Thursday, March 26, 2009

Thoughts on Green Building

Although the concept of Green Construction has been around for quite some time, there seems to have been more discussion recently about using the technology to reduce heating costs, benefit the environment and as a marketing angle. I belong to a builder's association, and there have been more courses offered in green construction and LEEDS certification. I am not going to pretend to be an expert in this area, but I am trying to learn more about the "green" movement and how I can offer advice to my clients in this arena. For example, I learned about LEEDS-AP certification which a limited number of lawyers in Massachusetts have obtained.

The National Association of Home Builders offers a Certified Green Professional designation. The requirements for LEEDS is changing as of March 30, 2009, and for that reason, I am looking into getting my CGP.

So, what does this mean for you?
  • Educate yourself about options and take continuing education classes.
  • Learn about the pros and cons of green products and determine which ones to offer to your clients.
  • Include clauses in your contracts when introducing green options and be wary of making claims or promises about results.
  • Familiarize yourself with government rebates that could benefit your clients.
  • Pay attention to what may happen with the new administration.
  • Distinguish yourself by marketing and taking advantage of the green movement by advertising real credentials, knowledge and experience.
  • Don't get caught up in green for green's sake..
  • Consider the true costs of going green.
  • Allow your values to play a part in your decisions.

The green movement is both exciting and daunting. It seems that everyone is hopping on the green train and none of us want to be left behind. At the same time, this area is ripe with the potential for fraud, false claims, and over-enthusiastic hype. It is important for builders to cut through the information that is being presented and determine which products and processes will provide real benefits in terms of cost savings and contributions to preserving our environment. I look forward to our learning together.