Home professionals have a large network of clients. Since these professionals are in a position to make recommendations to a large group of people, are they obligated to suggest choices that have a larger impact, such as going green? Is it a professional’s responsibility to work a cause into his business plan, using his client base to affect positive change?
Our Blog-Off experts give us the final word on this controversial question…
The Big Question
• Since home professionals are in the position to potentially influence a large group of people (their clients), do you think they have an obligation to evangelize going green? Do you think there is “pressure” to do this? If so, do you think this pressure is justified?
• How do you incorporate green suggestions into your business? Do you “practice what you preach” in your own daily lives?
The Experts Weigh In
As you can see, the majority of our experts think professionals are NOT obligated to promote and support the green movement. Of course, not everyone agreed. Let’s take a closer look at what our experts thought about the issue:
The Expert Opinion: Professionals are NOT Obligated
Though all of our experts agreed that the green movement is a great cause, they strongly disagreed as to when it is appropriate to make green suggestions. For the majority of our experts, they do not think home professionals are obligated to support and promote the green movement. They believe there is a time and place to make green recommendations, and it is dictated by the client.
Though the world’s citizens have come a long way toward living a greener lifestyle, there is still a lot of work to do. Many people haven’t fully adopted green habits, and it will be years, if not decades, before they do. “Going green” is still a relatively new concept when comparing the sheer volume of people who practice green living vs. those who don’t.
“…Improving our service is our goal. For some customers, this implicitly means ‘going green.’ However, to deny customers other options would be foolish.”
-Jeff Meyers, President of Mr. Electric
Since there is still such a large market of homeowners who are looking for conventional options, our experts believe it doesn’t make sense for a business to only cater to the green market.
“As an electrical company, improving our service is our goal,” Jeff Meyers, the President of Mr. Electric, explained. “For some customers, this [improving our service] implicitly means ‘going green.’ However, to deny customers other options would be foolish.”
According to our experts, customers dictate whether a business will be successful or not. Thus, they are in the driving seat when it comes to final decisions. If a customer wants green alternatives, a business owner should have recommendations at the ready. However, if they are not looking only for green options, that business better be ready to serve them, or else they will be missing the opportunity to make a sale.
“No-professionals do NOT have an obligation to support/promote any cause, trend or movement,” DeAnna Radaj of Bante Design said. “A business owner/professional should focus on THEIR company’s mission statement and what they excel at. Their only ‘obligation’ is to service their clients with products, services & information that they say they have/contract to do.”
“A business owner/professional should focus on THEIR company’s mission statement and what they excel at. Their only ‘obligation’ is to service their clients.”
-DeAnna Radaj, Owner of Bante Design
Now, you probably know by now our panel of Blog-Off experts include over 80 professionals from different backgrounds, including realtors, green experts, interior designers, contractors, and architects alike. We want to point out as a disclaimer that it was not all green experts who believe it is a professional’s responsibility to promote green living. Quite the contrary, most of our green experts believed in being business savvy over promoting any environmental agendas.
“You might think GreenHomes America would offer nothing but pure ‘greenness’ for our customers and cry out from the rooftops trying to convert the masses,” Jason Todd, Home Performance Training Manager of GreenHomes America, explained. “We work darned hard to educate consumers, but we temper it with focused and realistic goals.”
“You might think GreenHomes America would offer nothing but pure ‘greenness’ for our customers and cry out from the rooftops trying to convert the masses. We work darned hard to educate consumers, but we temper it with focused and realistic goals.”
-Jason Todd, Home Performance Training Manager at GreenHomes America
The Expert Opinion: Professionals ARE Obligated
The 31% of experts who believed professionals are responsible for promoting the green movement looked at the issue from an educational and moral standpoint.
“Because home professionals are in the best position to influence their clients, it is their responsibility to bring awareness to the homeowner about the potential negative impacts on the environment and possible alternatives to this as well,” stated Sohail Hassan of One Stop Green.
Since professionals have access to green information, our pro-side experts explained it is their duty to educate homeowners and make sure they have all the information necessary about green living. Going green is still a relatively new concept when compared to the conventional ways people have lived in the past, so a lot of homeowners simply don’t have the exposure to living green. Thus, it is up to home professionals to shed light on the issue.
“The question is a bit like asking a doctor whether or not they support healthy living…the short answer is yes!” Steve Robinson of Axios Architecture explained.
“The question is a bit like asking a doctor whether or not they support healthy living…the short answer is yes!”
-Steve Robinson, Owner of Axios Architecture
On the moral side, some experts explained that the green movement is essential to preserving the globe and ensuring we still have resources (such as our homes) in the future. Peter L. Mosca, a green realtor, explained that since our homes are the number one investment most of us will ever make in our lives, it is in our best interests to maintain it and ensure we still have the resources to keep it an asset in the future.
Other experts pointed out that since governments are making laws requiring homeowners and professionals to go green, it is no longer a question of “right from wrong,” but rather a question of “when and how.”
“Environmentally responsible design is of course an obligation for any one engaged in designing the built environment!” Katie Miller of Roomation stated.
“Environmentally responsible design is of course an obligation for any one engaged in designing the built environment!”
-Katie Miller, Owner of Roomations
The Bottom Line
Our experts’ majority opinion is clear: Professionals are NOT obligated to support the green movement. The client dictates what he/she wants. If it is green, professionals should show them green. If it is not, professional’s do not need to feel obligated to push them in a green direction. All home professionals are running a business, so it is best to be business savvy and please the customer rather than preach green and potentially lose clients.
However, all of our experts agreed that offering green alternatives diversifies a business’ services and can lead to a happier homeowner. As green living becomes more prevalent, homeowners will come to professionals looking for answers. It is up to the professional to make sure they are educated and not making faulty claims.
“Green comes in many shades and you must find your own shade.”
-Tanya Stock, Owner of Vida Verde Build
Tanya Stock of Vida Verde Build explains the green movement well: “green comes in many shades and you must find your own shade.” Going green is not black or white, there is a whole spectrum of ways homeowners can implement green into their lifestyle. Thus, it is important to educate yourself as a professional on the different “shades of green” in order to effectively help your clients. Avoid green washing tactics, where organizations make false claims to appear more green than they really are. If you are going to support green, make sure your claims are accurate. Green washing not only misguides homeowners, but it can hurt your brand. If you don’t want to support green, that’s okay, but then avoid the green differentiation angle.