Green Industry Articles

Speeding Green Acceptance

Though she's sold 50 LEED-H homes in her market, Sydona Anderson GREEN says she still feels like a lone candle in a dark room when it comes to getting people to embrace the green housing message. Sue Bechtel GREEN, EcoBroker® of Iowa Realty also feels like she's fighting an uphill battle in her Des Moines market.

They're likely not alone. Many practitioners talk of the long slow slog toward the time when green reaches what they call a critical mass. Here's what some are doing to speed up that trip, along with some things you can implement in your business:

Rebates and Incentives: Get up to speed on every national, state and local rebate available for energy-efficiency upgrades. Anderson GREEN qualifying broker of Tierra del Sol Real Estate Properties in Farmington, N.M., promotes solar energy to clients not only because, as she says, "the sun is free," but also because there are some enticing incentives offered by the state. "I show
clients the energy costs they'll save and use that information as a motivator," she says.

24/7 green: Anderson takes her green message everywhere she goes, whether it's at business meetings, listing presentations, or social events. She confesses that she's even been known to talk to caterers at luncheons and other social events she attends to offer information about and pointers on how they can green their business practices and do on-site recycling.

Creative outreach: Attending green-related events and festivals are great for networking and meeting like-minded people. It's something Bob McCranie, CRS, GRI, GREEN from Texas Pride Realty, Carrollton, Texas does regularly. But he thinks it's also important to find ways to reach those who think they aren't interested in sustainability and aren't knowledgeable about it. He
rented a booth at the Dallas Auto show this year to touch a broader swath of the population with his green message and education. His isn't a hard-sell method. The vast majority of his encounters at events where he has a booth entail schmoozing with and educating people.

Adapt your message: The truth is that not everyone is convinced that climate change is taking place, nor do they care about saving the planet. For many, the main motivation for doing energy efficiency upgrades or making green choices has to do with cold, hard cash. So read your clients, figure out their motivation, and deliver messages that resonate with them. Bechtel calls it reaching people's "sweet spot." With green skeptics on a tight budget, she may focus on the wisdom of tapping free resources, such as solar power and capturing rainwater, for example.

And for those concerned about dependence on foreign oil, she may mention the wisdom associated with using home-grown resources.

Live green, share green: There's nothing like incorporating green lifestyle strategies, say many practitioners, to boost their credibility. They implement green changes in their personal lives to show that it can be done and then share the details of their successes. McCranie, for instance, slashed his home electricity usage by 41 percent. He blogs about it at Nicole Brulé-Fisher GREEN, EcoBroker® chair of the Green Task Force for Tucson Association of REALTORS®, installed photovoltaics on her roof at home and realized a cost savings of about $700 during the first year she had it. And Bechtel, who drives a Prius, composts and captures rainwater, leaves her rainwater collector in the front yard for all to see.

That way, she says, she teaches by example.

Source: Green REsource Council Newsletter, January 2011