MCKinsey: Not Everyone Buys Energy-Efficiency

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“Paradoxical though it may seem, it doesn’t make sense for a campaign seeking broader consumer engagement on energy efficiency to focus on the environment.” So state the McKinsey consultant authors of an article “Giving US energy efficiency a jolt”.

I don’t think it seems paradoxical at all, but many utility and other energy-efficiency program folks would do well to take note. People have a wide variety of different motivators, and saving energy (or protecting the environment) isn’t the primary motivator for most. According to the authors, if you just beat the energy saving drum, you’ll hit about 20% of the population, but miss the other 80%. The would be a mistake. Most of the other 80% will buy energy efficiency if you give them the right reasons to.  Their reasons, not yours.

Cold beer and hot showers. Comfortable bedrooms and less mold in the bathroom. Less dust. Less noise for outside. All these are among the many things people will pay for. And we can increase efficiency and save energy delivering those benefits. So let’s do it.

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About the Author:

Mike Rogers is the President of OmStout Consulting. A nationally recognized expert in residential energy-efficiency, he works with contractors and programs to scale sustainable market approaches to improving homes. More on Google+


  1. Peter Troast  January 8, 2014

    Mike–I’d also point out how positive this research is: a full 80% are approachable on energy efficiency issues provided, as you point out, that the message is right. And the size of the “green” category is also substantial at 20%. All in, very good news. We wrote about it in this post:

    • Mike Rogers  January 8, 2014

      Thanks, Peter. Nice post pointing to the market segmentation implications.


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