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EBP Talks Weatherization with ROI's Zack Johnson

The NMCAA Weatherization Program works hand-in-hand with qualified auditors like Zack Johnson of ROI Weatherization, to categorize and diagnose energy loss within the home. Eco-Building Products and Johnson recently discussed a family tradition of ecological care, the integral role the NMCAA plays in filling weatherization needs in northern Michigan, as well as Johnson’s company ROI Weatherization, which is available to service local homes and businesses in their energy auditing and contracting needs.

EBP: Tell us a little bit about yourself. How long have you been in the weatherization business?

ZJ: My name is Zachariah Johnson. I’ve been in the field of weatherization for about fifteen years now, not including a time of service in the US Coast Guard and some traveling of the country. I come from a family of hard-working middle class parents that had environmental and social causes in mind when raising my sister and I.

My mother is an art teacher in the Manistee school district and co-founder of the environmental organization AFFEW (A Few Friends for the Environment of the World). My father has owned a successful weatherization company in the southwest Michigan area for around 25 years and is the one who trained me in this niche business since I was 15 years old. My sister is also a weatherization inspector that works closely with the Southern Michigan Community Action Agency performing weatherization inspections/energy audits for low-income clientele.

EBP: How long have you been contracted with the NMCAA Weatherization program, and what has the experience been like?

ZJ: I’ve been working with NMCAA since early 2009, but have kept in contact, staying on their radar since 2003. I have only great praise for the folks that work inside the Weatherization program, from the office personnel to the field crews. I have two contracts as a weatherization inspector for the state working with both the NMCAA and SMCAA and can say that both agencies run tight ships, and rightly so as their goals are lofty and difficult to achieve.

EBP: What do you think is the significance of Weatherization assistance programs like these?

ZJ: I’ve seen first-hand the tremendous benefits of these programs. For instance, on average, after weatherizing a home, energy consumption goes down 15-44%. Calculating that with just above poverty level incomes of $1000-$2000 a month, and say those folks were paying $350 a month in winter for heat, then after work is completed they save on the high side of $150 each month. That translates to better food for the family, health care coverage or whatever is needed that was just out of reach before.

EBP: What are some common weatherization problems present in northern Michigan homes?

ZJ: As far as things I see on a daily basis doing inspections, I’d say a lack of insulation, air infiltration (leaks) and inefficient heating and cooling equipment rank near the top. I’d say 90% of the houses I inspect are in need of weatherization measures to some extent. When I look at a house I need to determine what it’s thermal envelope is and see if that envelope is sealed and insulated properly. If it isn’t, we find the most cost-effective way to remedy it.

EBP: What sets ROI Weatherization apart as people seek resolutions to their energy loss problems?

ZJ: ROI Weatherization is passionate and goal-oriented about reducing energy use, one home at a time. We work within all budgets to help achieve that goal. We use state of the art technology, coupled with advanced training, many years in the field and an ability to understand your home or commercial building to reduce your energy needs.

For more information on how you can begin the weatherization process for yourself or your business, or to contact Zack directly, visit