Replace Green With Eco-Friendly: Here's Why
March 18, 2016
When it comes to marketing the value of environmentally friendly homes, you’ll want to watch your words. They can make a big difference in how consumers perceive the value of the home -- even if some of the words mean the same thing.
Read more: Your Buyers Are Going Green
For example, homebuilders often use the word “green” to describe a house that is more environmentally friendly. Yet, consumers surveyed say that they perceive more value when they see the word “eco-friendly” instead.
Indeed, 68 percent of about 3,370 consumers who purchased a home in the last three years say they feel the most value comes from an “eco-friendly” home compared to 32 percent who said a “green” home offered more perceived value, according to the 2015 study on consumer preferences by the National Association of Home Builders.
Researchers also discovered other word preferences surface in describing sustainable products. For example, words like “comfortable” trump “livable,” the study found. Eighty-three percent of potential consumers say they find more value in a property that is marketed as “comfortable” over “livable.”
Other preferences that emerged:
- Use “environmentally friendly” rather than “green conscious."
- Use “energy efficient” house and not “high-efficiency” home."
- Use “water-saving” in place of “low-flow."
- Use “lower utility bills” instead of “reduced energy use."
- Use “healthy living environment” rather than “nontoxic materials."
"The industry throws around a lot of words consumers don't understand," Suzanne Shelton of the Shelton Group, a marketing and communications firm that focuses on energy and the environment, told the publication UExpress. Shelton notes, for example, that in her company’s studies the term “net zero” – which is used to describe a house that uses no energy – is a term that actually can “sound negative and registers negative” with home buyers.
Source: “Green Wordplay: What’s In a Name?” UExpress.com (March 11, 2016)
Updated: August 17, 2018