- Sell something people want: identify an issue such as health, financial savings, energy security or comfort to attract public interest;
- Target the audience and tailor messages accordingly. A blanket marketing campaign won't work;
- Partner with local organizations and local leaders, and build on existing relationships;
- Language is powerful: avoid using words such as "retrofit" and "audit." Focus instead on concrete examples, personalize the material and frame statements in terms of loss rather than gain;
- Contractors can be used as program ambassadors;
- Make it easy, make it fast: package incentives, minimize paperwork and pre-approved contractors;
- Repeat the message: advertising studies show that people need to be hit with a message at least three times before being convinced. Energy efficiency can be a tough sell because homeowners have to spend money to reap the benefits. Plan a multilayered campaign;
- Rebates, financing and other incentives do matter;
- A well-qualified workforce is essential: promoting a program before contractors can handle the workload leads to disgruntled customers;
- Be patient: programs need to last for more than a year or two to be successful;
- Use pilot programs to test strategies.
Lawrence Berkeley's report came out one day after Vice President Joe Biden unveiled a new federal program that offers certified contractors new software to show how much energy homeowners are wasting and to offer low-cost financing to finance improvements.
Dubbed "Recovery Through Retrofit" (thus going against the recommendation listed above to abandon the phrase "retrofit"), the software produces an energy score for each homeowner.