How to build a better construction business
By Sean Penrith, Earth Advantage Institute
What can we do to create a paradigm shift in the construction industry?
That was the question posed on LinkedIn by a good peer and colleague, Allison Bailes of Energy Vanguard, in response to the story, "Why Can't Every New Home Be a High Performance Home?" She sparked a vibrant discussion, raising valid points. I wanted to share my response.
The first bullet in the article strikes at the heart of the conundrum: "Home builders often don't have to pay to fix the home performance problems they leave behind."
That’s because most home builders don’t brand themselves. A strong brand holds incredible power — and accountability. Imagine if the automakers didn’t brand their cars. They’d have no concern over a car’s performance issues — no accountability to the owners — because there’d be no brand to blame, no reputation to uphold. Unthinkable and unconscionable, right? Yet it’s common in the homebuilding industry.
I have always been amazed that home builders, who cater primarily to families, have not clearly branded their products so that generations of kids seek out that brand when it’s their turn to become homeowners. Isn't that the American way?
There are exceptions of course. Legend Homes, Renaissance Homes, KB Homes, and Meritage Homes not only see the value of a clear, positive brand, but they understand how energy performance labels improve that brand.
Energy efficiency is key to high-performance homes due to the long-term savings it provides. But without strong homebuilding brands, we need to find another way to get that message out. We need the true value of green and energy-efficient features to be reflected in the appraisals of homes that include them.
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