As the popularity of Green building products and construction grows, it is also getting more sophisticated. Long gone are the days when a simple claim of “Saves Energy” is enough to be credibly considered Green.
Today issues like ingredients, manufacturing, shipping, recyclability and more are all considerations. There is also the company’s overall commitment to Green in how it conducts it’s day to day business.
This is not written for those companies who have already embraced Green as a key part of their business. This is for those many building materials manufacturers who still aren’t fully committed to Green. The ones who will say, “Of course we are Green” and then point to a couple reasons why they feel they can make this claim.
Here are some of the ways that Green building materials have advanced beyond the simple, “Saves Energy.”
Over the past 20 years, traditional manufacturing methods for building materials have been evaluated for and modified because of, their negative impact on the environment. Materials that used to contain harmful chemicals or ingredients have been removed from the shelves and replaced with “green” versions. The eventual consequence of the transition can be seen in the mold-resistant drywall, mildew-resistant paints and non-out-gassing carpets and flooring that ecosensitive home-buying consumers are now demanding. An early 2015 study by McGraw-Hill revealed that 73% of single-family builders and 68% of multi-family builders report that their buyers are willing to pay more for these “green” homes. Global climate challenges are keeping environmental issues high on the consumer radar. Modifying your products and supplies to respond to this reality demonstrates you are in line with their concerns.
“Whole System” Designed Products:
Today’s consumers are not just interested in how to access and use “green” supplies and products, they are also very interested in where those products came from, how they are made, and where they go after their use. If you haven’t developed the “Whole Story” about your products, you need to get started. Making that information easily available on your website allows your customers to use it as part of their product decisions.
According to the EPA, a full description of any eco-friendly product could include any or all of the following information:
Products that are energy efficient often come with that information readily available. Products that are manufactured through energy efficient systems are not always so obvious, but pointing this out increases their value. Known as “embodied” energy, this data includes information regarding raw materials and their sources, manufacturing values and transport details of creating the product and getting into the construction project.
Water Consumption and Management:
Building materials often are directly affected by water, in how they are produced, how they are used, and in how they impact the water systems of their final location. Water efficiency in appliances is usually a notable feature. Exterior systems are manufactured to direct weather-related moisture; information on responsible management of this resource often adds value.
Some products are intentionally manufactured to reduce waste, by incorporating biodegradable or recycled materials. Packaging these days is often identified as being of recycled materials, and some end-consumers will seek these options over products not similarly labeled. Reducing or eliminating the amount of packaging is also an important consideration.
All of these elements combine to improve the internal and external environments of the end-consumer, by enhancing indoor environmental quality, reducing the environmental impacts over time and reducing or eliminating toxic substances. Any labeling or documentation that explains these values to your customer’s customer will help your customer gain and retain today’s satisfied clients.
More Energy Efficient Building Structures:
The construction industry is now crafting whole buildings designed with energy efficiency in mind. Zero-net-energy homes use alternative power sources like solar PV systems to reduce the consumption of grid-supplied (high polluting) electricity. Passive home construction reduces the need for auxiliary heating and cooling systems by building into the structure materials and systems that repel heat in summer and cold in winter. Windows and doors are designed to provide effective barriers to weather intrusions all year round. Since it is easier to build new with these innovative materials than it is to retrofit older buildings, it is safe to assume that the “new” building industry will continue to seek out these products in the future.
Green Education is Important:
Your architect, home builder and contractor customers want to know how to design and build Greener structures. There is a lot of conflicting information out there. Green industry experts are frequently so smart that it’s hard for the average person to understand what they are saying. It’s like a 10th grader being put in a Ph.D. level physics class.
Building materials manufacturers who are committed to Green help educate their customers by making it easier for their customer to make better decisions. The best ones don’t simply promote their products; they explain what the problem is that their product solves.
Ignore Green at Your Peril:
The majority of your customers may not be asking how Green you are so you think it’s not that important. Green is rapidly approaching a tipping point, and if you are not making this an important priority, you will be playing catch up very soon.
For more recommendations about how to be Greener, click here
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