A Message to Homebuilders: “Green Building? Forget about it!”

Focus on your customerBy Trish Holder

Are your eyes playing tricks on you?  Did the writer and publisher of Greenspiration Home, a website dedicated to educating homeowners about green building and renovating just tell homebuilders to forget about green building?

Uh….yeah.  I did.

The fact is, I’m sick to death of hearing builders debate the merits and viability of green building.  It has become the empty soda can that idle work boots love to kick around. Please stop!

After all, what are we really talking about when we talk about green or sustainable homes?  We’re talking about homes that save owners time, energy, money, resources, and hassle.  You can argue amongst yourself all you like that homeowners don’t give a flip about “green”, especially if it is going to cost them more, but you’d be mighty hard pressed to find a homeowner who isn’t interested in saving all of these.

So if the word green makes you as a builder see red, strike it from your vocabulary.  But while you’re at it, would you please start having some useful conversations with prospective buyers about all the unseen details of a poorly built home that might one day leave them sick, broke, and mad as hell?  Because this is the stuff they really need to know.

Focus on your customer.  Educate her about the kind of home that will give her long-term satisfaction.  And leave the bickering about green building to those who can’t find a more productive way to occupy their time.

Wanna Hear More?

I was recently interviewed by Scott Stroud, host of Builderradio.com, about marketing green building to today’s consumer.  If you’ve ever wondered just how southern my accent is, here’s your chance to find out….

Trish Holder on Builderradio.com.

5 Responses »

  1. Great post! I totally agree. The word “green” never needs to enter the conversation during the sale of a green home. It’s all about the benefits the homeowner reaps from incorporation of today’s best building practices.

  2. The other significant benefit I would add to the list is the much improved quality of the interior environment of the home. Other than that, I would totally disagree with the above post. By chiding the builder and making him a whipping boy for non-advancement of green building and in the same breath giving some pretty prosaic marketing advice is really quite unprofessional. I have talked to many interior designers who have no inkling of sustainability whatsoever. I can only believe the above is a ruse to garner attention for your blog, or an attempt to establish authority in the general discussion. ‘Greening’ is a multi-disciplinary, multi-profession, if not cultural evolution. Pointing fingers, and telling others how to do it is not constructive.

  3. Green is the term that so many more people can understand and identify. When it comes to the environment it is more important than ever to think about materials that are consumed and affect the environment during its use.

    Builders and contractors too, have to be educated as well as homeowners when it comes to determining and discussing price. Many builders really do not understand all ramifications behind the materials they use and recommend to their customers.

    For example, a builder may suggest a particular house plan and discuss the square footage costs of a 2 level 4 bedroom 3.5 baths home with basement and gives total prices based on accessories etc. The cost may be lower.

    But, the homeowner has researched “Going Green” and wants all of the above on a lot that is conducive to passive solar whereby the windows have to be strategically placed in the home. The homeowner also wants the foundation and exterior walls to be built with insulating concrete forms and the builder advises against because the builder thinks the price is too high for the homeowner and advises against these “upgrades.”

    The builder may not be aware of what these insulating concrete forms things are and has not really researched or has done a cost comparison. Homeowner decides to heed builder’s advice but does little or major interior green improvements.

    Builders are my main customers and most welcome the information but are not willing to go out on the proverbial limb with a new or different way of doing things until other “green builders” do so. Their customers are extremely important and builders do not want to damage their reputations for building decent homes.

    I feel it’s important to remember that homes and any other type of building is a SHELTER and if you look up the definition for shelter you will see what’s important. “Green” is not just a word. I believe “Green” is still good but it is not enough to “just be green.” “Green” now encompasses the exterior building envelope which will have to be more sustainable, severe weather resistant, and environmentally friendly. In the end, “Going Green” will result in building better buildings.

  4. I’ve been advising my clients for years that they need to reach NONGREEN consumers, and the way to do so is with the kinds of benefits Trish listed: those that are rooted more in the customers self-interest than in planetary interest.

  5. Very nice post! Every time I hear the word green building or green home, the first thing that comes in my mind that the idea of these types of construction are helping to save our dying planet. Thank you for sharing this article and I enjoyed reading.


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