Recently, the folks at Grist tipped us off to some interesting new stats from the Consumer Price Index that show how prices of various commodities in the U.S. economy have changed over the past year.

We think that, for companies offering home performance and energy efficiency services, the story these numbers tell should be right up towards the front and center when conveying the benefits of energy efficiency improvements in buildings.

Why?

Energy costs are incredibly volatile, and home energy efficiency is the best alternative to worrying about volatile energy costs.

When energy is cheap, it can be all too easy to dismiss thoughts of energy efficiency improvements. The proposition gets more attractive when energy costs spike again. The problem is that we have no sure way to know when that will happen. The safe option is to invest in energy efficiency improvements now, so as to avoid getting caught off guard when costs rise again.

Here's a chart showing energy prices, food prices, and everything else over the past 6 months:

As you can see, energy is all over the map. If food prices were to fluctuate to the same extent as energy, we would certainly hear about it. There would be a rush to plant gardens, to find alternative food sources, and possibly to put regulations in place to control costs. With energy, have we simply gotten so used to the price volatility that we're desensitized? Well, we certainly shouldn't be.

Here's another chart that breaks down the costs of different energy sources: 

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Maybe it's because gasoline is the most volatile, that that's what we typically focus on. Electricity stays pretty level. But, of course, most North American homes aren't heated with electricity; they're heated with either natural gas or fuel oil. The price spikes of these energy sources, just over the past 6 months, highlight the need to fix our homes so that we're insulated from this price volatility.

So, are visitors to your site aware of how your services can help protect them from high energy prices? Do they understand that home energy efficiency is just as critical from an environmental and economic standpoint as vehicle fuel efficiency? They should!

Have you used any interesting marketing tactics to help potential customers grasp the importance of building energy efficiency? We'd love to hear about them in the comments!