Solar PV Grant For Irish Homes Welcomed

Solar PV Grant With Activ8 Solar Energies & SSE Airtricity

It’s with great pleasure that we welcome the grant announced today by the SEAI. As one of the leading advocates of solar PV in Ireland we have seen many false dawns in previous years. We have sat on many boards discussing the benefits and possible pitfalls of introducing an incentive, as well as speaking at solar events sharing our experience in other markets and countries. Upon Minister Naughten’s announcement earlier this year, the hope was this would not be a false dawn, and as we worked as advisors to the SEAI on the format of the grant, it’s great to see the hard work pay off today.

In brief the grant will work as follows:

Without Battery (Max €1,400)
€700 per kWp up to and capped at 2kWp

With Battery (Max €3,800)
€700 per kWp up to and capped at 4kWp Solar
+
€1000 for battery once sized greater than 2kWhrs

Conditions:

- Buildings built and occupied before 2011
- Post-works BER required
- PV works must be installed after July 31st 2018
- Systems must be grid tied
- Grant is a one-off payment
- 2-year pilot scheme reviewed every 6 months

This theme is all about self-consumption and practicality. Regarding self-consumption, we have found that 2kWp systems can achieve approximately 80% usage of all energy generated, brought close to 100% with battery storage or hot water diverts. By encouraging self-consumption, it means the best value is being obtained by the customer. Regarding practicality, there are schemes around the world still being administered and staffed long after the scheme has closed, hence we welcome the upfront one-off grant payment. This allows for the quick implementation of the scheme and eliminates the grandfather costs when the pilot ends.

We would like to commend the SEAI on their speedy response to Minister Naughten’s call to action. These schemes take a lot of planning and forethought, and the expedited manner in which the members of the SEAI brought this pilot about is a credit to them as an organisation.

Finally, we would like to give credit to our partners at SSE Airtricity for their foresight in all things renewable. SSE Airtricity’s investment in Activ8 further reaffirms their position as the leading supplier of renewable energy to Irish households.

Through our partnership, we are rolling out the following offer to customers -

All current, and new, SSE Airtricity customers who purchase a system from Activ8 will receive €250 cashback from Activ8 on point of install.

Looking at today's announcement, our CEO Ciaran Marron concluded with:
"Having spent the last 12 years in the solar industry, it is not lost on me that we are exactly 12 years away from 2030, a monumental year in our climate change efforts. The announcement today shows our commitment as a country towards our goals in this regard".

For more information on Solar PV and how to avail of the grant, click here.


Solar Thermal In Spring

We’re nearing the end of February. The fact that almost 2 months have passed in 2017 is newsworthy enough, it’s mad to think that time has gone so fast. With the time of year in mind and spring in full swing, our customers will start to see the production of their solar panels really pick up with the hours of daylight increasing day by day. General temperatures are starting to pick up and although the peak summer months can deliver daily hot water, it is these transitional periods during spring and autumn when the Atlas solar thermal panels really show their efficiency.

Spring And Autumn

These transitional periods bring more hours of daylight, stronger solar radiation and overall better conditions for solar. Our Atlas solar panels, developed in Austria with the Irish climate in mind, are built to maximise their efficiency during these times. Couple this with the extremely well-insulated piping and the optimised Joule cylinders that we install with each installation and you can be confident that each piece of equipment used is part of a system aimed at squeezing every last bit of heat from the solar radiation available.

Seeing The Solar Savings

Recent news articles have shown the dramatic drop in wholesale electricity prices over the last number of years, leading to questions as to why these prices haven’t been reflected in the prices available to customers. It is important to note, that the price of solar energy as it is produced can’t go up or down on a daily, monthly or yearly basis. Why? Because it’s free!
Once the system is installed, the production of hot water over the lifetime of that system is absolutely zero. Zilch. We understand that the initial outlay is of course substantial, but most investments in your home are. The advantages to taking advantage of such an investment include the available grants, the tax-free nature of the savings you make and the reality that inflation can’t effect something that you get for free no matter what happens to consumer prices. We have no mystic macs here at Activ8, but we bet that generally speaking, just like has happened in the last 15-20 years, prices and the cost of heating your water will rise over time.

Our Grants page outlines the process through which you can check if your home is eligible for a grant and what you need to do in order to attain the grant. You’ll soon realise that we help with every step of the process and go as far as processing the grant post-installation but giving you the grant amount off the price of the system, up-front.

250 Years In The Making - Solar Thermal

Solar thermal experiments and "technology" advances have come a long way. How long? 250 years.

In 1767, Horace de Saussure, a noted Swiss naturalist, observed, “It is a known fact, and a fact that has probably been known for a long time, that a room, a carriage, or any other place is hotter when the rays of the sun pass through glass. To determine the effectiveness of trapping heat with glass covers, de Saussure built a rectangular box out of half-inch pine, insulated the inside, and had the top covered with glass, and had two smaller boxes placed inside. When exposed to the sun, the bottom box heated to 228 degrees F (109 degrees C) or 16 degrees F (9 degrees C) above the boiling point of water. de Saussure was unsure of how the sun heated the glass boxes. Today we can better explain what happened. Sunshine penetrated the glass covers. The black inner lining absorbed the sunlight and converted it into heat. Though clear glass allows the rays of the sun to easily enter through it, it prevents heat from doing the same. As the glass trapped the solar heat in the box, it heated up. Its inventor realised that someday the hot box might have important practical applications, as “it is quite small, inexpensive and easy to make.” Indeed, the hot box has become the prototype for the solar collectors that have provided sun-heated water to millions since 1892.

Tried and tested to say the least! Why not get in contact with us and see if you're grant eligible and how solar can help you at home and help you save money too.


Activ8 Supplier, Wuxi Suntech, Awarded "Top Brand PV" by EuPD Research In Germany

Our solar PV panel supplier, Wuxi Suntech has been awarded “Top Brand PV” seal from EuPD Research in Germany

Wuxi Suntech, Activ8 Solar Energies primary solar PV panel supplier has recently received high recognition for the quality of the product they provide. The quality of their components is precisely why we use their solar photovoltaic panels. It's also important to note that we have been using them more and more lately, as the Irish solar PV market continues to grow. The Irish solar thermal market continues to be much stronger on the domestic side of things, but commercially, businesses all over Ireland are beginning to invest heavily in solar PV.

According to the recommendation of PV installers and intermediaries in Germany and Holland, Suntech has become the first Chinese PV enterprise to win this honour. China is a key driver of solar photovoltaic technology and a powerhouse in the manufacturing of such. With the standards differing so much, it is important to note that Suntech's panels are Bloomberg Tier 1 standard, the highest possible standard and the only standard that we'll ever use here at Activ8.

EuPD Research Institute's latest “Top Brand PV” Award reflects only the highest quality of products within the global PV industry and it further strengthens our trust in and relationship with Wuxi Suntech, one of the largest clean energy companies in the world.

The independent TOP BRAND PV industry seal is based on an annual multi-level analysis of qualified statements in regards to brand perception, brand management and market penetration from installers and intermediaries based in Germany, the UK, Italy and the Netherlands. With this in mind, it is with great pleasure that as one of the largest solar companies in Ireland, we use Suntech products within our growing solar PV department.

EuPD Research is a neutral research institution which has won great reputation among European PV industry, so this reward represents a significant achievement for the Chinese brand in Europe. Last year, recognition showed to some of our other partners was also covered in our Solar News section and you can find the link for this by clicking here.
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Activ8 Solar Energies Exclusive Distribution Agreement with ESDEC BV

Esdec, a leader in innovative rooftop mounting systems for photovoltaic installations, entered into an exclusive distributor agreement with Activ8 Energies, based upon our solar experience here in Ireland and Northern Ireland over the last 13+ years. With this agreement, Esdec will further extend the availability of its patented ClickFit and FlatFix Fusion systems for rooftop PV installations into the Irish and Northern Irish market.

Irish Solar PV Market

Here at Activ8 Solar Energies, this is an exciting development, given the strong growth of the Irish solar PV market in line with commercial interest in the renewable technology alongside the installation of solar PV panels on new housing developments across Ireland. With our industry leading reputation, this is a great partnership for both ourselves and ESDEC.
The technology that ESDEC can bring to the Irish market, through Activ8 Solar Energies, includes both their ClickFit and FlatFix Fusion systems for rooftop PV installations. With this, the innovative patented designs, which are MCS approved, bring advantages such as:

  • No drilling of tiles
  • No drilling of truss
  • No need for noggins or bridging
  • Approved by major Irish tile manufacturers
  • Approved by major Irish truss manufacturers

Upon the completion of the distributor agreement, both companies looked forward to 2017 with excitement.

"The addition of Activ8 Energies as one of the pioneers of the young and fast growing Irish PV market adds valuable experience and capabilities to our sales network for Irish installation companies, dealing with a strongly increasing demand of PV installations for homeowners, business enterprises and public entities," said Christian Bongartz, Business Development Manager Europe at Esdec. “Working with an experienced and well-respected distributor like Activ8 Energies allows us to deliver our innovative mounting systems effectively into the Irish market, giving valuable support to architects and construction companies already during the design phase of their projects.”

“This development further cements our reputation for innovation within the Irish solar industry here at Activ8 Solar Energies” said Ciaran Marron, CEO Activ8 Solar Energies. “We’ve always believed that the best way to grow the Irish solar market here in Ireland was to offer our customers the very best products and services. With this partnership, we’ve further improved our Solar PV offering to developers, businesses and homeowners and once again, made the solar installation process more efficient”.

About Esdec

Esdec BV is a leading Dutch manufacturer of professional and innovative solar panel mounting systems called ClickFit and FlatFix. Both ClickFit and FlatFix are fast and easy to install, are durable and are sold with a unique 20 year warranty. Their products have been extensively tested by recognized testing institutes, such as DNW (wind tunnel), BRE, and are, amongst others, certified according to the Dutch Building Decree and the MCS012 by NQA. Since the establishment of Esdec BV in 2004, more than four million solar panels with a combined capacity of > 1GWp have been installed on ClickFit and FlatFix systems.

For more information, visit www.esdec.com

Visit our Solar PV section for more information, or depending on your needs, visit our new wholesale section either.


Increase In Energy Use In 2015 But Increase In Renewable Energy Too

The official body for sustainable and renewable energy here in Ireland, the SEAI, released their official national energy statistics on November 23rd. The report shows that there had been significant growth in energy use across almost all sectors of the Irish economy in 2015. Energy in Ireland 1990-2015, illustrates the first significant growth in energy use since 2010 at almost 5%. In line with this figure, energy-related CO2 emmissions increased by 6%. Both of these figures are understandably put in the context of strong economic growth in 2015 within the report.

Greenhouse Gas Emmissions

When looking at greenhouse gas emmissions, energy accounts for about 60% of the total. This puts a greater emphasis on the importance of developing low-carbon solutions in this industry for Ireland. Here at Activ8 Solar Energies, we’re obviously already providing this in terms of solar thermal and also solar PV, but we’ll continue to look at developing technologies and how we can help Irish homes make improvements in energy efficiency.

Renewables

Over 9% of Ireland’s energy use came from renewable energy souces, which is great. But we’re still quite a bit off our 16% target which needs to be reached by 2020. Looking at the 9% figure however, this has resulted in almost 4 million tonnes of CO2 being avoided as well a cut-down in over €400m of energy imports.

When it comes to electricity alone, over a quarter of our electricity needs were provided through renewable energy including wind, hydro, landfill gas and bioenergy – with our solar electricity levels at a very low level in comparison to countries with similar climates and circumstances to us. There is optimism that this will grow significantly in the next couple of years. In addition, renewables contributed 5.7% to energy use in transport and 6.5% in the heating sector.

On the SEAI website, Jim Gannon, SEAI Chief Executive said:
“The publication of these energy figures is a timely and pertinent analysis of Ireland’s energy usage following the conclusion of COP22 in Marrakech last week and Ireland’s ratification of the Paris Agreement earlier in November. We are seeing good progress on renewable energy and energy efficiency, however, this needs to be further accelerated to keep pace with higher economic activity and demand for energy. The Government is already responding to this challenge with significant increased funding committed to energy efficiency and renewable heat in Budget 2017. This allows us to build on the progress to date and continue to decarbonise our energy system which will reduce costs, improve energy security and reduce environmental impact.”
Jim Gannon continued: “In 2015 the average household emitted 5.5 tonnes of CO2of which 61% came from direct fuel use in the home and the remainder from electricity use. The transition to a sustainable, low-carbon energy system requires the participation of citizens and communities in both decision-making and action. It is vital that we have an informed debate about the choices for Ireland as we move to a low-carbon economy. SEAI is committed to the provision of timely, robust and transparent data to ensure that policy development, decision-making and our energy transition is based on high quality data and evidence.”


What Donald Trump Win Means for Climate Change in Ireland

The Climate Change Fallout of a Trump Presidency

With our friends across the Atlantic Ocean flocking to the polls and electing Donald Trump, the planet and the environmental issues that face us both in the present and the future were not important enough for consideration when Americans were deciding which candidate they voted for. Not only is the election of Donald Trump a disaster for environmentally conscious people in America, it is a disaster for climate change globally. After the tentative but progressive COP 21 event in Paris and subsequent agreement, this is not what our planet needed. We needed forward thinking governments, with like-minded leaders to help move the planet forward with an environmentally friendly, sustainable approach to governing. For all of us in not just the solar industry, but beyond, this election result does not bode well.

Could Donald Trump have been any clearer when we called global warming "a Chinese hoax", before definitively stating that he wants to scrap all of the major regulations that US President Obama put in place to reduce carbon dioxide emissions for the USA. With a republican congress, he has the power and ability to pass bills to stop a lot of the progress made in the previous presidency. Anyway, why does this matter to us here in Ireland?

Firstly, we all share the same planet, the same atmosphere and the same melting ice caps. What happens in America affects us all. Not only that, if one of the most powerful western countries in the world scraps their climate change efforts, that doesn’t set a great example for smaller western nations like ourselves. If the USA takes Donald Trump's lead and decides to denounce climate change, you can be sure that R&D efforts will drop, clean energy research will drop and future progress in this regard will be slowed. Unfortunately, Donald Trump openly stated he was going to repeal all federal spending on all of these things, such as solar, wind, nuclear power and electric vehicles. With R&D dropping in America as well as future demand for such, it may see the end of the slowly lowering alternative energy prices around the world, including here in Ireland.
The underlying reality is that a Trump presidency will lead to more coal burning, pollution and more CO2 emissions.

Is all hope for clean energy, solar and Irish renewables lost?

No.

Solar Energy in Ireland Will Continue To Grow and It Won't Be Alone

The reality is, solar power, wind power and electric cars have been getting cheaper and cheaper over the past decade and although that has slowed, these renewable energy pillars have become very affordable here in Ireland, so the American federal government won’t be able to change this anytime soon, bad news on that front would be slow. In which case, you would hope the proliferation of all these technologies would outpace such federal resistance in America.

It is also possible, just like past obstacles, that opposition to a figure such as Trump will help galvanise the next generation of clean energy advocates here in Ireland and abroad. Where there is a will, there is a way and people fighting for and towards Irelands obligations in 2020 and beyond will continue to do so with an eye on the COP 21 agreement, rather than the actions of the 45th US President.

It is undeniable that the landscape has changed with one single leadership change, but the reality is, we must continue our renewable energy efforts here in Ireland and keep working with our own government in order to effect change here in Ireland. The support for solar and other clean energy technologies is continuing to grow. With politics changing to a popularity contest, the more popular climate change becomes in Ireland, the more it will seep into Leinster House.

The Irish solar market is in a very healthy state, can we say the same about external optimism for America today?

No.


Solar PV 56 kWp System Installed in Courtown Co. Wexford

One of our most recent installations, a 197 solar PV panel installation in Courtown, Co. Wexford is an indication of where the future of energy is heading here in Ireland. Solar panel installation continues to grow and the expected production of our system at Courtown Leisure Centre can act as a case in point of how commercially viable solar photovoltaic has become for Irish businesses looking to consolidate their future expenses when it comes to electricity and energy. You can watch the production of this system at the bottom of this post.

The Solar PV Process

After a successful tender for the contract on the Courtown Leisure Centre, we worked through the half hourly readings and along with CKEA (Carlow Kilkenny Energy Agency) to optimise the size and set up of this heavy consumer of electricity.

The leisure centre themselves had already taken numerous progressive steps to reduce their consumption over the past year, shaving their peak consumption from an average of 93kVA right down to 71kVA. Not happy to sit on their laurels, they pushed on to apply for an SEAI grant for the installation of a solar electric system and with the help of CKEA they were successful in their bid.

Solar PV Specification

With this 56kWp solar PV system, Courtown will reduce their energy consumption by over 40,000kWhr’s (units of electricity) on a yearly basis. Due to the utilisation of Enphase Micro Inverters on this job, this system is guaranteed to continue production of electricity for at least 20 years, which leaves the leisure centre with the peace of mind that they have locked in the cost of approx. 800,000kWhr’s. So no matter what price electricity goes to over the next 20 years, Courtown Leisure Centre have secured approximately 40,000units of electricity per year, for the next twenty years at approximately 5cents.

In the short 18 days of October, the system has generated as much to offset the planting of 38 trees. To put that into perspective on a yearly basis, the installation of this solar system is equal to planting over 800 trees per year, for the next 20 years. Truly cementing Courtown Leisure Centre as one of the greenest and environmentally conscious in Ireland and a solar PV champion.

The installation consisted of 197 solar panels (generating DC electricity), and 197 micro inverters (converting DC to AC electricity) all mounted on a standing seam mounting system. The installation took 4 days, with the majority of the heavy lifting completed in just 2 days. With Solar PV looking to become a larger part of the Irish lexicon over the next five years, it really is great to see SEAI supporting such a system and CKEA helping a forward thinking business such as Courtown Leisure Centre become early adopters to what is sure to become the future of energy in Ireland.

Live Enphase Monitoring

When we had a look at the live monitoring of the system through Activ8 Energies and Enphase. For anyone not familiar with the equivalent units of electricity produced, look at the handy infographics provided. As an example, the 194kWh produced on Sunday October 2nd is the equivalent of the power produced by 64,689 AA batteries.


Solar Case Study: An 'Eco Pub' Uses Activ8

Andy's Bar & Restaurant Use Activ8 For Solar During Their Energy Efficiency Improvements

Andy's Bar & Restaurant in Monaghan Town featured in the Irish Independent as one of Ireland's first 'eco pubs'. It was great to see the family owned establishment getting national media attention given their environmental efforts in the running of their business. Something we here at Activ8 Solar Energies got to see up close and personal when we installed the solar thermal system on the roof of their premises in early 2016.

Solar panels on Andy's Bar & Restaurant roof
A dreary installation day in February did nothing to curb the enthusiasm of staff and their energy efficiency and environmental efforts.

Energy efficiency through solar and more

The family began their energy efficiency drive after the Monaghan premises was destroyed in a fire. With support from the SEAI and the cross-border Sustainable Together through Environmental Management (STEM) project. The Redmond family began their work by installing better insulation, it was at this point, that they contacted us here in Activ8 Solar Energies in regards to installing a solar thermal energy system to help reduce their heating bills and increase efficiency in this part of their business.

Their solar thermal energy system was installed on the roof of the premises after our standard technical survey that matched system specification with business need while factoring in the relevant conditions and circumstances. The system consists of 9 Atlas Solar Thermal Collectors, a system substantially larger than our standard domestic system. We pride ourselves on fitting the relevant system for our customers needs and the accuracy to which we can do this.

This was followed by other internal efficiencies, which included replacing glass doors on fridges with more energy efficient efficient doors, showing the extent to which Seán Redmond and his team were willing to go to ensure they continued their efforts to make Andy's Bar & Restaurant a more energy efficient, environmentally friendly business. Too many people look toward the government and its agencies for complete project leadership in this area. This case study is an outstanding example of how a business can improve business efficiency, reduce costs through an environmentally driven efficiency project. It really is a win-win situation.


What Apples €13 Billion Could Do For Irish Homeowners, Even Clear 30 Years of Water Charges!

In the wake of the European Commissions recent ruling of €13 billion tax payments owed to the Irish government, we decided we would put that figure into context that we here at Activ8 Energies and the citizens of Ireland would understand. Heating and powering your home can cost a lot of money, not quite in the billions though, so let’s see how the magnitude of such a sum compares to expenses within Irish homes. In the interest of balance, we won’t even mention solar.

The average cost of heating and electricity bills here in Ireland comes to €2,300 per year per household. If we took the €13 billion and gave everyone a dig out with their heating and electricity bills, we could pay for every single house in Ireland, for nearly 3 and a half years.

Let’s go one better, water charges. What if the European Commission and the Irish government decided to take the €13 billion and put it against the current household charges for water? We take the €160 & €260 charges and take €210 as an average per home for water? It would cover the water charges for the next 30 years at the current rate. 30 years! We could revisit the topic again in 2046. Thanks Apple.

Or we could look at making every home in Ireland more sustainable and efficient. With €13 billion, we could provide every home in Ireland with a high quality solar panel system and an upgrade on their current boiler. While we’re on the topic of sustainability, this figure would allow the government to give 1/3 of the countries households a new Nissan Leaf pushing Ireland in front as the world’s leading electric vehicle adopter per head of population without a doubt. We would become an even greater little country.
The figure is big, €13 billion. But we haven’t actually come across many outlets writing the number as it is. It almost makes more of an impact doesn’t it?

€13,000,000,000
What if the government took this €13bn and decided to supplement existing programmes and schemes? We can only look at our own industry and provide context that way, if we were to apply this figure to the SEAI grants, something we process on a daily basis, it would singlehandedly multiply the amount of grants issued by the SEAI from 2009-2016 by 67.

*Based off CSO figures in 2015.


What ISO 9001 Actually Means for Customers

We spoke recently at our delight in attaining ISO 9001 accreditation, something that most people recognise. When people see the ISO stamp, they know they are dealing with a well oiled organisation rather than a one-man band. The ISO 9001 is an accolade that directly reflects our commitment to our "Quality Management Systems". When we set out with our blog, we wanted it to become a source of information rather than a sales tool. With over 10 years' worth of experience in the solar industry, we feel that we can bring that experience to the public and we can help educate those who are interested in the renewable power of solar. In this regard, we wanted to share the journey towards ISO accreditation, what it really means to get it and help you understand what it means for our customers and those of you interested in what we offer.

As I've already alluded to, ISO 9001 was a direct reflection of our "Quality Management Systems". This means that every single process within the company was scrutinised for best practice; from how we process orders, contact customers, our reporting, right down to how we file everything! But it was a process that allowed us to really focus on one of our strengths; customer service. With stringent processes, it meant we became even more confident that we could strengthen what we call "Our Promise".

Testament to this, was a recent customer review we received regarding our service. This isn't so much about the review itself, but it reflects the work that went into securing our ISO 9001 accreditation and definitely makes it worth it.....

A few weeks ago, my wife called to me from the kitchen. She was alarmed at the sight of a steady drip of water splashing on the tiled floor. Directly above the spot there is a Velux skylight and we immediately assumed that this must be the source of the leak. We threw down some cloths to soften the impact of the drips and contain the splashes. By next morning, when the rain had stopped during the night, the leak had stopped and the floor was dry.

A period of dry weather followed and we put the matter out of our minds. Inevitably, when rain returned the leak came with it. What should we do? Let’s have a word with Dave, the man who fitted the Velux nearly ten years ago.

The rain stopped again and we forgot about contacting Dave. Then the penny dropped! It was only five weeks since we had our brand new solar panels fitted by Activ8 Solar Energies of Carrickmacross, Co. Monaghan. They had been all over our roof installing the panels and it was too much of a coincidence, we thought, for the leak to be unconnected with that work, even though it was falling from the opposite side of the roof.

On the Monday, I phoned Tara at Activ8 and she arranged for Eugene to get back to me. Eugene phoned that afternoon and by Wednesday his men were on the roof looking for the leak. They found a cracked tile near the Velux, which clearly was in that condition long before the solar panels were fitted; there was moss growing in the crack. Before they reported their find to me they had replaced the offending tile with one left over from the installation of the panels.

I was so impressed that I sent this e-mail to Activ8: –

“Many thanks for following up on my request for inspection of my roof for possible damage arising from your installation work.

As the lads discovered the leak was caused by an old break in a tile not affected by your work; but they were good enough to replace it with one of the redundant tiles.

Please let me know if there is any payment required,

Once again, thank you all.”

Next day I received the following e-mail from Activ8:-

“Thanks for your email, we appreciate the offer for payment but this is part of our service we promised to you. Thanks again and if you have any questions in relation to your system in the future please feel free to email me back or give us a call.

Kind regards
Aidan”

Now that’s what I call customer service!

"Customer service". It should be pretty obvious what it entails when you read those two words. Unfortunately, it isn't guaranteed everywhere you go. Be careful what you read, and be wary of what you're offered. We base our customer service on 'Our Promise' and we back it up with our awards. Now when you see our ISO mark, you know what it means and how we got it.