Green building is more than a politically correct response to the often-fanatical environmental movement. Environmental responsibility is not about hugging trees and filling the blue bag with cans and newspapers. It’s about stewardship of the planet. It means taking care of what’s been created to sustain life.
For a business person, environmental responsibility has to have an economic benefit, as well. That’s where the Green Building Conference shone. Presented by NAHB, NAHB Research Center, and Professional Builder magazine, the conference provided invaluable information on topics from green marketing to materials selection.
In the seminar on green remodeling, self-styled "green remodeler" Walter Galitzki of Sun Path Energy in Bremerton, Wash., spent a lot of time detailing how his company is environmentally responsible. But one simple statement summed it up for all the remodelers there: Take credit for what you already do. It’s amazing in its simplicity. Most remodelers, if given a "green" checklist, would easily qualify as environmentally responsible. Suppliers have been touting resource efficiencies in manufacturing, and they’ve made great gains in the manufacture of durable products. Many have done a marvelous job of building energy-efficient products. Take credit for using products that save energy and resources.
Most remodelers also exceed local building codes with their projects. Those who want to stay in business don’t settle for the minimum; they recognize that reputations rest on long-term quality. Take credit for exceeding the codes in regards to indoor air quality and energy efficiency.
Finally, Galitzki and others suggest that remodelers promote the environmentally responsible aspects of their businesses. Tell clients that you only use products that are resource-efficient, show how the products save energy, point out the things you do in operating your business that are good for the planet and its resources. Take credit.
As attendees shared thoughts during the closing open-forum session, more than a few mentioned how much this industry already does in the name of environmental responsibility. Many bemoaned how the high road had been commandeered by the environmental groups despite all the positive things this industry has always done.
The lesson here: You don’t need to change your way of doing business to take credit for what you’re already doing.