Blvd., and is open Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. For information, call 503-668-6864.

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