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BUSINESS INSIGHTS: Selling Green Building


There’s money to be made with the right products.


We’ve all heard the warning “pay now or pay later” for plenty of trade-off decisions we make over the course of our lives, whether it’s buying something inexpensive and hoping it will last, or paying for insurance—which feels like we’re paying for nothing until we need it. Building or renovating a home is no different, especially when you consider the total operating costs over the life of homeownership and the future value of one of the biggest assets that anyone will own. Yes, most everyone from dealers to builders to contractors and property owners want a lower price. But everyone wants value too. And designing and building homes that meet stringent energy codes, improve indoor air quality and lower operating costs while providing a healthier and safer living environment is certainly one way to deliver value.

The rebound in housing starts isn’t limited to standard homebuilding. There is a growing increase in starts and renovations where building green is gaining traction across the country, and not just in eco-friendly areas like Charlotte, Denver, San Francisco and Seattle.

Recent research conducted by Principia shows that 12% of the 1,000 single family builders surveyed are building most of their projects with green homebuilding designs. Admittedly, most of these projects are still semi-custom and custom homes where cost and affordability is lower priority compared to production starts. What’s even more encouraging is that more than half of the builders surveyed indicated that green building is involved in nearly 20% of all project starts this year. This is up more than 30% from three years prior when last surveyed.

An opportunity exists for the pro dealer to offer a range of high-margin products that fill this need and showcase the benefits of these products. More energy efficient homes lead to increased demand for insulation, barriers and wraps, higher energy efficient windows and doors, flashing and tapes for the building envelope. Some dealers are also beginning to offer high-end lighting and HVAC systems that provide lifetime energy cost savings versus initial installed cost as potential areas for new growth beyond traditional lumber and building materials.