We have all seen contractors wrinkle their noses when the topic of "green" is introduced into a conversation. Why is it that so many of us contractors quickly change the subject when we feel green closing in on us? Have the friends of the environment pushed way too hard and accomplished way too little in the eyes of the typical HVAC contractor? That’s what I hear.

But, like it or not, being green is here to stay for a season. Why not take a fresh look at it and find a way to deliver the greenest systems in the country and make the most green we can earn. The green movement is preparing our customers to want more and spend more. The bottom line is that we can capitalize on endless marketing and news and use it to our advantage.

When it gets down to it, many are making way more "save some energy" noise than we are, but fewer anywhere are actually "saving more energy" than we are.

I monitored a distinguished panel discussion at the National Comfort Team Summit in Florida a couple of weeks ago. Those of us there enjoyed a number of interesting points that were made about how our industry can embrace this new opportunity.

What is Your Personal View?
Most of us are so tired of 30 years on environmental talk that we probably haven’t taken the subject seriously in the last 29 years. But I know many contractors who have overcome their prejudice of this subject and have worked carefully to adapt a healthy personal view of this opportunity and have profited handsomely from it.

Perhaps if you could review the questions listed below and answer them honestly, it could do much to help you determine what shade of green you really are. Forget the hype that makes the news and internet. Spend some time looking at this green issue and made some firm decisions about your stance on the subject. Most importantly, move past what everyone else tells you to feel and believe and come to grips with the contributions you are making for the good of our environment.

  • What does being "green" mean to you personally?
  • Does high efficiency equipment alone achieve the green goal?
  • Why should I care about being environmentally friendly?
  • What environmental mandates might the government strap on our backs in the future? Is this the straw that could break your company?
  • How can you promote being environmentally friendly while not appearing to join the "tree hugger" movement?
  • What do you think of when it comes to being environmentally responsible?
  • Write your version of how you could present your version of being environmentally responsible in a 30 second elevator ride.
  • How should you present green customers? It is an extremely important issue to many of them.
  • How can you best present your environmental achievements to your customers through marketing?
  • Is it important for you to promote the company’s green position to your employees?
  • Now, considering your answers to the questions above, could you write out a first draft of an official Environmental Statement for your company?
As you look to the future, you can bet that it is time to come to grips with this change coming our way. At a minimum it’s clear that a percentage of your customers will be looking at you through green colored glasses as they decide to do b usiness in the future.

Rob "Doc" Falke serves the industry as president of National Comfort Institute a training company specializing in measuring, rating, improving and verifying HVAC system performance. You can contact Doc at robf@ncihvac.com or call him at 800/633-7058. Go to NCI’s website at nationalcomfortinstitute.com for free information, technical and sales articles and downloads.