Thursday, September 3, 2009

NeighborWorks America Represented at the 2009 National Conference on Volunteering & Service

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New Study Shatters Myths About Green Consumers

Conventional wisdom has been that the environment is the top concern of green consumers, but according to a new national study, it’s actually the economy. The study, conducted by a Knoxville, Tennessee firm Shelton Group, polled 1,007 U.S. consumers who at least occasionally buy green products. The group says the results shatters six stereotypes commonly held about what motivates consumers to buy green.

One myth debunked by the study: Green consumers’ top concern is the environment. However, 59 percent of those polled identified the economy as their number one concern, with the environment trailing far behind at 8 percent. In addition, more than 73 percent chose to reduce their energy consumption to lower their bills rather than "save the planet."

In the affordable housing industry, this confirms the importance of building green homes in the current economic environment. The study also has implications for how those green homes are marketed to buyers. While a home’s LEED certification or use of earth friendly building materials are very important, touting the cost savings of owning a green home might be a stronger hook for some homebuyers.

This does not mean that efforts to educate the public on the environment should be abandoned. In fact the study found that individuals who were knowledgeable about environmental issues do tend to participate in a significantly higher average number of green activities.

However, among those 25-34 years old, this knowledge did not always lead to eco-conscious behavior, such as conserving electricity or buying energy efficient products for the home. This suggests that perhaps better targeted messages might lead to more people buying and living green.

Read more about the Six Myths of Green Consumers in EcoHome Magazine.