The economic downturn has devastated housing markets, but there are a few positives. One is the growth of the green building movement – it’s getting a boost from homeowners eager to economize on energy costs, and builders looking to pull apart from the rest of the pack.
Green homes are no longer a niche product for high-end buyers. National certification programs such as LEED and Energy Star now have counterparts in many states. Energy-efficient measures could soon become a staple of all new homes, if consumer and industry trends are any indication.
David Barista, editor at ProfessionalBuilder.com, offers a few marketing tips for green builders. His list is an instructive look into the challenges of marketing green to home buyers, arguably a “gateway” into residential energy efficiency.
Barista suggests “doing the math” for potential buyers by providing side-by-side comparisons of energy efficient homes versus more typical homes. Use plenty of colorful, dramatic charts and graphs, rather than doing straight dollar comparisons. Make sure comparisons are “pin-point accurate”, especially when making a guarantee on utility cost savings.
- Avoid discussing payback periods, which are often much longer than buyers envision staying in a home.
- Understand your buyers and their level of commitment to green practices. Some buyers care that their home is healthy and safe, while others choose green as a statement of personal style.
- And don’t forget to emphasize the health benefits. Green homes are often healthier places for people to live in.
What strategies can we learn from other industries marketing green?