Years ago, if someone called you “green,” they were mocking you for being inexperienced. Today, in consumer electronics, not much has changed. Being “green” describes our industry inexperience and lack of concern toward energy savings.
If I asked many of you to describe the power consumption of a 42” plasma versus a 60” rear-projection set, you probably would not know. Our role has not been one of selling, recommending or even mentioning products that are more efficient and use less energy than other products. Rather, it has been selling neat video displays, digital sound and automation to customers that want to buy cool technology.
In a short survey I recently gave, I asked two questions:
1. Are your customers requesting energy-efficient products?
2. What impact has “greening” had on the operations of your business?
The answer to the first question was that customers are not asking for products or systems that are energy-efficient. Why not? Because unlike other industries, the consumer electronics industry has not been promoting energy efficiency. For example, the air conditioning industry has given consumers real choices by using the SEER numbering system to allow comparison shopping by consumers. A higher SEER number is more efficient. Easy and understandable.
The answer to the second question was mixed. Clearly, fuel costs are having an impact, and most companies are looking at the gas mileage on their delivery vehicles. Additionally, many dealers are required to recycle paper products, plastics and metals. From the responses, it was clear that consumers are not demanding green products when shopping for electronics, which puts little pressure on dealers, installers and manufacturers.
Still, as consumer electronics professionals, we have the moral and ethical obligation to lower our collective carbon footprint and provide quality green options and business practices to our customers. So what can you do as a custom retailer to go green?