How to Rebrand as a Green Construction Business in 2017
Green is the new black—even in the construction business. Don’t believe me? Consider the growth of the LEED-rated home. In 2014, the US Green Building Council celebrated the 50,000th LEED home—today, there are more than 150,000 certified residential units. In one consumer study, as many as 88 percent of respondents said that a home’s energy efficiency would influence their decision to buy. Other research shows similarly illuminating results: more than half of participants in this consumer survey said they’d buy a green home again, even if it meant paying more.
When it comes to where they invest their dollars, the majority of consumers want to go with a company with a green rep; in this corporate responsibility study, 84 percent said they were actively looking for businesses that address social and environmental issues. Other findings, lead by the Radio Advertising Bureau, found that green remodels were big among homeowners—particularly in the 18-34 aged crowd, where over half of respondents showed interest.
So, while you probably don’t have to bill yourself as green to get by in the construction business, it certainly won’t hurt, especially when you consider that many companies manage to save money by adopting environmentally friendly practices. In the construction business, for instance, it costs about one-sixth less to recycle heavy materials like concrete and brick, as opposed to tossing them. Here’s how construction businesses are changing their image by going green—and implementing some earth-friendly business practices in the process.
Know the Real Value of Your Contribution
Over the past three decades, politics, the media, and advertising have all shaped public trust—or perhaps, more precisely, they’ve eroded it. According to some sources, only a measly one percent of millennials feel that advertising has any effect on them at all. Skeptical young homeowners are unlikely to be wowed by a vague claim that your business is “green,” unless you can back up your words with statistics and data.
For small business owners, tracking these measurements may be difficult, but some methods are typically more successful than others. For instance, in the construction and remodeling industries, there are plenty of opportunities to implement environmentally-friendly policies in the area of waste management. If you sort and recycle C&D waste, for instance, ask employees to count the amount of bins they fill of different types of debris. That will give you a rough estimate of your business’ impact on the environment and make for an enticing tidbit for green-thinking homeowners.
Clarify Your Message
The term “going green” is undeniably a bit vague. It’s that gray area that leads to suspicion from watchful consumers—and contractors frequently have to work hard to earn the trust of new clients anyway. You can’t exactly save the planet with your business—nor should you set too far a reach with your environmental policies.
Green isn’t just a branding tool; it’s about how you operate your business, too—so set specific goals for your construction company. Whether you choose to focus on environmentally-friendly materials, waste recycling, or energy-efficient processes, know the aim of your company’s efforts so you can present them clearly on your website and marketing materials.
Associate Your Business with Familiar Green Labels
Part of the problem with green branding is that consumers don’t understand exactly what “green” means, at least when it comes to their homes. While residents in green homes express satisfaction with their home’s features, their understanding of what makes their home green is a little more complicated. In fact, in the same GuildQuality survey mentioned above, many homeowners specifically called out builders, saying there was little to no education from their contractors when they bought the home.
Not only does that point to a new role as an educator for contractors, it also highlights the importance of the green label or certification system as homeowners struggle to understand the benefits of high-performance and environmentally-friendly features. Such labeling represents a shortcut to understanding the real benefit of energy-efficient and green products. And statistically, green labeling correlates to a monetary value as well—on the housing market, green labels have been shown to add a nine percent sales premium to designated sites.
If you participate in LEED-certified builds or retrofits, or if you install ENERGY-STAR rated products, for instance, mentioning these in your marketing makes for a more specific and polished campaign. In fact, if you have a good relationship with the homeowners of these sites, ask if you can put out a lawn sign advertising the home’s features—and your business. Many construction businesses have found this to be a successful and local way to advertise. You may also want to consider submitting a press release. Local publications are eager to learn about the green efforts of nearby community members, and LEED sites carry a certain cache that makes for good newspaper fodder. The key is implementing practices that have real weight—and of course, celebrating your company’s impact in the public limelight.
About the Author:
Erin Vaughan is a blogger, gardener and aspiring homeowner. She currently resides in Austin, TX where she writes full time for Home Improvement Leads, with the goal of empowering homeowners with the educational tools they need to take on green home projects by connecting them to qualified contractors through HVAC, window, roof, and solar leads.