My experience has shown that focusing on payback is usually one of the least effective ways to motivate homeowners to invest in projects that save energy. Other motivators like comfort, healthier homes, lower bills (yes, that’s a different message than payback!), and sometimes even environmental messages resonate better and help encourage people to sign on the dotted line and open their check books.
A new study by Reuven Sussman and Maxine Chikumbo at ACEEE, “How to Talk about Home Energy Upgrades“, seems to validate that with some experimental findings. In that study, payback was the poorest performing message. The report is worth a read.
And it’s also worth reconsidering how you talk about projects. If you emphasize payback above other messages by default, you might want to reconsider.