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Learning, Understanding, Going Green

Originally published: 01.01.09 by Heather Onorati


The world is going green. No matter where we’re tuned in, we’re bombarded with messages on eco-friendly business solutions, clothing, toys, housewares, vacation spots; you name it. Everything references “going green.” So are hvac contractors listening? According to a recent survey conducted by NORDYNE, the answer is yes.

When asked about their plans for using green marketing 53 percent of contractors who responded said they currently use green in their sales calls. Another 28 percent said that green is something they are looking at in 2009, and 19 percent said their green movement will start in the next two to five years. 

Doug Jones, vice president marketing and sales for NORDYNE, says “green is a new way of selling, and like any new concept, you’re going to have early adopters as well as others who are hesitant to change. If a contractor is used to selling on price, he’s going to need to radically change his approach to sell on green.”

According to Tom Meyer, Executive Director, Green Mechanical Council, “green” means different things to different people. Some use it to imply energy efficient, some earth friendly, and to others, it means sustainable. He says that although people may get excited about

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the idea, few really understand the language of green. And, in order to sell green, you have to really understand and believe in the green concept. If you don’t understand it or believe it, how can you expect your customers to want to buy it? 

Jones agrees. He says, “Contractors who are passionate about conserving energy have a greater number of homeowners buying green.”

To develop that understanding and passion, you have to take the initiative to educate yourself, Meyers says. “If you don’t understand the language, you’re stuck.”

Meyers says there are a number of ways to educate yourself. For example, he points out that you can get equipment and technical training from vendors on specific pieces of equipment. You can join professional service organizations, such as the Green Mechanical Council, for additional information and support to help you validate the information that you are giving your customers. And, by using your network affiliations, you can find specialized support information outside of your local competitive area.

Listed below are some places through which you might begin your search for building your understanding of all things green in hvac. 

ASHRAE Engineering for sustainability

At this Web address, ASHRAE offers tips and resources on sustainability resources. 

For more information: www.engineeringforsustainability.org/ 

Green Contractors

This is a section of the Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA) Web site and is a collaborative effort with Mechanical Service Contractors of America (MSCA) and the Plumbing Contractors of America (PCA). 

The Web site offers resources, education and news in an effort to help educate member contractors and their employees on the green concept; green building and alternative energy project opportunities; resources for building your capabilities; as well as federal, state and local mandates.

For more information: www.greencontractors.us 

GreenCollarEdu.net/SchoolofGreen.net

These two Web sites are online education resources for anyone in industries involved in green building. Together, these online resources provide assessments, reviews, education courses, and various programs for those in the green building industries

For more information: www.GreenCollarEdu.net; www.SchoolofGreen.net

Green Mechanical Council

The Green Mechanical Council works to educate contractors, field technicians, and industry leaders about creating and maintaining environmentally sound residential and commercial mechanical systems. In addition, the Council offers a presentation called GreenSpeak®: The Language and Culture of Green. It is an orientation to the green culture and vocabulary. 

For more information: www.greenmech.org; www.greenmech.org/GreenSpeak/GreenSpeak.htm

Partnership for Environmental Leadership/HVAC Mobile Green Classroom

This is a collaborative educational effort between The United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States and Canada (UA); Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA); Mechanical Service Contractors of America (MSCA); Plumbing Contractors of America (PCA); United States Green Building Council (USGBC); and the Green Mechanical Council. 

The group shares resources for promoting educational training in sustainable mechanical service and construction. The Mobile Green Classroom provides information about the latest green technologies being used in mechanical service and construction.  

For more information: www.hvacgreen.net 

U.S. Green Building Council

The U.S. Green Building Council is a non-profit group committed to expanding sustainable building practices. The group offers Leadership Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) professional accreditation, workshops and reference guides, as well as opportunities for continuing education.

For more information: www.usgbc.org

Read more on marketing green.


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