Our planet’s fragility has never been more apparent, and alternative energy presents a way for homeowners to reduce their energy costs and environmental impact. But is that the only way? San Diego-based Elor Energy works with manufacturers and homeowners to improve home energy efficiency, reducing costs and raising home value.
Founder and CEO Guy Motaey hopes his company will provide a strong alternative to solar panels which, despite tax breaks and technological advances, remain expensive for many homeowners.
Born and raised in Israel, Motaey has rich experience in home improvement and energy efficiency. Motaey gained this passion from his father, an experienced teacher. “He was always talking about renewable energy,” Motaey recalls. After leaving teaching, Motaey’s father started an oil company that involved gas stations and gasoline transport throughout Israel. And his father would always talk about renewable energy, saving the environment and creating a cleaner world; that’s where his passion came from.
Motaey got married to his high school girlfriend, Shimrit, after not seeing each other in 14 years. She is also passionate about remodeling. Shimrit finished her second degree in business and accounting and joined Elor in helping with day-to-day operations. They now have three children, two horses and two dogs living in Poway, CA.
Immigrating to the United States, Motaey brought along his father’s passion for energy efficiency. Starting “at the bottom of the bottom,” he honed his marketing and home improvement skills. Motaey started in Los Angeles in marketing, then moved up to the sales division and learned the ins and outs of the product. He rose through the ranks quickly, soon being approached by industry frontrunners such as Anlin Window Systems, Lifetime Plus Coatings of America and Owens Corning. “They were asking me if I would come back and become a private-label party with them, because they’d been having so many issues,” he recalls. Getting the private label was a huge accomplishment. Few companies have reached that relationship and the advantage of the homeowner going with a private-label company is what makes it so great.
The problem was that many of the contractors these suppliers had used were now out of business, “operating out of the back of a truck,” leaving customers with unfulfilled warranties. Customer confidence was falling, and something had to change. Motaey recognized a huge issue in the San Diego market, where 90 percent of contractors were going out of business within the first three to five years. Therefore, the passion for Elor arose.
Change of focus
To address this concern, Motaey founded Elor Energy.
He made a conscious decision not to focus on solar panels. In his view, “Everybody goes solar, solar, solar,” with many contractors who had focused on solar energy going out of business. Solar is key; however, if your roofing creates an oven in your attic, your windows and doors are leaking, and the exterior of your home is in jeopardy, solar would be the least of your concerns. The first impact is the structure of your home and to make sure the windows and doors, the exterior and the attic are at optimum efficiency – then you should focus on solar.” Further, he believes solar power is only one of the ways homeowners can lower energy bills, and there are some strong drawbacks. “Around the house, what do you need to be energy-efficient?” he asks. “Because believe it or not, most of the time it won’t be solar.”
He explains that, “In many cases, when we take care of the exterior of the home, we discover a different energy bill from the utility company, and we are able to gain a different bill and resize the solar system to a smaller size which gives the homeowner a huge savings on solar costs and more return on their investment.” In addition, changing these elements generates comfort, beauty and pride, security and safety, and increased property value.
Elor takes pride in helping homeowners lower their energy bills while simultaneously raising home values. To accomplish this, the company focuses on educating customers with home demonstrations to showcase product efficacy. Elor’s dedicated R&D team works with manufacturers to check the efficiency and value of every product before it enters the market.
“Our expert representatives go through a three-month process of learning the ins and outs of each product which makes us different than the average contractor. We are able to give the homeowner all the information needed to make an informed decision based on logic, rather than an emotional sale,” Motaey says. “We want them to make their decision based on knowledge, and not emotions.”
Catering for California
While researching its home market of southern California, Elor found many products were straining under the high temperature fluctuations between day and night. Investing over two years of research with close cooperation with manufacturers, Elor came up with a product line specifically suited to California’s unique environment.
The result is a company dedicated to providing customers with particularly efficient, long-lasting products. “We are not just a regular contractor that does windows, or exterior coating,” Motaey says. Through partnerships with its manufacturers, Elor has the advantage of providing lifetime warranties that guarantee peace of mind for customers. “You do it one time, and you never have to worry about it again. All our products come with a manufacturer backed up warranty. We have dedicated installers that focus on each product installation to guarantee the utmost satisfaction of the product.” Motaey strongly contrasts his way of business with the tendency of other contractors to go out of business and leave customers in the lurch.
“Our private label provides the homeowner with a unique protection of guaranteed service, with manufacturers that have been in business for over 30 years. Anyone can install windows, doors, coating, and roofing but the main thing is to have the manufacturer approve the installers and the workmanship. In addition, every project is inspected by the city and the manufacturer’s representative for quality assurance.”
Today, Elor offers a range of products to boost home energy efficiency, including doors, windows, roof shingles and its patented tankless water heater. Using innovative rapid-heating technology, this device can heat a 50-gallon tank of water in three minutes, while taking up much less space than traditional water heaters.
“I feel that it’s an unbelievable, amazing product,” Motaey says. “I literally have zero complaints from it.” He also feels that the product at this time remains sadly underutilized, but over the coming years homeowners will realize that, “the tankless water heater will be the next big thing.” You no longer have to have the water heater inside your garage. You can enjoy more space and safety. The new heater is one-third of the size and can be installed on the exterior of the home for a much neater appearance.
Another of Elor’s most popular and useful products is its signature TRUGUARD line of home coatings. Produced by Elor’s close collaborator, Lifetime Coatings of America (LCA), this home coating is 35 times thicker than regular paint and offers lifetime protection for home exteriors. “The average homeowner spends roughly 60 to 70 thousand dollars within 10 to 15 years to repaint their home repeatedly and provide termite protection, wood replacement and stucco repair. Our TRUGUARD is a true solution to California homes which provides mold and mildew protection, termite resistance, and waterproofing the entire home to give the exterior a fresh new look all year-round,” says Motaey. “Elor’s partnership with Lifetime Plus Coatings of America since 2006 creates a bond of success that delivers the highest quality of service, installation and quality of product.”
As a lighter-colored coating, TRUGUARD is also highly reflective, essential for minimizing thermal energy in sunny California. Waterproof but breathable, the coating enhances climate control while providing high durability. With minimal cracking or peeling, the coating is covered by Elor’s lifetime warranty. In addition, any dark color will have a pigment that makes the color believe it is white. White has the best reflectivity of any other color, therefore lowering the temperature of the house.
An environment of products
While TRUGUARD remains a popular item, Elor’s catalog of products can help homeowners lower ambient temperatures and therefore save energy costs. Elor’s reflective shingles, manufactured by Ohio-based Owens Corning, can lower attic temperatures by 40 percent. Owens Corning has been so successful that Elor Energy was ranked by OC as the #1 Platinum Dealer in the entire county. That achievement was after Elor purchased over $10 million of material throughout the years from OC and at the same time provided exclusive customer service with a product that not just replaced your old shingles, but at the same time released the hot air from the attic, letting it vent out through the Owens Corning Duration venting system. The shingles have become so successful that Owens Corning now lists Elor as a Platinum Supplier for its products. “I think using those products creates an energy-efficient environment,” says Motaey.
In addition, Elor nourishes its reputation for quality by not requiring any payment until a project is completed and the customer is satisfied. “Once the job is done and you’re happy with what we did, you pay,” he explains. He believes this further cements Elor’s status in the minds of its customers as a quality contractor, thereby ensuring lifelong customer retention.
As a home improvement company, Elor benefits from Motaey’s long experience in the industry. “After 14 years of experience, I learned what to do and what not to do.” Under his leadership, the company hopes to earn lifelong customers through its professionalism, high-quality products and warranties. And by tightly managing the installation and contracting in-house, Elor completes home contracting projects efficiently and affordably. Further, all installers have years of experience and certification through product manufacturers, ensuring quality contracting backed by Elor’s lifetime warranties.
Staying with what works
While it may be tempting for Elor to move into home development as well as improvement, Motaey doesn’t want Elor to be distracted from its main goal of assisting homeowners and developing loyal, lifelong customers. He estimates that 13 percent of Elor’s business in 2018 went toward home construction, with the remainder going to home improvement. This reflects a downward trend in San Diego’s housing market, which Motaey describes as “not strong at present” as developers move inland to other areas.
Elor’s success comes in the face of a rising push for solar energy. In May 2018, California’s state legislature passed a law requiring all new homes to have some form of solar energy by 2020. To spur this, California currently has a 30 percent tax credit on solar panels, which Motaey urges homeowners to grab now as the credit can’t last forever. “I want to urge as many people as possible to take advantage of this magnificent saving,” he said.
Bringing home efficiency
Nevertheless, Motaey is concerned about the current quality of solar panels. With many cells and components imported from China and Ukraine, he believes that “the product isn’t going to last the 25 years that the warranty claims.” Further, he says the panels currently available do not have the durability to withstand California’s bright and hot environment, at least not for long. “Standing in the sun, you’re going to have a huge issue.” This further explains why Elor has been focusing more on energy efficiency than alternative energy sources.
Elor also offers a private label for SolarEdge Industries, an inverter that provides complete control of your solar system, built-in optimizers to control each panel, a straight connection to an RV or Smart Car, and is made in the USA.
Added to this, as home interest rates increase in Elor’s home of San Diego County, homeowner renovation budgets are shrinking. “Financing is always a challenge,” Motaey shares, describing how Elor is now working with homeowners and financial institutions to ensure homeowners can improve their homes without breaking the bank. Many of the financing programs provide an 18-month, 0 percent interest option. There are also options for some of the PACE companies which allow you to incorporate the payment into your property tax and prolong the loan up to 20 years.
This comes on the heels of rising utility costs in San Diego, as utility providers see decreasing revenues from lower energy bills and are raising their rates to compensate. Motaey believes that, as home energy efficiency improves because of companies like Elor, utility costs will significantly rise in response. “I feel that in the next two years, you’re going to have an increase of 20 to 30 percent.”
California, here we come
Despite these challenges, Elor has shown consistent growth with no signs of flagging. As Elor expands, Motaey envisions opening new locations outside San Diego, between Temecula and Orange County. He is also aiming for an additional six to seven locations in southern California, with the clear goal of being the primary energy efficiency contractor in the area.
“Our main dream is ‘all the way from San Francisco to San Diego.’ We want to control that whole area, so if anybody in southern California wants an energy-efficient product, Elor will be the name.” Motaey also adds that Elor’s main dedication is to its homeowners and to provide exceptional customer service. “In some cases,” he says, “just because of a misunderstanding or unsatisfied customer, we will redo the entire job at no cost to the customer. We strive to provide exceptional service and to be here for many years to come.”
As a valued customer, Maria from El Cajon, California says, “We were thinking of going solar, but after Elor presented all the options, we went with the Exterior Coating TRUGUARD and the roofing system instead. I can’t explain the difference in our home temperature; [the] best way to describe it is it feels like there’s A/C working on a hot day.”