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In partnership with six local home builders associations and three green building councils, the NAHB Research Center provided educational and networking events on April 13 at four locations around the state for the first-ever North Carolina Green Home Day.
Events in Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh and Wilmington all included presentations on the ICC-700 National Green Building Standard, the NAHB Research Center’s certification to the standard, how to maximize the value of the third-party verification process and how to convey the benefits of green homes to consumers.
“North Carolina has long been recognized as one of the nation’s leaders for building high-performance, green homes,” said Michael Luzier, president of the Research Center.
“Over the last couple years in particular, green certification activity in the state has really exploded — we have close to 90 participating builders and more than 50 accredited verifiers there, and nearly 22% of all projects certified under the NAHB Research Center’s National Green Building Certification Program are in North Carolina,” he said.
Green specialists from the Research Center offered the following advice for home builders looking to convince their buyers that green homes are worth the minimal, initial cost:
- Market the third-party home certification. When the Federal Trade Commission surveyed consumers on the value of green products, 80% said certification by an independent, third-party organization provides extra credibility and assurance for a consumer.
- Market the personal benefits of green, not the features or technologies. Talk about what a better insulated and sealed building envelope can mean to a home owner’s comfort rather than focusing solely on R-values and SEER ratings.
- Green means more than energy efficiency. Talk about the benefits of a better-insulated home — including a comfortable, consistent indoor temperature with fewer hot and cold spots.
- Differentiate between price and cost by emphasizing the long-term value proposition of a green-certified home, including lower energy and water bills when operated correctly.
- Highlight the home owner education required for a green-certified home and how that will help the consumer maximize the value and durability of the entire home as a high-performance system.
- Make sure green certification information is included on the website, in printed materials, in the talking points that the sales staff uses and in on-site signage.
The NAHB Research Center has a number of ready-made marketing materials that those participating in National Green Building Certification can customize and use. More are being added to the website frequently.
- Be clear in marketing green-certified homes. With the FTC’s increased scrutiny of claims related to green certifications, substantiate any claims or warranties made.
Specific environmental claims are easier to substantiate than general claims and less likely to be deceptive. An unqualified general claim of environmental benefit may convey that the home has far-reaching environmental benefits, when it doesn't.
Builder groups who partnered in hosting the day’s events included Coastal Green Built; Green Home Builders of the Triangle; Greensboro Builders Association; the HBA of Durham, Orange & Chatham Counties; the HBA of Charlotte; the HBA of Raleigh-Wake County; Home Builders Building Professionals; the Triad Green Building Council; and the Wilmington-Cape Fear HBA.
Each location was also visited by staff members from the NAHB Research Center, at least one local NAHB Research Center Accredited Green Verifier and a local marketing specialist.
Builders had an opportunity to discuss new green projects with their local verifiers after the general sessions.