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By Chris Westfall June 8,2010
The Six Best Ways for ESCs to Sell
Chris Westfall (firstname.lastname@example.org) is
the principal at Westfall and Associates LLC,
in Dallas, Texas.
A lot has been said about green initiatives,
but most of the dialogue is long on “green”
and short on “initiative.”
According to CEA data, 60 percent
of consumers want “green” purchases,
72 percent say they want energy-efficient
homes, and 70 percent are concerned
about energy costs. Yet, as few as seven
percent of homeowners actually invest in
energy-efficient systems. Is that because
we just can’t sell it?
George Velasquez, a principal at Integrisys,
recently installed an integrated AV
system in the first Gold-certified LEED
residence in Illinois. His team even developed
the LivSystem to fill a void in
the luxury energy management category.
From his perspective, green is not something
that you can separate from really
good design, and you shouldn’t even try.
“Products and pricing have evolved, and people are looking for solutions
to manage the inefficient and the unmanageable,” he said.
Power, like an alarm system, sunlight, amplification, or a DVD collection,
is something that needs to be harnessed and controlled. Using intelligent
tools, whether from Lutron, Control4, or their own, the Integrisys
ROI happens through smart programming: one button push (or one door
opening) results in several intelligent moves (lights, shades, volume, and
more), regardless of the product platform. Likewise when the room (or
the home) is unoccupied, a series of “smart” events takes place, automatically.
“People think that automation and integration are the same thing;
they are not,” Valasquez said. “Automation is where you tie the human
lifestyle to the integration.”
For the customer whose idea of energy management is “encouraging
the maids to recycle,” consideration for the environment falls on the systems
integrator. Your solution must demonstrate that the home manages the
unmanageable. It should also
help the environment, because
that’s what customers want.
While energy management
continues to evolve, a good
system design never goes out
of style. Here are my six steps
to solving the green mystery:
George Velasquez poses next to a touchscreen
showing his company’s LivSystem energy monitoring/
1 Don’t “go green.” Just enhance
the quality of life. No
one wants to become slave to
lifestyle choices that are perceived
as limiting and restrictive,
even if those choices are the “right thing to do.” Stick to “energy efficiency”
as a better reflection of what consumers want.
2 Focus on effective design. Electronics should be fun. Put the “fun” in
functional, and create effective and creative designs that astonish the client
and support the environment, because that feels good, too. Make sure that
energy efficiency is integrated throughout the job.
3 Little things mean a lot. Why install the biggest amplifier, when amps
tend to run more efficiently at higher outputs? Think about the value for
your customer, so they don’t have to surprise you with it later. Worried about
revenues on that smaller amp? Offset it with a handheld device, new keypad,
or outdoor speakers.
4 The power of prestige. The Ritz-Carlton just opened its second LEEDcertified
hotel in Lake Tahoe. Ferrari just introduced its new hybrid, based
on the 599GTB platform (it’s still got that V-12, but its carbon output is reduced
by 35 percent). Make sustainability a part of luxury; The Ritz-Carlton
did, and so should your clients.
5 Sic Buffy on your clients. Have you killed the vampire recently? Vampire
power, that is. Many times, you overcome vampire power through programming
and education. George Velazquez at Integrisys has several ways to attack
it, but he believes that granular arguments about vampire power are
“probably the wrong conversation.” Power management is baked into his
designs, so efficiency is pervasive.
6 Be smart about the smart
grid. Automating lights and
shades saves energy, but don’t
forget about the human element.
Create a design that allows
homeowners to live more
efficiently, maybe by adding
a handheld remote, a smart
UPS, or a single-button push
that works a series of in-home
automation features. Efficient
designs save both personal
and electrical energy, and that
solution feels good socially
(and financially) to the client.