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Marketing sustainability with the Green Deal

At the recent CIMCIG seminar entitled Marketing Sustainability in Construction, we heard about a lot of issues that construction marketers need to address in respect of the ‘green’ opportunities.

The one that stood out for me is that the Green Deal will be with us in less than 18 months and we don’t really know the crucial detail of what it is and how it will work.

Quite frightening stuff when you think about the amount of money that will be spent on ‘green work’. Do we have the capacity? Do we have the ability to supply? And do we have the skills to specify it correctly and then install it effectively?

I would say that the answer is no. But I was extremely encouraged by the attitude of Federation of Master Builders (FMB) director Brian Berry, who applauds the government for giving us a deadline that we can work to. His view is that industry and the supply chain will do what it needs to do to be ready.

And the FMB is doing some great work to spread the word with their members to gear up their skills sets to take advantage of the opportunities.

In my view this, is exactly the right thing that responsible builders must do if they are to win the work. As a potential consumer of new technologies, I want to know that the people installing the bit of kit on my roof know what they are doing.

So I for one will be looking to the FMB to create the standards and get their members on board.

And this is with the backdrop of some new research carried out by Consumer Focus in its report Green Deal or No Deal? that found: “Consumer confidence in the energy and housing markets and in home maintenance services is lower than other markets.

“Our research shows consumers have lost trust in authority and are influenced the most by the media and by friends and family.

“They believe they have limited impact on climate change, and tend to reduce energy bills by turning down the heating or wearing more clothes rather than investing in energy-efficiency measures.

“We think a range of approaches is required to meet the needs of different consumers as well as all housing types and tenures, and the way forward must be clear to all.

“As every consumer is unique, like any new product or service, the Green Deal cannot expect to appeal to all consumers from day one.”

Looks like a marketing challenge to me!

The full report (which can be found here) looks at lessons from overseas and draws a wide range of interesting conclusions, particularly the call for “an effective complaints handling and redress scheme that works across the different industry sectors”.

Wonder which industry will be required to foot that bill?

So there we have it. A huge amount of money is to be made available to help sceptical consumers make energy saving improvements to their properties with an as yet untrained workforce and an unknown ability to supply!

CIMCIG will be playing its part in the challenge. Later this month we will be previewing this year’s CIMCIG report - Taking Sustainability to the Consumer - which will look at some of the mechanisms to achieve address these issues. For more details, visit the CIMCIG website.

Ian Exall is the marketing manager at shower manufacturer Aqualisa and a committee member of CIMCIG, the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s Construction Industry Group


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