ACI Highlights - Part 2

Posted by Pat Colburn on April 05, 2011

Along with the insights of Merrian Fuller of which I highlighted in the previous blog, below are further standouts from the ACI conference in San Francisco last week.

Steve Ellison of ICF International consulting company provided some sound advice on identifying clients. When you think of your ideal client, you should consider the following:

  • Age of the house (pre 1978 = lead, asbestos)
  • Occupant characteristics such as age, married with children, household income, etc. (children = health concerns / higher income = more $ for upgrade)
  • Home values in the neighborhood (higher value = more $ for upgrade)
  • Fuels used (all electric = no CAZ)
  • House characteristics such as square footage, foundation, etc. (identify the configuration that fits the experience and skills of you and your team) is a tremendous tool by which to locate your target neighborhood. It’s scary how much information is on this website. After a cursory browse through the mind boggling list of data, go to the Neighborhoods section where in a one 0.5 square mile neighborhood within one zip code, I could identify the percentage of residents who: used electricity/gas to heat, average value of the home, married couple families with children, people with doctorate/masters degrees, females/males in management/healthcare/education occupations, median year house was built, and on and on, by the BLOCK! I can cursor over each of the 60 blocks in this neighborhood for this information. Scrolling down the page, I can see graphs illustrating how this neighborhood compares with the rest of the zip code in terms of educational attainment, occupations, home values and age, etc. Some of the data is a few years old, but it still provides a valuable way to target your optimum client.

Once you’ve identified your client block or neighborhood, you can walk the area and drop off your marketing materials, or you could use a reverse directory or partner with a local realtor who can provide names and addresses for your mailings. Just remember the “three-time convincer” concept.

It’s always a pleasure to hear Dave Robinson of Green Earth Equities who is the Master of “Energy-Wise House Flipping”. While I could write pages about his session, you should just visit his website where he shares everything you need to know to “Save the Plant, One Foreclosed House at a Time.”

If you’re in this industry to make a difference, consider incorporating other energy efficiency aspects into your life and business as well. Of the 2,000 attendees last week, I saw only a couple of people who brought their own coffee cup. How many paper cups did you use last week?

Since it takes more energy to manufacture paper from trees, specify post consumer content when you order your printed supplies (100% is best). Not only will you be saving energy, but you’ll increase the secondary materials market. offers 100% post consumer paper, easy design tools and quick turnaround for cheap.

Pat Colburn, formerly Director of Support Services for the CBPCA, also has a background in project management, lighting retrofits and solid waste/recycling.

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