With the presidential election upon us this week, the word “change” is being tossed back and forth like a Frisbee. Regardless of which candidate you plan to vote for, one thing is certain; they all promise change.

The funny thing is, change is not something found only in the future. On the contrary, change is happening as we speak. As each day passes, our world is transforming around us. What does this mean to the HVAC industry? It means we can either embrace this change as an opportunity to differentiate ourselves or we can sit back and allow our competition to leave us in the dust. (As an air-quality comfort advisor, I try to avoid finding myself covered in dust whenever possible, so I’ll take the first option.)

Currently, one of the most influential changes of our time is the living green movement. You cannot watch television or read a newspaper without hearing about the growing impact that we have on our planet. With the abundance of information flying around, consumers (your customers) have found themselves inundated with global facts and environmental statistics, all the while wondering how this impacts their lives and homes, and looking for someone to help them make sense of it all.

As the endeavor to live green continues to gain momentum, what better way to earn your customers’ trust than by arriving at their home with a full knowledge and understanding of how energy-saving products can impact their home, as well as their pocketbook. Let’s take a look at two ways that you, as a comfort advisor, can both support the living green initiative, while at the same time, utilizing its practices to generate higher investment sales from your customers.


While many of your customers are looking for ways to save the planet, you can be sure that all of them are looking for ways to save money. The first step to helping them do this is to become familiar with one of the icons of the living green movement, the Energy Star program.

Developed in 1992, through the collaboration of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy, the Energy Star program targets the residential, commercial, and industrial markets with information on energy-saving products and practices.

Products that meet their requirements feature the highly familiar Energy Star logo. In 2007 alone, the Energy Star program helped Americans save over $16 billion on their utility bills. Over 70 percent of consumers recognize the Energy Star logo, making these products an invaluable tool when selling home comfort systems.

In addition to these great products, the Energy Star program also offers a wealth of energy-saving tips and ideas through its Website www.energystar.gov. This excellent resource can provide you with tips and information on windows, doors, roofing, air leakage, programmable thermostats, water-saving devices, and much more.

Taking the time to become familiar with this information, and then passing it on to your customers, is just one more way that you will differentiate yourself as a company willing to do more than just make a sale. As a member of the HVAC industry, it may be easy to think that the Energy Star program is all you need to know when it comes to selling home comfort systems. On the contrary, the Energy Star program is just one piece of a much bigger puzzle.

One of the unexpected effects of the living green movement has been its influence on how we look at our world. Where we once considered recycling the aluminum cans in our kitchen to be the only way that we as individuals could help the planet, our eyes have now been opened to a bigger picture of the countless ways in which we can collectively protect the world we live in. This brings us to the second step that you, as a comfort advisor, can take to embrace the living green initiative into your business practice. I like to refer to it as the “Whole Home” concept.

Today’s consumers aren’t just looking for somebody to sell them an air conditioner; rather they are looking for a whole-home comfort expert, who has the knowledge to guide them in saving energy and conserving resources in all aspects of their home.

For example, you would not expect a surgeon to replace a heart without also paying close attention to the arteries, muscles, and blood vessels that play a vital role in the function of that heart. Likewise, the comfort advisor would not install an air conditioner without also taking into consideration the ductwork and installation choices.

As Energy Star minded comfort advisors, we must treat homes as a whole, with the HVAC system being the heart of that home; helping the homeowner take advantage of additional Energy Star products and information that will compliment their home comfort system.

Am I suggesting that we must become proficient in the selling of products outside the HVAC product line? Certainly not. Nonetheless, I am challenging each of us to think and grow as a whole-home consultant, by building relationships and sharing referrals with companies who sell different products, yet share the same earth-friendly philosophies, all in an effort to stand out in the eyes of our customers as a company who is willing to be a part of the bigger picture.

As home comfort specialists, it’s not just convenient that we be knowledgeable about energy-saving ideas and products, it’s mandatory. As the world changes around us, so must the manner in which we do business.

As more and more consumers strive to better their world and “live green,” it is the obligation of the HVAC industry to, not only be educated and up-to-date on the latest energy-saving information and products, but also be ready and willing to support our customers through sales and business practices that set the precedent for a better tomorrow.

Jay Rathbun, of JBResources, LLC, offers coaching and seminars designed to empower HVAC dealers. Jay can be reached at 314-882-5489 or jbrathbun@sbcglobal.net. For more information, visit www.jbresources.org.

Publication date:11/03/2008