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Only Great Products Will Sustain the Green Movement

January 16, 2009
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For the last few years, anything green has received incredible attention. The high price of oil, the threat of global warming, and a strong economy have caused us to view the world through green-tinted glasses. I don’t know about you, but I sometimes feel like I am drowning in a sea of green.

Fast forward to today. Oil is cheap, icy weather engulfs the U.S. (global cooling?), and our economy stinks. Could the vast green sea become a puddle?

Let’s use the 2009 Detroit auto show to gain some perspective. Early hype has focused on all-electric cars, buoyed by their green factor. Is the Chevy Volt the next big hit? Can it help turn GM around? Will the automakers soon sell electric cars by the thousands?

Unfortunately, we’ve been down this road before. GM previously produced electric vehicles, but found the consuming public wasn’t very interested. GM could not sell enough of the cars to make a profit, so it pulled the plug.

As any good marketer will tell you, only innovative, high-quality, service-rendering products will become hits. To enjoy a long life span, hit products also need to keep outperforming all challengers. So the Chevy Volt will succeed only if delivers on its promises, and keeps delivering.

Need an example? The last mass-producer of VHS tapes just announced it is shutting down, a casualty of the more popular DVD format…which is expected to die shortly with the increasing adoption of Blu-ray technology.

So if you’re tired of all the green hype coming your way, relax. Only those products that offer truly exceptional value will last. All the green wannabes will disappear.

How do I know this? You told me. Actually, 414 of you told Clear Seas Research, which conducted a green construction survey on my behalf.

Specifically, 52% of you (readers of BNP Media’s architecture, engineering and construction magazines) said your top reason for shifting to green products and services was to spec/buy/install a “Better Product.” The next closest reason was to be “Socially Responsible” (44%), followed by “Owner’s Request” (42%), “Building Certification” (25%), and “Government Incentive” (25%).

You even told us some of the green products that are helping you meet customer needs in 2009. These include:
  • Solar heating products
  • Low/dual flush toilets
  • Low flow faucets/showerheads
  • Geothermal products
  • High efficiency equipment
  • Recycled carpet
  • Bamboo
  • Recycled flooring materials
  • Energy efficient insulation
  • Recycled roofing products
This survey was conducted in late fall 2008. But with our economy downshifting daily, I strongly suspect that construction pros are no longer selecting green products in order to be socially responsible. They are buying the best products.

So the next time a project manager, facility owner or homeowner asks you to green up their project, pick the products that will perform the best, not the ones with the most hype. Your customer will thank you now and for many years to come.
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