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Unlocking the potential of market transformation in home energy efficiency requires a nuanced approach, and at the heart of this endeavor are the homeowners themselves.

We're delving into the complexities of home energy efficiency, focusing on understanding homeowners' diverse needs and exploring effective engagement strategies.

Understanding Homeowner Diversity

Rachel Davis, VP of Product at Pearl Certification, emphasizes recognizing homeowners as a diverse group with varied needs and priorities. States must tailor their approach to each segment, from first-time buyers to those downsizing or seeking energy-efficient upgrades.

"Homeowners may be younger and looking to add space or new features,” Davis said. “They may be buying their first home in the form of a condo or townhome. Or they may be downsizing as children leave or preparing to age in place. The list goes on almost infinitely — but what matters first and foremost is that states understand that ‘homeowners’ is not a segment unto itself, any more than ‘consumers’ is. Rather, it’s an umbrella covering many segments, each with its own challenges, concerns, and priorities.”

Data-Driven Insights

To effectively engage an audience as large and diverse as U.S. homeowners, states should look to the means and methods exercised by today’s consumer whisperers — digital marketers. Deanna Cioppa, Senior Director of Corporate Marketing & Communications at Pearl Certification, suggests leveraging technology to find where homeowners are consuming content today and “listen” to their questions.

“Where do they live online? What digital channels do they turn to and trust when, say, they’re ready to buy or when they’re considering a high-performance upgrade?" Cioppa asks. "Are they getting their information primarily from peers on social media outlets, or do they seem to trust government or nonprofit sources more? What blogs or publications do they read and rely on?”

Tools typically used for search engine optimization (SEO) and social media analysis are a good place to start because they’re designed to reveal consumer preferences and unanswered questions. They range in price from free or nearly free to several thousands of dollars per year. Cioppa suggests platforms like AHREFS, SEMRush, and Buzzsumo.

Real-World Listening

While digital tools offer valuable macro-level insights, states should validate their findings through real-world interactions. Industry professionals, including real estate agents, contractors, and homeowners, provide on-the-ground perspectives that complement digital data.

"Once they acknowledge that the homeowner audience isn’t a monolith and they’re ready to try to understand who each of those segments are and what they want, the next step is gathering data,” said Cioppa.

Simplifying Education

Education is a crucial component of any homeowner outreach strategy. The challenge is today’s homeowners are often short on time and long on information sources. So states who want to cut through the noise must simplify complex topics like energy efficiency and home performance.

“Once you’ve identified homeowner segments and determined the right messaging for each stage of their journey, there’s still the challenge of educating time-starved people on these complex topics," Davis said. "Remember, homeowners aren’t energy efficiency experts, so reams of data and proof points aren’t likely to be effective.”

The Role of Home Certifications

In a world inundated with information, home certifications provide an opportunity for focused and clear messaging for homeowners. Providing a rubric based on data-backed insights, certifications answer critical questions about equipment quality, installation, and overall investment impact on home value, indoor air quality, and cost savings.

A certification is most effective if it helps answer questions about the experience of living in a home. In practice, this means providing information about the home’s features and translating these features into the language of benefits. Households need to understand the connection between efficiency and electrification upgrades and the health, comfort, and energy savings benefits they provide.

“Because they’re not experts in energy efficiency or home valuation, homeowners need a rubric that tells them not only what is or is not more efficient but also what will or will not increase the overall value of their home,” Cioppa said.

Key Takeaways

  • Segment Education Campaigns: Tailor education for diverse homeowner segments, emphasizing benefits like health, energy savings, and increased home value.

  • Effective Homeowner Engagement: Recognize homeowners' diversity, embrace digital strategies, and combine online insights with real-world feedback.

  • Leverage Home Certification: Home certifications provide clarity in a world of information overload. Encourage partnerships for clear certifications and develop materials emphasizing tangible benefits.

States embarking on the journey of market transformation for homeowners must navigate a diverse landscape. By understanding homeowner segments, adopting data-driven insights, engaging in real-world listening, simplifying education, and leveraging home certifications, states can pave the way for a successful and sustainable energy-efficient future.

For more insights into formulating market transformation plans and developing effective strategies, access "The Pearl Certification Playbook for the Marketplace" here.

About Pearl Certification

Pearl Certification is the gold standard in high-performing home certifications, bringing visibility to the valuable features that make them healthy, safe, comfortable, and energy- and water-efficient. Now a Public Benefit Corporation, Pearl is the only national sponsor of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® program and partners with the National Association of REALTORS® Green Resource Council.


Pearl Certification is transforming the housing market. We’re making a visible difference nationwide for homeowners and the businesses that serve them.