Art of selling high performance hinges on investment balance

| by Steve Arel
Art of selling high performance hinges on investment balance

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ATLANTA – The bridge between niche and commonplace for the world of high-performance construction in large part hinges on the ability of builders to entice prospective owners to literally buy in.

Business models don’t succeed without sales. So it’s critical that builders work with clients to make ownership of a high-performance home or building affordable.

That means helping customers pinpoint how best to spend the money they have to achieve the greatest efficiencies, John Rahill told attendees at last week’s Energy & Environmental Building Alliance (EEBA)High PerformanceHome Summit. He recommends that builders work to balance customers’ investments through energy modeling, a method that compares various efficiency techniques and forecasts anticipated payback periods and values.

“For almost everybody, funds are limited,” Rahill, an architect with Black River Design, said during the seminar titled “Balancing Your Energy Investments When Funds are Limited.” “Even people with a lot of money are smart about how they spend it.”

While high-performance builders use a host of techniques and strategies to achieve efficiencies, not all experience quick paybacks. Some take a few years, others take decades.

Rahill offered the following recommendations for balancing investments:

  • Balance how the investment is being assessed. Within energy modeling, put a cost on each type of energy improvement.
  • Define a good investment. For instance, insulation levels should be pushed as much as possible to seal and solidify the thermal envelope, but at some point, excessive inches of insulation fail to produce much savings.
  • Balance the approach toward achieving energy efficiency. Should more money go toward insulation or glazed windows?

While a builder might envision how he or she believes a high-performance facility should take shape and advocate features it should include, the prospective buyer, ultimately, must determine the best investment for them, Rahill said. That, of course, will vary from buyer to buyer and be based on their budget and anticipated return on investment.

“You can still be an enthusiast for saving money by not putting money one place and putting it in another,” he said. “We have tools to balance investments to use energy savings dollars the most economically.”


Topics: Architectural Firms, Associations / Organizations, Building Owners and Managers, Construction Firms, Consulting - Green & Sustainable Strategies and Solutions

Companies: EEBA

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