Michigan Saves decided to add a competitive edge to energy efficiency by rewarding its high-performing contractors.

In July 2014, the nonprofit rolled out its Beer, Wings and Cash competition, which ran through December 31, 2015. Any contractor that completed 24 loans or more was eligible for a beer and wings party. The top three contractors with the highest loan values got the payout. As a result of the promotion’s success, the Michigan Saves team plans to host another competition in 2015.

The three companies that won the cash were American Metal Roofs ($2,000), SIR Home Improvement ($1,000), and Applegate Home Comfort ($500). The four companies that won the beer and wings party were American Metal Roofs, SIR Home Improvement, Randazzo Heating and Cooling and Dr. Energy Saver.

“Most homeowners, myself included, have no idea of the complexity it takes to actually have a complete energy retrofit,” said Bill Van Huis, general manager for Dr. Energy Saver. “[Michigan Saves] makes energy upgrades, which are fairly expensive, very affordable to many more homeowners.”

Van Huis said the beer and wings party was an opportunity to give the Dr. Energy Saver crews some well-deserved recognition for what they do.

“The crews that are out working on these homes… they’re doing the heavy lifting. They’re doing all the work in terms of air sealing, duct sealing, insulation. The reward is that they have a career, but they don’t get recognized for a lot of what they do when the job is over, especially externally. So when Michigan Saves put a contest together, we were pumped.”

The crews not only get recognized, but the party was also an opportunity for Dr. Energy Saver employees to deepen their relationship with Michigan Saves.

“The party was nice because we got to interact with a wide range of people,” said Michigan Saves Project Assistant Kaitlyn Wyckoff. “We don’t usually get to talk to the techs and they were all there. It was great to mingle with everybody. There were a lot of good questions brought up by the techs and this gave us a chance to answer them.”

Though the cash would have been great, Van Huis said the party’s networking opportunity turned out to be an invaluable reward for Dr. Energy Saver.

“We were shooting for the cash, but I’m not sure the cash receivers are getting the better end of the deal,” Van Huis said. “You had to be there. It was cool to have everyone together, but frankly, from a straight business point, it was good for Michigan Saves and it was good for Dr. Energy Saver.”