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3 Tips for Green Building

Now's the time for contractors to get their piece of the environmental action.

With the value of green residential construction projected to increase from an estimated $7 billion in 2005 to at least $40 billion by 2012, according to McGraw-Hill Construction Analytics, there is no doubt that this is a hot construction market sector.

No one believes that more than Jerry Yudelson, president of Yudelson Associates, a green building consulting firm. Yudelson, who also wrote Marketing Green Building Services: Strategies for Success, says contractors who want to go green need to educate themselves about the latest trends in the market and get the word out. He suggests these tactics for marketing your green construction business:

  • Name it and claim it. It can be easier to position yourself as a green building expert if you start with a specialization in one area. "You might be 'Mr. Solar' for western Massachusetts or the wind expert in some other area," says Yudelson. "Start there, then move into other areas." Work closely with manufacturers who can help you learn about products and give you assistance in landing green building customers.
  • Hit the green scene. Just as in any other line of business, people interested in green construction attend industry events. Join organizations like the U.S. Green Building Council and go to its regional and national meetings, says Yudelson. In addition, pursue green certifications, such as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, certification. Be sure to issue a news release about the certification after you earn it.
  • Green your own business. Green builders need to walk their talk, says Yudelson, so look at how you can incorporate green or recycled products into your own building. Consider hybrid cars and biodiesel trucks for transportation. "Customers who visit your offices and see your vehicles will quickly note whether you're really serious about green practices," he says. Plus, the more sustainable vehicles will reinforce your green brand as you drive them around town.

Yudelson advises incorporating your green message into marketing materials and on your website. A coordinated marketing effort can spread the word about your commitment to being green. "It takes a lot of work," he says. "But if you do it, you can be part of one of the fastest-growing sectors the construction industry has ever seen."

Gwen Moran is co-author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Business Plans. Reach her at gwen@gwenmoran.com.

Gwen Moran is a freelance writer and co-author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Business Plans (Alpha, 2010).

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This article was originally published in the November 2008 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Green Building.

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