Green Building Construction Valparaiso IN
Affordable, Site-Built Homes
How to Build Your Green Building Business
Green building is the only good news left in the building industry. Are you prospering or struggling in today’s market. From coast to coast, builders and remodelers who are clearly identified with green building are not only staying busy but growing in these tough economic times.How to Get Into Green Building
First you need to know what is selling in your market. This recession is very diverse in its impact. The southwestern new home market is dead. The Midwestern remodeling market is still strong in places. Even in the Detroit market a remodeling company that emphasizes its energy retrofit services has doubled in size. Where you are and how you market your company is key to success.
Next you need to comprehend what are the “inevitabilities” in your market. What is most pressing? In cold climates it is energy costs in winter. In the Rocky Mountain region it is water availability. In New England it is fuel oil for heat. Recycling is important in the crowded East Coast cities due to the closing of land fills. These issues drive consumer purchase decisions and city policies. You want to find the sweet spot in your area.Do Your Market Research
Every salesman knows that the most important skill is to listen carefully to your customer’s needs. Green consumers are not easily categorized. They have a wide variety of requirements for their homes, sometimes contradictory. New moms are particularly concerned about indoor air quality (see green nursery project). Everyone is concerned about energy prices. Understanding how to do energy retrofits is key. Others are very committed to recycling. They want to know that you are too so recycling waste on the jobsite is a must. The important element is to find out what your customer’s “hot buttons” are and speak to those issues when selling and designing the job.
Your past customers are a great place to start. Ask them what their priorities are. What would they ask for now? How would they have done their project differently? Do they have overall feedback for your company and your process? Often since time has passed, they will be more objective and offer constructive feedback.Specialize
Once you feel you have a direction, pick an area to get good at. It may be energy retrofit for example. Do your homework on what that entails. Become a “house doctor” and learn all the simple techniques for saving energy for your clients. There are many books and magazine articles that go into details. (see How to Futureproof your house)Get Certified
Now is the time to get Green Advantage certified. The two day course goes through green building in detail and explains how to see a house as a system. Just doing green things doesn’t make the entire house green. Understanding how all the components in the house affect overall comfort, health and energy efficiency makes you a better builder. The deeper this information goes into the company the better your jobs...
Managing Change to Green Building
Becoming a green company is an opportunity to add value to your company by incorporating some of the strategies used by Fortune 100 companies to align their vision with their businesses and increase their bottom line. Corporate America has been undergoing a quiet revolution in sustainability for over a decade, and since then, the United States has become the most productive nation in the world.
Management consultants like Peter Drucker have led the charge by guiding CEOs through the process of change. He now instructs them in how to become change leaders. Green builders are the change leaders in the building industry. By keeping one eye to the future and the other on the bottom line, you can learn how to do better business while creating a new market niche for your company.
Building a green company involves more than just using green products. For a green company to be successful and capture the market, all the employees and trades people need to buy-in to the green program and actively participate in it. One essential factor in achieving buy-in is to create a vision for your company. From the vision you create a mission statement, which establishes a framework for making decisions. Your mission statement is the glue that will hold the company together through time and employee turnover.Creating the Vision
Tom and Caroline Hoyt have created an environmentally aware company culture that has sustained them over time. McStain Enterprises has been developing unique properties and building homes in Boulder, Colorado, for 35 years. The company has become an environmental construction icon in the eyes of the public and the building industry. The Hoyts attribute much of their success to their employees’ contributions to the organization’s vision. The company’s mission statement is: “Building a better world.”
Your vision provides guiding principles that you can use for years to come. Down the line when decisions need to be made, you can look to those principles to provide answers.
Tom Hoyt says, “The trick is to get your whole company to buy in to that vision. Today especially, the advantage of having that kind of outlook is that most of your employees really want more than a good job and good pay and good benefits. They want to know they've got a purpose in this world.”
When you make a commitment to green building , your employees feel like their job and their company are contributing to a greater purpose. It’s powerful for them, it's powerful for you, and it’s powerful for your customers. But it has been the convention in business, and especially the building business, not to think about those things.
Sue Jordan-Kertzner and Ron Kertzner are CEO and president, respective...