Seeing Green
 
July 2nd, 2008

By Janet Arden, Editor

July-August 2008

If there was one clear message at Coverings 2008, it’s that greenbuilding is not just here to stay, it’s one of the keys to today’s marketplace. The green-ness of any product is a plus. Qualifying for LEED points is even better. Should we be surprised? I don’t think so.

In fact, I think the green marketplace has been a long time coming. For a long time it seemed as if no one was listening. Oh, we recycled our newspapers and glass. A good friend gave up holiday wrapping paper in favor of homemade re-useable fabric gift bags.

But I think we also all found ways to get around it. Despite my enthusiasm for the compost pile at the back of the garden, I parked an SUV in my driveway.

Unlike some trends that have driven the marketplace, green seems to be driven by the consumer. Builders, remodelers, manufacturers and everyone in between recognizes that today’s consumer values the qualities represented by green building.

First, greenbuilding saves money in the long run. We’ve been at it long enough now to see real savings from energy efficient systems. This has been particularly telling as energy costs continue to skyrocket.

Early in the movement, government entities, education and institutional building began to require a minimal level of LEED certification. This lead to the development and use of increasingly green alternatives that translate easily into other structures. Today there are more green options and they are better.

A recent report published by NAHB pointed to results of a McGraw Hill Construction Survey indicating that the consumer values the higher quality associated with green building. Now that housing values are not rising as they once did and home sales are stagnant, the green features of one home can give it a real advantage over less-green homes in the same marketplace.

If you are not developing at least a working familiarity with green products, you owe it to your business and your customers to do so. Start with our feature on “Getting LEED Credit for Flooring Materials.” Next, talk to your suppliers about how their products fit into the greenbuilding landscape. You may have more green products than you realize.

Share your knowledge. Host a “green seminar” with an appropriate speaker from one of your suppliers and invite your best customers and prospects to learn more. Highlight those products in your showroom that are green, so customers can spot them. And when customers do show interest in green products, be prepared to discuss the pros and cons with them.

Elsewhere in this issue, Patti Fasan wastes no time making her point about the value of quality in our current One-on-One interview. We suggest you read it, re-read it and then share it with your employees.

If you have attended one of Patti’s high-energy technical and/or design presentations at Coverings or Surfaces, you know that she is passionate about the ceramic tile industry. In this interview she talks about how you can respond to the current economy.

Last, but certainly not least, take a look at our Showroom Seminar for some ideas on new products that could just help deliver a few new customers.

Best wishes for a green season!

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