Consumer Attitudes About Green Building
interest in green building exploded in 2007, and it's still growing. Thanks to
extensive media coverage, an increasing number of consumers are becoming familiar
with sustainability and green building. Newspapers warn about climate change and
soaring gas prices. Retail giants like Wal-Mart have adopted sustainable practices
and opened green stores. Hollywood has jumped on the green bandwagon, incorporating
green practices in its 2008 Oscars. Home and garden television shows offer a steady
stream of shows promoting green living.
As the media pushes green building
into the mainstream, consumers are becoming more attuned to the benefits of green
homes. Homebuilders have an opportunity to meet consumer demand by adopting practices
that improve the energy efficiency, durability, and indoor air quality of homes.
It's important to know the variety of consumer attitudes about green building
in order to respond to the changing market.
Consumer uncertainty: Is
green building more hype than reality?
Some consumers are skeptics and
wonder about the hype surrounding green building. They may acknowledge that green
is an effective marketing strategy, but they question companies' motives for advertising
a product or home as green. Many of these consumers are cautious of greenwashing,
a tactic that companies use to mislead consumers into thinking their products
or practices are green when they're actually not. Homebuilders must be able to
prove to these consumers that they're homes are legitimately green.
profile: Who buys green homes?
People who buy green homes can't easily
be lumped into one category. They buy for different reasons. A family may find
a green home appealing because they want their kids to grow up in a healthy home
without allergens and toxins. Empty-nesters may be attracted to the cheaper utility
For a growing number of consumers, green building is not a hard sell.
These consumers have done their research; they're concerned about reducing their
ecological footprint or impact on the environment. They understand that energy-efficient
homes can alleviate global warming and soaring gas prices even more than hybrid
cars can. In some cases, they're more knowledgeable than the homebuilder and can
shop around for green features. Many others recognize the benefits of a green
home, but their understanding is more basic.
Consumer values: What are
the benefits of green building?
The key to selling green homes is to
understand the values that consumers hold and what motivates them to buy green
products. In other words, the best way to market green building is to educate
homebuyers on its benefits. Realize that sustainability and environmental benefits
won't resonate with everyone. However, if you frame the benefits of green homes
in terms of indoor air quality, comfort, and economy, you're more likely to convince
buyers that green homes have a direct impact on their health, happiness, and quality
of life. Avoid using the vocabulary of the builder-"energy recovery ventilators"
means little to most buyers, but lower utility bills and fresher indoor air make
a whole lot of sense. The more relevant you make green building to consumers,
the more they'll recognize its value.
About the Author
This website was created to promote green building
and LEED certification, by Bob Moore Construction. A leading commercial construction
company in Texas since 1946, Bob Moore Construction is a member of the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) and the Tilt-up Concrete Association (TCA). For more information
about Bob Moore Construction's LEED and green building program, please visit