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Energy efficiency can be just as SEXY as solar! The key is knowing how to work it to your "public relations" advantage.

How to PROMOTE and sell energy efficiency with altruistic marketing strategies.

What’s more fun to brag about; energy efficiency improvements you can’t see… or the sleek latest and greatest solar equipment parked on your rooftop for all to envy?

Let’s face it, energy efficiency hasn’t been the sexy energy siren showing off its glimmer.  No.  It’s more akin to wearing a pair of thermal underwear beneath your winter clothes in order to stay warm; it’s like taking your clothes off on a hot summer day and running naked… well okay, that could be sexy.  But you get the point.

So how can wanna be environmental crusaders get a “groove on”; to making energy efficiency as hip as solar, while at the same time, cashing in on the tangible public relations boost that energy efficiency has to offer?  In order to solve this perceptual dilemma AND convince side-line adopters to make a change, we must first look at what beliefs our culture holds toward energy efficiency, and how to shift paradigms from old to new.

Efficiency Attitudes and Awareness

The big hurdle to overcome is the attitude that most people don’t see or think about energy efficiency because it’s attached to our everyday appliances, which seem to do the job just fine.  It’s the attitude, “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”.  It’s not until that appliance breaks, that we think of upgrading to an energy efficiency model, taking advantage of the rebates and incentives that come with it.  However, the price to replace inefficient appliances, drafty windows, an outdated furnace, and low grade insulation doesn’t have to happen all at once.  The point is to simply begin making small changes one year at a time.  In fact, some changes may cost you little to nothing if you access the right programs within your community.

Perceived Riskiness of Efficiency Measures

A lot of people are afraid that for the money they spend on efficiency, which they may be gambling on whether the improvements actually work and save money.  And a bit of this is true, but not in ways you might expect.  Take for instance, our wasteful energy habits… like leaving an exterior door open in the middle of winter while quickly running the trash out to the curb; standing in the glow of an open door refrigerator light… late at night, while swigging milk out of the carton; forgetting to turn off the lights from room to room, or running the heater or air conditioner a little longer, rationalizing that the energy efficiency improvements can let you splurge, when in fact, you’re using more.  It’s all in HOW you use it.

Obtaining and Processing Information

Delivering a correctly pitched message to the public and helping them understand facts has become vital to spreading the word about energy efficiency.   This is more than preaching; the energy efficiency message has become a tangible result that can be seen and felt.  Nowadays, some convincing ways to inspire energy efficiency are to take infrared images of homes and businesses and post them on Google Street View.  Another, is making energy efficiency a badge of honor; an item for display, just like a Terrapass window decal, energy efficiency is becoming something people aspire to.  Yet another is to use altruism marketing and public relations to promote your green good deeds.  Add these tips to your marketing and public relations strategies, by doing so, you will have effectively targeted a segment of environmentally conscious customers who truly care about your energy conservation practices!

EXAMPLE OF ALTRUISM MARKETING and PR PRESS RELEASE:  “ABC Widget company is proud to announce it has just completed a major energy efficiency overhaul at its Timbuktu facility, which includes installation of a major lighting retrofit, natural day-lighting tubes, and other energy efficiency measures; we’re expecting BIG energy savings as a result.  In fact, so promising are the savings, that we are donating 25% of our first year annual energy savings to the Abe Lincoln Elementary School”.

Inconvenience to Installation

Many people perceive they will be greatly inconvenienced; their lives disrupted, their homes and businesses turned upside down in order to have energy efficiency measures implemented.  But this is far from true.  Most efficiency measures will take anywhere from one day to several days depending on the type of improvements being installed, and you won’t be coming home to a battle field when it’s finished… some dust, yes.  Besides, most business owners will have their installations completed in the off or weekend hours.

To Sum it Up

The success of selling the energy efficiency credo to residential and business property owners, including the public’s perception, may be less about financial and statistical environmental outcomes and more about the psychology of us humans wanting to be seen as “do gooderswithin our community.  Why?  Because human nature and “ego driven desires” instinctively know that environmental good deeds will be a better selling point to a public conscience, then a public conscience knowing how much money ABC Widget Company saved on energy efficiency; that is, unless that widget company is donating the savings to a local charity. An Interesting Fact to Ponder; Honda Accord Hybrid was discontinued and Hybrid SUVs are struggling while Toyota Prius sales hit records.  Could it be because Hybrids are not conspicuously  “do-gooder green”? 

 

Article by Jennifer Coleman of Sun Source Solar Brokers, a solar brokerage and energy consulting business serving Sonoma Marin and Napa counties, including the San Francisco Bay Area.

 

 



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