Study finds homeowners want practical green

Information gathered from the Home Improvement Research Institute indicates that today, key values and financial gain are the defining characteristics in determining consumers' levels of interest in green products.

NORTH OLMSTED, OHIO — Think that green is a dead trend and that the recession has deterred homeowners from green practices? Think again. Information gathered from the Home Improvement Research Institute and analyzed by Jack Suvak, Moen Inc.’s senior director, research and insights, indicates that today, key values and financial gain are the defining characteristics in determining consumers' levels of interest in green products.

These findings have led Suvak to the phrase, “Green is Dead, Long Live Green.”

Today’s consumers want green that is convenient, cost-effective and that doesn’t sacrifice performance. The notion that the recession has stalled the green movement is not quite an accurate assessment. What has surfaced is a new pragmatism about the environment that embraces restraint, simplicity and cost-savings. As a result, consumers are re-evaluating what green really means.

“Today’s green consumers are extremely savvy. They’re not a niche group, looking to personally save the environment … instead, they’re smarter about what they buy and are looking for a direct return on investment through energy and utility savings … the green bottom line,” added Suvak. “They are taking very practical steps to buying and to managing their environmental commitment.”

How does a more pragmatic green consumer feel about home improvement?

• Waste Naught: Today’s consumer expects a lot more from what they buy, and they want it to last. Savvy green consumers know the long-term cost of buying less expensive, lower quality products that will need repair or replacement more often, which leads to increased waste.
• My Personal Biosphere: Consumers want it “all about me,” even when it comes to green. They want it first to be “good for me,” then “good for my family,” and finally “good for the planet.”
• Deconstruct to Reconstruct: Rather than looking to start a home improvement project from scratch; they’re thinking about how to start a new project which incorporates materials and furniture they may already have on-hand. Since materials are already part of the home environment, homeowners are working a little old in with new.

Many consumers have already taken meaningful steps to reduce their energy and water consumption, and plan on taking more in the future: based on research conducted by the Home Improvement Research Institute, 69% have put in high-efficiency lighting, 52% have purchased high-efficiency appliances, and 47% have installed low-flow or water-efficient equipment (i.e., showerheads and faucets).

“Consumers may be thinking more about the ‘green’ in their wallets than being green,” noted Suvak. “However, they will continue to embrace products that meet both their individual and environmental needs.”

The Futures Co. conducted the research, the 2011 Consumer Trends Study, for the Home Improvement Research Institute.

Additional information about Moen is available at moen.com.

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