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Shelton Insights

Our take on the ever-shifting landscape of energy and the environment – and the strategies you need to market your commitment to sustainability.

The value proposition for recycling

Sunday, November 15, was America Recycles Day. It immediately reminded me of an opinion piece I read a few weeks back in The New York Times (“The Reign of Recycling“) questioning the validity of recycling. Rebuttals were numerous and swift (read a few here... read more

We are more powerful together

This week I had the absolute pleasure of participating in a unique and fascinating event put on by the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) called Residential Energy+. The premise behind the event was essentially, “Look, making our existing housing stock more energy efficient not only does wonderful things for the folks inside the homes, it can dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. There are many disparate players trying to move the market in the right direction … what if we get them all in a room for a day and a half and see if we can work collectively to make it happen?”

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How patriotism could motivate Americans to be more energy efficient

Several years ago, back when we were still fighting a war in Iraq and we were all very tense about that, we tested some messaging around national security as a reason to make one’s home more energy efficient. It tested pretty well; not as well as saving money and increasing comfort, but pretty well. And, as you might imagine, it tested best with Americans who weren’t bought into climate change, but were bought into America.

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Under fire: What to do when your sustainability story is questioned

If you’ve eaten at Chipotle, you know their sustainability story. If you haven’t, take a tour of their website, and you’ll learn about how vegetables are grown in healthy soil, how they’ve removed GMOs from their menu, how they’ve taken a stand against growth hormones and antibiotics in milking cows, and how they’re allowing pigs to “root and roam” instead of being caged up.

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Focus group of one: Real-world experience trying to make a home more energy efficient

If you’ve seen someone from Shelton Group speak or you’ve read some of our research, you know our overarching point of view when it comes to energy efficiency and greener homes: Americans care about efficiency (but they’re motivated by comfort, health and resale value). They want better homes – and a better home is a more comfortable and beautiful home with monthly energy costs they feel in control of.

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Are your certifications qualified? The FTC issues warnings

At Shelton Group, we’ve long espoused the merits of third-party certifications – the ones that lend credence to green claims made on product labels and in advertising. They provide some legitimacy, and our research shows that consumers view them favorably – in fact, they can tip the balance when it comes to product purchases for about a quarter of the population.

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Smart home technology: friend or foe?

I’ve been doing a little premature pontificating that smart home technologies could be a threat to building product manufacturers. Based on some secondary data and some of our Energy Pulse 2014 data, I’ve hypothesized that if people believe they’ll save 10% on their energy bill with a smart thermostat (both Nest and Honeywell have issued white papers claiming that level of savings) and they can achieve that for $250, why would they spend $2,000 to add extra insulation or several thousand for an HVAC upgrade or new windows?

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The smart home is here (because retailers are going all in)

We’ve learned, through years of work with sustainable product manufacturers, that growing sales without good retail distribution can be a steep uphill battle. It’s always a bit of a “chicken or egg” game. Retailers want manufacturers to prove consumer demand for products before they’ll commit precious shelf space.

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Turnoffs, turn-ons and wild expectations

Which green buzzwords irk your customers – and which set expectations you can’t meet? For those of us who work all day long in the sustainability space, it’s easy to forget that consumers don’t necessarily speak our language. Manufacturers and marketers throw around green jargon like “low-VOC” or “net zero” as if consumers will automatically understand what they mean and that the meaning is good.

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Utility customer loyalty – it’s the new imperative

Google, Comcast, ADT, SolarCity and other corporate giants have set their sights on utility customers. Soon they’ll be trying to lure them away with attractive new offers and product/service bundles, and when that happens, even the best J.D. Power scores are not going to keep them from jumping ship.

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Keep it simple

If you’re reading this post, you’re living in the extremely complex world of energy, conservation and/or sustainability. You’re working on Big, Complex Things all day long, and at some point you have to communicate with an intended audience about those things.

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Americans believe in climate change! Problem (NOT) solved.

Our soon-to-launch Eco Pulse study found that American opinion about climate change has shifted more strongly than ever before toward belief in the phenomenon and in its human causality: 62% agree or strongly agree with the statement, “Global warming, or climate change, is occurring and is primarily caused by human activity.”

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Optimal solutions

If you sat for the SAT, ACT or like tests, you might remember hearing during the instructions: “There may be more than one right answer to a question, but there is one answer that is ‘more correct’ than the others.” While it may have been frustrating then, I now understand and appreciate the need to find optimal solutions to problems.

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A tax on electric vehicles? Surely not!

Georgia, my home state, recently passed HB170, the Transportation Funding Act of 2015. The bill, which was signed by Governor Nathan Deal in May, took effect on July 1, creating new sources of funding for road and bridge repairs. Georgia motorists are now paying a 26-cent-per-gallon excise tax at the pump. Like most states, Georgia’s transportation infrastructure is a hot mess.

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Will you lose your commercial customers to a better offer?

My quick answer is that we’re heading in that direction. And I’m not sure “lose them” is right; it’s more like “lose a significant portion of their business.” Let’s dig into some numbers. Our most recent B2B Pulse™ study polled business decision-makers across a variety of sectors, sizes (10+ employees) and job titles (facilities managers, CEOs, COOs, CFOs, purchasing managers, etc.).

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  • The 5 Types of #Millennials and How to Engage Them on #Climate Action: https://t.co/CfOKrxK5pg https://t.co/MHxsc84foW
    about 2 days ago
  • As American homes get bigger, #energyefficiency gains are wiped out: https://t.co/MSTclJ8Zb6 via @pewresearch
    about 3 days ago
  • 62% of Americans say #green is a good thing. Learn More: https://t.co/xya7awib1S
    about 3 days ago
  • U.S. builders are ready to meet consumer demand for greener, healthier homes https://t.co/1j5VPFFHnR #greenbuilding https://t.co/IvqAEhzgjm
    about 4 days ago
  • Renewable energy, technological advances & growing customer expectations are changing the utility industry landscape https://t.co/hYC2Y8mUXs
    about 4 days ago

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