Follow Price Signals to a Green Revolution

Tom Friedman delivered an engaging keynote speech at USGBC’s Greenbuild last week in Toronto.  His message around the difference between a green party (“Yeah, we’re BP – Beyond Petroleum!”) and a green revolution was very inspiring.  His words fit right in with my presentation the next day on Driving Demand for Energy Efficient Homes, and GreenMLS.

EcoHome Magazine recapped his points about a green revolution:

The revolution will be here, he said, when three things happen. First, as in the IT revolution that changed technology and computing, companies will have to change or perish. Second, the name of the movement will change: Attendees’ goal should be to get rid of the word “green,” he said, so that it’s not called green building, but simply building.

Finally, he said, a price signal matters even more to the green revolution than it did to the IT revolution. One weakness of the green revolution, he explained, is that consumers get the same heating and cooling and the same light from more efficient technologies. Cell phones, by comparison, were life-altering—consumers would pay more for the opportunity to stay connected outside the home. Solar-powered lighting doesn’t have that power. We already have light, he said, and we don’t care where it comes from.

“Without a price signal, we do not get long-term, fixed demand,” Friedman said. “We only get government push.”

What are you doing to create price signals that will lead to a green revolution?

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