Our annual Eco Pulse study will be out later this month, and we’ll start blogging about what we found over the next few weeks. One consistent theme that we see in this study and last year’s Energy Pulse is this:
People want better.
They don’t want to feel guilty about how they should do the right thing for the environment, they don’t want to feel scared about the state of the planet, and they don’t want to be told they’re wrong for wanting what they want.
They want to buy better products from better companies, and drive them to better homes in better cars.
“Better,” in a way, is table stakes in the minds of Americans … all the better brands should be better to people and the environment – it shouldn’t be an add-on that they’re asked to pay more for. Better homes simply should be energy-efficient and environmentally friendly. That’s part of the definition of “better.”
Interestingly, though, I notice that professionals in the building industry define “better” differently. Traditional builders define it as granite countertops and more crown molding. Energy auditors and home performance contractors define “better” as more air sealing and insulation.
So how about if we stop that?
How about if we all start defining “better” like the people living in the homes define it? How about if we recognize that for Americans a “better” home is one that’s energy efficient, comfortable, quality built and, yes, beautiful?
So, builders, please stop silo-ing energy efficiency and aesthetics as though they’re two separate things that we have to choose between, do a trade-off analysis on and, ultimately, pay more for. And energy auditors/home performance guys, please stop selling against windows and telling homeowners they’re wrong to want them (you’re probably screwing up a lot of sales that way).
Let’s define a “better-quality home” or a “high-performance home” as one that feels good AND looks good.
And if you’re in the manufacturing space, define sustainability as a brand attribute, a building block to a better brand.
If we can break down the silos and start seeing the world the way our market does, we’ll all be a lot more successful.