In a post-foreclosure world, home buyers want homes that cost less to own - and energy efficient homes are the means to that end. Affordability features are selling homes - and driving energy effic...

This trend is actually spinning the home performance industry on its end.  For four years this industry has embraced me as one of their own.  And I've heard time and time again that it's comfort, safety and often environmental concerns that sell jobs.

But this is your wake-up call and your opportunity.  The housing trends of this spring are a signal that the tipping point for energy efficiency is upon us - and monthly savings will deliver it.  Are you ready?

Malcolm Gladwell's book Tipping Point placed that term in our vocabulary.  He outlined Tipping Pointhow trends become epidemics.  It appears energy efficiency is ripe for a popularity explosion. Here's why.

As Gladwell explains in his book, good ideas don't tip on their own.  First, a group of visionaries embrace an idea.  But many great ideas never tip because those early adopters never successfully translate their innovation into something the less risky main population is willing to try out.

The home owners you've sold work to in the recent past are the early adopters.  They were looking to solve specific improvement issues at home, or trying to help the environment.  Today's home buyers are the early majority.  They just want to know, "Am I going to save money today?"

They have translated the early adopters' interest in energy efficient measures into an early majority appreciation for money in their pocket.

Other scholars on tipping point have described a chasm that stands between the early adopters and the majority.  Products and services that can navigate that chasm thrive while the great ideas that don't die out.

So here's the wake-up call for home performance.  If we can translate work done into monthly savings, home owners can translate that to buyers and we'll create a new definition for what a "well-maintained" home is all about.  And the best part is that if we build this expectation on on the home owner side, we'll get away from the polarizing idea about labeling homes for energy efficiency at the time of sale that in turn spins the real estate industry against efficiency.

So, do you keep selling comfort and safety because that's what worked so far?  Do you hold back on quantifying monthly savings for consumers because there are too many variables to ever be 100% precise?

Bottom-line - Are we going to cross this chasm or not?

The next big opportunity ahead is the chance for efficiency and real estate to work together more effectively.  Concepts of affordability, quality and "well-maintained" will bring us together.  More coming soon!

Reprinted with permission from Not Yet Green. See original articleonline. 

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