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Today's HuffPost Greatest Person: Salvatore Cavalieri, Energy Sheriff

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 12/10/10 12:21 PM ET Updated: 05/25/11 07:20 PM ET

Salvatore Cavalieri

Salvatore Cavalieri has found that the best way to help himself is to help others.

As the founder of Energy Sheriffs, Sal left the construction industry he had worked in for twenty years to form a company dedicated to helping others save money -- and energy. Energy Sheriffs goes into people's homes to determine how they can re-outfit their houses to save money on electricity and water bills.

Sal's reasons for leaving construction were pretty simple, given the economic situation. "Back in 2006, we were already feeling that something was not right, that things were getting slower," he said. "We saw that something was going to happen." His industry wasn't the only place he saw portents of change. "I started noticing that a lot of my friends who have good paying jobs and houses, started losing their houses, losing their jobs."

They needed to save money. But, Sal noticed, "the choices to save energy were few to none." Though he already held an MBA from Nova Southeastern University, he decided to begin taking classes in energy efficiency at the Florida Solar Energy Center. "Let me arm myself with knowledge," he thought at the time.

As an "energy sheriff," Sal goes into people's homes for free evaluations regarding how they can be more efficient in their use of energy. "We provide a free inspection, sit with the family sit and listen to their needs and their problems and see what we can do," he said. His company guarantees that if the family doesn't see a 25 percent increase in savings within three months, he'll refund them completely. "We haven't returned a penny yet," he said.

For those who find themselves in reduced circumstances, the thousands they can save in a year on their energy bills is a welcome return. "We created this company out of gloom and doom," he said. "It is very rewarding to know that I can do this for people. You have to look at the silver lining in everything."

Sal, a 40-year-old Florida resident originally from Venezuela, started Energy Sheriffs at the end of 2009 with a staff of three people, including himself. They have since grown to ten employees, and are constantly on the hunt for new and better equipment. "You always become irrelevant pretty quickly," he said. "The more knowledge you have the more possibilities you have."

Sal says people are shocked when they find out how much they can save just by switching to environmentally friendly, energy efficient solutions. But for him, helping others help themselves is just his job. "The more you give, the more you will be blessed with other successes in life," he said. "This company was a dream."

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