Are you selling green products and services? If not, you may be giving your competitors your part of an estimated $12 billion industry. According to the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors - National Association (PHCC), the tax credits for green home improvements in the federal stimulus package will make many green products cost the same as or cheaper than conventional products.

The Webinar, “Making the Sales Pitch for Water and Energy Efficient Products,” showed contractors ways to expand into new and untapped markets. It was presented by Eric Klingler, branch manager - Northeast Region, Noritz America, a manufacturer of tankless water heaters. The main method is simply to be aware of current trends, and take full advantage of them.



GO GREEN OR GO HOME

The market demand for green is a real thing, he said. “It’s not just a buzzword anymore, or crazy people in California. The green economy is here to stay.”

The lion’s share of all CO2 emissions and energy consumption comes from buildings, he said. They also account for 15 trillion gallons of water consumption.

“Designing and constructing these buildings just makes practical sense from any perspective,” Klingler said. “We all need to jump in with both feet.” According to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), green buildings use 36 percent less energy and send less waste to landfills. There is more upfront cost, “but only 1-2 percent more than a conventional building,” he said. They also have a decreased operating cost, which increases the property’s value.

There needs to be an economic benefit. “Most people won’t go out of their way to be a good steward,” said Klingler, “but if it makes economic sense, they are willing to do so.”

He also cited the following statistics:

• 86 percent of homeowners want energy-efficient products.

• 85 percent of recent buyers of green homes are more satisfied with their purchase than people who bought conventional homes.

• 55 percent would pay more for energy-efficient home features.

• 78 percent said nobody talked to them about efficiency during the buying process.

Additional research showed that “married or previously married respondents seem to understand efficiency benefits more than single people,” he said; 77 percent said they look for the Energy Star® label. “Education is key to communicate the benefits to all demographics.”

The take-home message was that people are willing to go green, but not if it takes 30 years to recover the cost. There are plenty of HVAC- and plumbing-related solutions that fall well within what consumers would consider a reasonable payback period. The industry needs to do a better job of offering them.

Publication date: 05/11/2009