Volume 9, Issue 1 - January 2008

Eye on Energy

World Goes Green
A Quick Tutorial for Manufacturers  
by Ric Jackson

The market for energy-efficient, green building products is real, it’s big and it’s growing. The trend represents a major opportunity for makers and marketers of doors and windows. Companies that respond successfully to the demand will improve their bottom lines while contributing to a better future for our planet.

Hard Facts 
Consider these statistics on the greening of our living spaces:
The market for “true” green homes, defined as containing a specific green building element in at least three of five categories (including energy efficiency), is expected to rise from $2 billion in 2005 to $20 billion by 2010. The forecast comes from the 2007 McGraw-Hill Construction “SmartMarket Report on Attitudes & Preferences for Remodeling and Buying Green Homes.”

The same report found that green standards are directing nearly 40 percent of home remodeling projects, with new or replacement windows representing the most-used green product, at 47 percent.

Purchasing “green-related” home products becomes more important to consumers as they get older, according to a recent report by the NPD Group, Inc. The finding runs contrary to the notion that younger people are more interested in environmental matters.

Since the mid-1990s, more than 97,000 homes have been built and certified by voluntary, builder-supported green building programs around the United States, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). That’s a 50-percent jump from the previous survey, in 2004, when green homes built numbered 61,000.

Do your Own Research
How can door and window manufacturers and sellers respond successfully to a world going green? First and foremost, educate yourself. Conduct market research to understand how the country’s drive for energy efficiency is affecting the demographics, purchasing behaviors and buying patterns of your customers. What you discover will shape your priorities—and your methods of meeting them.

Learn about the growing and changing environmental movement, particularly as it applies to building products. Plot your company’s place in it and project where your business can go. You’ll find a growing number of conferences and seminars to advance your understanding, such as the USGBC’s annual GreenBuild (see related story in December DWM, page 20). The Web is a resource like no other. Mine it for information not only on building green, but on what’s coming in terms of energy code and energy labeling programs. Changes occurring in codes and certifications will have significant impact on your business, and you’ll need to be up on them. The more stringent standards being considered for Energy Star® certification, for example, could bring sweeping changes in the industry (see related story in November DWM, page 46).

Worthy sites are many. Industry staples, such as the American Architectural Manufacturers Association and NAHB, contain increasing information on green building. For sites focused on environmental matters, here are four with which to start:

Efficient Windows Collaborative: www.efficientwindows.org. A source for unbiased information on energy-efficient windows.

Energy Star: www.energystar.gov. This government site keeps you up-to-date on the windows program and demonstrates the marketing power of a respected label.

Green Seal: www.greenseal.org. You’ll find scientific-based environmental certification standards in more than 40 product categories.

U.S. Green Building Council: www.usgbc.org. Every sector of the building industry working to promote sustainability is represented. Site of the Green Homes Guide.

The trend toward green building products is only going to grow. The opportunity in front of our industry is enormous. It’s up to us to seize it, delivering green solutions to our customers today and hope for our planet tomorrow. 

Ric Jackson is director of marketing and business development for Truseal Technologies Inc. He can be reached at rjackson@truseal.com. The views and opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of this magazine.


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