Manufacturers and product distributors also exert profound influences on the use of energy
efficient, renewable energy and other climate friendly products in buildings by controlling the supply of
building products and materials. Their product selections and choice of geographic markets for product
distribution determine the availability and ease of access to climate friendly options.
The realty, financial, and insurance industries also can considerably influence the uptake of
energy efficient and climate friendly building products. The realty industry is considerably decentralized,
although recent trends in national franchising of local offices may afford the opportunity for improving
information dissemination through realty channels. The federal refinancing agencies, Fanny Mae and
Freddie Mac, offer additional information advantages by virtue of their large share of the market. Both now
support energy efficient residential mortgages; however, this lever is substantially underutilized perhaps
because of cumbersome requirements for participation.
The insurance industry also could become a
powerful advocate of low GHG buildings in response to the increased property damage liabilities it could
suffer as the result of extreme climatic events associated with global warming.
Finally, energy suppliers, energy service companies,
and their regulators represent additional
players that have been instrumental in motivating and enabling energy efficiency improvements in build
ings. With the restructuring of electricity markets, electric utilities face little incentive to promote energy
efficiency, and as a result their impact in the demand side management arena has shifted to involvement
in public benefits programs (see Section VI). Over the past decade, energy service companies have
become important players in delivering energy efficiency upgrades to industrial and commercial markets
and government facilities through the use of energy saving performance contracting. Since its inception in
the late 1970s, the energy service industry has installed an estimated $2 billion in projects.
An example of how multiple decision makers thwart the innovation process is provided by a
recent Rand Report:
A homebuyer may request that the builder use a new building material that he or she read
about on the Internet. However, the builder may resist if the innovation's costs, benefits, or risks
are unfamiliar; if trade contractors do not know how to install it; and if suppliers do not stock it.
Finally, builders may also resist if they fear that code inspectors will not allow it.
Understanding the complexities of such decision making is critical to the design of effective
Towards a Climate Friendly