The trend toward greener buildings hasn’t slowed down in recent years and isn’t expected to do so anytime soon. Experts predict the green building materials market will reach nearly $365 billion by the year 2022.
Adding green building materials and options to your services allows clients who are interested in green buildings to choose the options that make the most sense for them.
Some of your clients may come to you asking for greener materials and sustainable options for their buildings. Others may be uncertain about the costs involved. Here are a few ways to approach selling green services to your clients.
What Design Professionals Need to Know About LEED V4
With the passage in 2013 of the new version of LEED, many new requirements are being imposed on building products. For design professionals active with LEED projects, this will be a vital session for understanding the new requirements and how manufacturers will be delivering the information requested.
1. Educate Your Customers
The first thing you have to do is educate your customers about the costs and benefits of greener buildings. While solar panels carry a day-one cost for equipment and installation, how much will the company or homeowner save over time?
If the person plans to stay in the building for a set number of years, it is much easier to show the savings factored in and whether this particular option is a good one.
Once your customers are educated, you can look at additional ways to save money and make sustainable materials more affordable. For example, the way the house is positioned and where the sun hits it can impact how well solar electricity works for the client. Even landscaping and tree placement make a difference.
2. Show Them the Higher Quality
Green building materials, such as recycled wood or metal, can have a positive impact on a customer’s environmental footprint. For the eco-conscious customer, the simple knowledge that such materials use 11 to 13 times less energy to produce than new ones is going to be a good sell. But many consumers are more cost- and quality-driven, which means you may need to demonstrate the high quality of green materials.
Reclaimed wood is typically made from mature trees and is sturdier. You can no longer buy old-growth wood that hasn’t already been used in construction, but the wood ties into the current trend of the farmhouse look. It can be used for beams, flooring and even cabinets. There are many different ways to incorporate pre-owned, “upcycled” materials into modern designs — which is attractive to customers seeking a splash of character in their homes.
Pre-cast concrete and recycled metal are also known for their durability, which many customers may not expect. If you’re selling green services, be sure to give them the statistics on longevity and quality so they can assess whether green building materials are a good choice for their homes.
3. Reduce Their Carbon Footprint
If a client comes to you and wants a greener building, one way to accomplish this is to build a smaller building.
Smaller buildings require less heating and cooling and fewer materials. Work with the client to create multi-use spaces that do more with fewer square feet.
Another idea is to add on to a building that’s already in place. If a homeowner has teens and nowhere for them to hang out, add a recreational room or convert their attic space rather than assembling a completely new structure.
Every small change saves on energy usage. Even something as simple as adding skylights or more windows to reduce the need for artificial light allows people to shrink their carbon footprint and save energy.
4. Explain Increased Value
As time goes on, green buildings are more and more in demand. Green buildings are worth about seven percent more than similar traditionally constructed buildings.
Show your client how building a home or business with green features makes it more attractive to environmentally minded buyers.
On the whole, green buildings sell for more — but even if the building doesn’t sell for more than a traditional building, the green features might help sell the building faster.
5. Offer an ENERGY STAR® Rating
Some builders now offer ENERGY STAR®-rated homes. Consumers are probably already familiar with ENERGY STAR® for appliances, but they might not know that an entire home can also receive this credential. This includes everything from appliances to insulation to smart home features. For example, if you install an automated thermostat, you can save on energy costs and reduce your carbon footprint.
There are also organizations such as RESNET that create other ways to rate and assess the energy efficiency of a home. Rating systems can help a consumer see green building as standardized, which in turn helps them trust the benefits you’re educating them on. Show them that even small improvements can create an environmental and financial impact.
SMART Goals for Construction Businesses
FREE COURSE! Improve your business culture, productivity, and quality by using SMART goals. SMART goals are goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, results-oriented, and time-bound.
6. Improve Their Health
Living in green buildings is thought to be healthier and more productive than traditional buildings. Natural light works with the human body to encourage more wakefulness, for example.
Also, fresh air coming through large windows gets the germs out and the fresh air in. In addition, many green buildings add and emphasize living plants, which can clean the air naturally and help everybody breathe a little easier.
Even if your clients aren’t yet ready for full-blown reclaimed materials and all-green building techniques, you should offer services that make even individual parts of a building greener. Start small. As your clients learn how much they can save and how favorable green buildings are in the long run, they’ll open up to more and more green materials and services.