Cross posted from Tigercomm
Recently, Greentech Media (GTM) highlighted a new report by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and CNT Energy on the enormous potential for energy efficiency in the U.S. multi-family housing market to save money and electricity. GTM notes that the United States “has about 18 million apartments, condos and other dwellings in buildings of five units or more, representing nearly $22 billion a year in energy costs for building owners and residents alike.” And, “if existing best-practice utility efficiency programs could be expanded nationwide, the CNT-written, ACEEE-supported report finds, the country as a whole could realize a $3.4 billion-per-year benefit in increased energy savings – and that’s not counting improvements yet to come.”
That’s a significant potential for savings, as well as reductions in energy usage and pollution. The problem is that too few people know about the tremendous return on investment that energy efficiency can provide. This creates an opportunity for communicators to develop the right message about this value and communicate it to potential customers.
Of course, the potential for gains doesn’t always mean that they’re actually realized. As the above graphic illustrates, actualizing potential energy efficiency gains will require a number of actions. In its report, ACEEE discusses nine actions. The one that jumped out at us stressed the importance of utilities and energy service companies (ESCOs) engaging industry stakeholders – affordable housing developers, facilities managers of multi-family dwellings, public housing entities and housing advocates, etc.
From a marketing communications standpoint, we recommend several strategies including:
• Be clear: Develop a concise message of the value of efficiency for consumers;
• Be targeted: Identify the right stakeholders, then identify what sources of media (both on-and offline) are consumed by this audience;
• Be engaging: Establish an ongoing, two-way conversation with multi-family industry players and influentials through select social media platforms;
• Be a thought leader: Go after speaking opportunities, award nominations and article submissions to build awareness about the value of energy efficiency and your company’s market leadership; and,
• Be interesting: Package your information in attention-grabbing ways, like infographics or a data dashboard, and tie it back to the value of energy efficiency to increase SEO and drive earned media coverage.
Fortunately, some of this appears to be happening already. For instance, this article in the commercial/multi-family construction trade publication Building Design + Construction discusses the Atlanta Housing Authority’s (AHA’s) selection of Johnson Controls Inc. “to begin energy-efficiency upgrades to nearly 2,000 units across 13 senior residential care facilities,” part of an effort that “is expected to save AHA nearly $18 million over the next 20 years, and will be paid for by energy savings so that no upfront costs will be paid by the housing authority.”
Another example comes from Honeywell, which is leading a residential energy efficiency project in Minneapolis, as discussed in this article by Smart Planet. The story quotes the head of the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority (MPHA), Emilio Battaglio, and Honeywell’s Building Solutions Division President, Paul Orzeske, talking about the importance of communicating with consumers on the advantages of energy efficiency upgrades. Bettaglio, for instance, stresses that “MPHA tenants in these buildings are partners in this deal,” and that MPHA is “developing training for them to elevate [their] level of awareness” and make them “more conscious about [energy] consumption.” For his part, Orzeske stresses the need for “not only empowering residents to use the technology but [also] educating them on why changes in behavior are important.”
As you can see from these examples, energy efficiency gains in multi-family housing units can be a win-win for everybody involved. The companies that will be poised to win market share are the ones that develop an aggressive and creative plan to communicate the value of energy efficiency to consumers.