A new approach for selling green buildings and green retrofits

This doesn't look like green building. But his story will help sell them.

This doesn’t look like green building. But his story will help sell them.

Green buildings make their occupants happier and more profitable and are worth more. How come every new building isn’t green? How come every existing building isn’t getting a green retrofit?

The message isn’t getting through because of the way our brains process information. To summarize:

  • Thinking requires a lot of oxygen and calories.
  • To prevent exhaustion the brain filters out most incoming data.
  • Most is routed to the subconscious and processed there.
  • Conscious thinking is only engaged on exceptional things.

So how do we overcome our own defenses? Here’s a 3-step solution.

  1. Reframe the story.
  2. Find a respected community leader to re-tell the story
  3. Repeat, repeat, repeat

Let me give a simple example based on my own experience. I’m a skier and follow downhill ski racing. For a long time I only cared about who finished 1st, 2nd or 3rd. Then I changed my mind. Here is how it happened.

Reframe the story. I read a book by a retired racer. He explained that the difference between 1st and 15th is less than a tenth of second. That’s time it takes to blink 2 or 3 times. That’s incredibly close after racing 3.5 kilometers (2.5 miles) at 150 km/h (92 mph). Reframing showed that my focus on 1st, 2nd and 3rd made no sense.

Messages need messengers. The person who explained this was himself a world champion. At the time he was the first non-European ever to win the downhill championship. Plus he’s Canadian, as am I. All this credibility and personal identification has been proven to help new facts slip past the old guard.

Repeat, repeat, repeat. We are bombarded with more information than any creature that has ever existed in the 4 billion years that earth has circled the sun. This racer likely said these  things before and I follow racing news. But I only came across the story after he retired and wrote an autobiography.


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