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When marketing home energy efficiency, does small equal success?


“Small is the new success story.”

KSV attended the Behavior, Energy and Climate Change conference in Washington D.C. a few weeks ago, and it got us thinking about energy efficiency programs, and how to market them effectively.

One of the threads we heard again and again was that people were having success, all over the country (and beyond!), using small-scale pilot programs to invigorate their home performance energy programs. Here in Vermont, we’ve seen our partner Efficiency Vermont have successes with this approach as well, through their Open Homes series.

Here are a few of the insights we heard at BECC about how to go about making a pilot home performance program a success:

1. Have a “local champion”. Whether it is your local weather person, the president of the town energy committee, or a local elected official, having a local champion who can do the process themselves and share their experience (good and bad), removes some of the fear for people, breaks down barriers, and reinforces the idea that a project like this is not financially out of reach.

2. Leverage your advocates. People feel a great deal of pride when they’ve gone through a home performance project, so giving them the opportunity to talk about that (whether that is in person, at an event, or in your marketing) is leveraging one of your best assets.

3. Get your feet on the street. One impressive stat we heard from a speaker at BECC was that door-to-door response and retention rates were about two times as effective as mailed information.

So, is small the way to create success for your program? We think that bringing energy efficiency down to the community, or even to the neighborhood level may be the way to get higher participation rates and more savings for everyone. And if you want to talk energy efficiency, BECC insights, or home performance, just give us a call.

2 Responses to “When marketing home energy efficiency, does small equal success?”

  1. Bernadette Doolan says:

    Great insights-Thanks for sharing.Really enjoyed the BECC conference this year.

    One thing I would add. If you do a pilot, make sure you design it with the full intention to scale up. If successful, you will want to impact a larger audience, but it would only work again if all your components are included.

  2. Ryan Russell says:


    I particularly liked what you said in #1. I think having an advocate like this, especially one like the weather person who is “not financially out of reach,” is a wonderful way of leveraging the idea of energy efficiency. So often energy efficiency is incorrectly associated with high up front costs or only for people who are active in the “sustainability” community. At worst, it can even be politicized. A neutral, trusted source like a weather person, pastor or religious leader, or the local high school principal breaks down the walls of politics, financial practicality, and accessiblility. Groups like Efficiency Vermont have done a great job with this by providing interactivity on their website, accessibility with the Open Homes program, and emphasizing financial savings by offering deals and showcasing savings throughout all of their channels.

    I think meeting the consumer where they are is critical and “thinking small” is a very appropriate way to term this. Leveraging emerging social media sites to such as Pintrest and Instagram to further put efficiency ideas and designs within reach of home owners and designers is a great way I think groups like Efficiency Vermont can “think small” in order have maximum reach. Connecting the client to the consumer requires taking large ideas like reducing greenhouse gasses as a nation and making them practical, like purchasing Energy Star appliances or having a home energy audit. Thinking small to think big is always a great idea!

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