BetterBuildings for Michigan conducts neighborhood "sweeps" that have already marketed the program's offerings to more than 11,000 homeowners in 27 targeted communities. Neighborhood sweeps are intensive, house-by-house mini-campaigns designed to convince homeowners to complete a home energy upgrade. The program hoped that behind every door was a family who felt that reducing energy use was the number one priority for their household, but BetterBuildings for Michigan discovered that energy efficiency wasn't yet on some homeowners' radars.
"I was surprised at how little people know about the benefits of energy efficiency," said Mary Templeton, program manager of BetterBuildings for Michigan. "We go into these targeted neighborhoods, and part of the work is to educate homeowners that efficiency is something they should be doing on a regular basis. You have to build their awareness first."
And build awareness is what BetterBuildings for Michigan aims to do. By partnering with established, trusted organizations in the communities where sweeps are conducted, BetterBuildings for Michigan is able to learn about the neighborhoods in advance of the sweeps, allowing the program to target its messages. Additionally, having a trusted local organization on its side has helped in connecting with homeowners who might otherwise not take the time to hear from a new program.
With more than 2,000 homeowners signed up to receive energy upgrades, BetterBuildings for Michigan continues to spread the word of energy efficiency with each knock on the door. Based on customer testimonials, what the program is doing is working. "This program is worth it!" says Edith Reed, an Oakdale resident who took advantage of the BetterBuildings for Michigan upgrades. "I was able to afford the improvements that needed to be done to save money, and my utility bills have gone down, my house is less drafty, and we're more comfortable." That's what energy efficiency is all about.