The Housing Chronicles Blog: November column for Builder & Developer magazine now online

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

November column for Builder & Developer magazine now online

My column for Builder & Developer magazine is now posted online. For this month's issue, which is entitled "Promoting Green Living as a Lifestyle" -- I wanted to discuss how builders can leverage their model homes to show prospective buyers how using green products throughout the home can extend far beyond brick, mortar and drywall.

An excerpt:

Imagine, if you will, walking through what looks like a fairly typical model home complex for a new green community. Perhaps it offers the latest in energy-efficient appliances, LED lighting, solar panels, drought-tolerant landscaping, and more. But in addition to that, the homes in question feature an array of sustainable consumer products – tightly secured to tables, cabinets and countertops, of course -- that the eventual occupants might use in their daily lives.

From household chemicals and children’s toys to food and personal care items, to obtain ratings on the greenest of the green, these shoppers would only need to scan product bar codes via an iPhone application or visit the Web site for a new company called the Good Guide. Started in 2004 by a professor of environmental policy at UC Berkeley named Dara O’Rourke after he realized he didn’t really know what was in the sunscreen being applied to the face of his two-year-old daughter (which, after testing in his lab included a suspected carcinogen as well as a chemical which could disrupt hormones), O’Rourke’s goal is to bring academic-quality research on everyday products to the masses.

As I was reading this story recently in a national newsmagazine, I couldn’t help but think how easy it would be for homebuilders to leverage the mainstreaming of green products into their own sales and marketing campaigns. In September of 2010, the site for Good Guide tracked 300,000 visitors who reviewed its ratings on more than 75,000 items, so the interest is certainly there. It’s also an opportune time to provide objective research – sort of a Consumer Reports for green products – to a general public who overwhelmingly say they prefer environmentally responsible products in surveys but have grown increasingly wary of ‘greenwashing.’...

Click here to read the entire column.

Click here to read the entire magazine in digital format.

No comments: