How to Sell Green Upgrades: Electrical Improvements
Part 5 of a series explaining the art of selling upgrades to environmentally conscious customers
I have three favorite electrical enhancements I love to sell homeowners. There's also a fourth option that can be a little bit tricky. All these options provide the client with value, and all are more cost-effective in new construction than they would be in a remodel.
First, let me remind you that “selling” is not a bad word. I like showing folks their options, empowering them with information, and letting them buy what’s right for them. In fact, I feel I owe it to them to provide this information. After all, they expect me to share the results of my education, my experience, my expertise of the industry, and my knowledge of trends. Nobody wants built-in obsolescence, so you should help future-proof your clients' homes by sharing some of these green electrical enhancement options.
The first green upgrade is to install electrical receptacles in the soffits that are all controlled by a predetermined number of switches.
Anyone who installs holiday lights (for Christmas or otherwise) will enjoy the convenience of controlling the decorations by lights switches and reducing the number of required extension cords. It's a great convenience that many clients will gladly pay for. And because all of us have at some point skipped the effort of going outside to unplug the lights, this green upgrade will also save energy.
A charging station for an electric car
Second, prewire the garage for a future charging station for an electric car. That’s exactly what we are doing in our most recent home (LEEDLeadership in Energy and Environmental Design. LEED for Homes is the residential green building program from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). While this program is primarily designed for and applicable to new home projects, major gut rehabs can qualify. Silver) and the line item was only a few hundred dollars.
HOW TO SELL GREEN UPGRADES
Talk about future-proofing! If you do not think your clients will be driving an electric car in your lifetime you are likely long in tooth or very short on vision! The green benefits are clear that by building this infrastructure into the home in today’s dollars (which are cheap) and so is the additional profit you make.
Prewiring for a PV array
Another favorite is prewiring the roof for a future photovoltaic(PV) Generation of electricity directly from sunlight. A photovoltaic cell has no moving parts; electrons are energized by sunlight and result in current flow. (PV) array.
It’s hard to believe, but even today there are still many builders who do not offer this option. It may entail some additional framing work to future-proof the roof for PV, but in all likelihood you will only need an electrician to complete this enhancement. Again, another few hundred dollars added to your bottom line, and an upgrade your client will love you for in a couple years when they decide to get the solar panels installed after all!
A master kill switch
And finally, an option that is not for the faint of heart: it's possible to diagram your rooms so that a single switch can shut of a predetermined number of receptacles.The idea is to install a switch near an exterior door so that the homeowner can shut off most of the home's plug loads when leaving the house.
However, because of the design time required and advance lifestyle planning involved, you must be sure to charge enough for this upgrade. Prep your client in advance. As a concept, it sounds nice, but the first time they flip the switch and their computer, radio, and alarm clock all turn off and have to be reset or rebooted, they are going to be pretty annoyed. And it sure won’t work in the kitchen where you could be shutting off the refrigerator!
These upgrades will improve your bottom line. In today’s economy, we all need whatever bump we can get. These individual items give your clients a little peace of mind, a bit of energy savings, and considerable convenience. Collectively, however, they add up to a better wired, high-performance home designed and built to embrace the future.
- Duncan Rawlinson - www.photographyicon.com
Jun 27, 2011 9:14 AM ET
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