Green Built Michigan
Green Built Michigan Newsletter
July 2009
Ron Jones as Keynote Speaker
During lunch on Friday, August 22, Ron Jones will be featured as the keynote speaker for the annual education conference Great Lakes Green.

Find out: Is your best work behind you, or still ahead?  Is 'mainstream green' a contradiction in terms? It's not easy to overcome the fear of change, or to step out of the shadows of denial and into the bright light of the future, but a legacy of sustainability will require leadership, and that has to mainly come from within.

Later in the day, Ron Jones and Green Built President, Arn McIntyre will present changes to the ANSI Green Building Standard, followed by an in-depth Q&A session.


Great Lakes Green 2009
Mark your calendars for Great Lakes Green 2009, one of the largest, most comprehensive green educational conferences in the mid-west. The conference will be held Friday, August 22 at the DeVos Place in Grand Rapids. For more information on exhibiting visit the website at www.greatlakesgreenconference.com

GLG Changes Format
We've changed the format for Great Lakes Green 2009. During a slow building time in which all of us are trying to do more with less, we found that attendee's were primarily interested in education.

Great Lakes Green will be one day only--Friday, August 22. We have eliminated the Exhibit Hall this year so that you can focus all of your attention on the education programs.

For a full list of education programs, course descriptions and to pre-register, visit Great Lakes Green online at www.greatlakesgreenconference.com

General Admission is $35.00. Green Built Michigan Members can attend all of the sessions for just $10.00.

Register before August 14 and receive $5 off!
Green MLS Listings Benefits Both Sides
Arn McIntyre, McIntyre Builders
McIntyre is President McIntyre Builders Inc., a 20 year business that built the First Certified Green Built home in Michigan in 2002. McIntyre Homes was the Gold recipient of the 2009 National Energy Value Housing Award (EVHA). Currently, Arn serves as President of the Green Built Michigan Board of Directors.

The National Association of Realtors issued a Call for Action, urging their members to contact senators and encourage them to vote against a universal energy efficiency rating to be included with home listing information. They believe that mandating home energy labels will hurt the fragile housing market by steering homeowners away from older, less efficient homes.

Green Built Michigan Board President, Arn McIntyre, who is both a builder and real estate broker responded.

"As realtors do we not represent both buyers and sellers? 

In Representing Buyers: An energy label does nothing more than inform the buyer of what they are buying and if they are interested in energy performance, they will be able to make an informed decision.  Is that not our responsibility to our buyer?

It is no different than buying a car.  If mileage is important to you, you will be looking at the MPG sticker, if it is not, you won't. 

Home performance is a major part of our energy dependence in this country and I would hope the National Association of Realtors (NAR) would support that fully.  Incentives are good but how does a consumer know what they are buying in order to use the incentive? They don't. 

In Representing Sellers: NAR needs to support universal labeling as well as identification on MLS listings.  Once these homes are labeled and identified, appraisers will be able to identify the better performing homes and begin to build data for their value.  Then these houses will be identified to the buying consumer and they will likely pay more for the benefit of lower utility bills, the appraisers will then establish a higher value and we will now get a higher selling price for our sellers. So now were not just representing buyers we are now helping sellers get more for their homes.

In addition, universal labeling will encourage those who have older homes to take advantage of those "incentives"  in order to improve the homes performance and increase their rating.  Resulting in an increased sales value for their home. 

By not supporting this it is not in the best interest of our clients."
Sales Agents, Appraisers Underestimate Value of Green

Reprinted forom the Nation's Buildign News Online
Professionals with expertise in green building sales and marketing attending the National Green Building Conference in Dallas on May 8-10 reported that they are seeing steady progress in educating real estate appraisers and sales agents to recognize the added value of homes that can save energy, promote comfort and indoor air quality and go easy on the environment.

However, at a time when builders in general are encountering difficult appraisal problems because of slow sales and surging forecloses, finding appraisers who know how to make suitable property comparisons to provide accurate valuations of green homes is particularly challenging, they said.

The large majority of those who play a role in the residential appraisal and sales process don't have enough expertise in green homes to value them correctly or to promote their unique features to prospective buyers. Because of that, consumers aren't always aware of the improvements that their builders or remodelers make, whether their information comes from these professionals or from the tools that they use - like the local MLS system.

Putting Green in the MLS
Al Medina, director of the Green Designation program of the National Association of RealtorsŪ, said that only about 1% of the nation's independently owned and operated MLS's have a green feature. His organization is working to change that deficiency by educating its sales agents about the value of green and the importance of establishing its benefits in the listings and in the minds of consumers.

Toward the end of last year, roughly 1,500 RealtorsŪ had completed the educational requirements to receive the green designation, Medina said. "Agents are a great conduit to consumers and the public," he said. "There is clearly pent-up demand for green education."

As part of its mission, the association's Green Resource Council is working to include entry fields in MLS's to identify green features and certifications that will help agents search for sustainable homes and properties and allow builders and sellers to market their green homes.

As a prototype, Medina recommended MLS inputs initiated by RealtorsŪ in Traverse City, Mich. and its green disclosure statement, which is the most comprehensive greening of a MLS that the council has received. "This is one great example," he said, "and it wouldn't have gotten done without the collaboration of the local Home Builders Association of the Grand Traverse Area."

Green Appraisals
On the appraisal side, we are behind any movement or education that gets the appraisal world on board with this stuff," Medina said.

Don Briggs, whose company Briggs Associates Inc. specializes in green appraisals, said that a builder or RealtorsŪ should expect the appraiser who comes to view their green property to be competent, but if he isn't knowledgeable about green building he may fall short in determining the most probable price a property will bring in the open market. "He can leave things out, and he is responsible for that," Briggs said.

While green may not yet have received the full market recognition it deserves, Briggs added, "90% of people looking for a home have at least some awareness of green."

In the meantime, "you're going to have to educate appraisers," he said, and go out and look for those who are competent in assessing green homes.
For appraisers who are in the business of making market comparisons in order to assess home values, "data from the Multiple Listing Service is the right place to look," said John Stovall, vice president of EcoBroker. "But most MLS's don't identify green properties."

Stovall said that NAHB members can help promote the higher value and customer benefits of green homes by working with knowledgeable agents to include appropriate data in the MLS.

His own company, which was honored during the NAHB Green Conference as the "Green Advocate of the Year," now has some 5,000 members spreading the word in all 50 states about the advantages of green housing.

As an example of emerging companies that are dedicated to selling green housing, Stovall cited Seattle-based GreenWorks Realty, which bills itself as the first real estate brokerage in the country to specialize in green properties.

The company's agents drive their business by volunteering with various local organizations in the area, including Built Green of King and Snohomish Counties, the Northwest Eco-Building Guild and the Seattle Chamber of Commerce.

Shoving Buyers Out the Door
Blazing some new territory of her own, Beth Johnson, of Advocates Realty in Dallas, has earned all of the national green credentials available and was the first certified EcoBroker in Texas.

"When a buyer comes to me, they tend to be green leaning," Johnson said. "What makes them comfortable is the resale value. They understand the concept that you don't want a white elephant home that's not even Energy Star five or 10 years from now."

About 37% of the homes built in Texas are Energy Star certified, she said, and Texas ranks as the leading state for that program.

Conceding that there are some extra up-front costs in making homes more energy efficient - which is a growing priority for municipalities across the state - Johnson said that they tend not to be significant amounts of money and they can be mitigated by savings on utility bills and energy tax credits.
Johnson warned green builders that listing agents who aren't knowledgeable about their homes could be doing more harm than good. She said she has encountered agents who can't tell prospective buyers the program under which a home has been certified, which is "very confusing" to them. "Sometimes your own sales staff is shoving them out the door," she said.

With plenty of trained RealtorsŪ coming into the market, "you might as well choose someone who can articulate your product accurately and enthusiastically," she said.
 
Stop Whining!
Rich Kogelschatz, Heartland Builders
Kogelschatz is a member of the Green Built Michigan Board of Directors, chair of the Great Lakes Green Committee, and chair of the Green Built Michigan Marketing Committee. Owner of Heartland Builders, LLC based in Rockford, Michigan, Rich Kogelschatz currently serves as Builder Vice President of the board of directors of the HBA Greater Grand Rapids. In 2005, Heartland Builders he was recognized by Disability Advocates and the Fair Housing Center of West Michigan for our commitment for universal design.

Times are tough.  That is true.  Nevertheless, these are the times where you have to focus on marketing and improving the business side of your business and the processes of your construction practices. 
 
Let's start with marketing?  Do you have a website?  Is it up to date?  Is it fresh?  Does it say what you want it to say?  Does it have the logo of Green Built Michigan prominently displayed?  Is your website linked to and from both your local HBA and Green Built Michigan?  One third of my website traffic is generated by the logo link that appears on my HBA website.  How do I know that?  I track my traffic through Google Analytics which is a free service.  If you do not currently track your traffic you should?  Is your website optimized?  How can prospective customers find you? 
 
Start a blog.  I started mine through BloggerWord Press is also a blogging service.  They are both free.  I have tied mine to my website.  This is a great way to post content that is relevant to your business.  It is a great way to get your message a crossed. 
 
Have you thought about press releases?  Another free opportunity.  The marketing committee within Green Built Michigan and Elyse are working on developing press releases that highlight the great work of our members.  More to follow.....
 
The best source of marketing is your local HBA.  Participate in events.  Join committees.  I consider my local HBA as one of my primary marketing sources.  Parade of Homes.  Home Shows.  Committee chairmanships and the Presidency.  All are great sources of marketing opportunities.  My belief about HBA involvement is that "you give what you get and you get what you give."  It takes effort, but there is great reward. 
 
On to money.  Typically, we builders spend more time worrying about the number of 2x4's in the estimating process than we do in the actual building process.

  • Develop a scope's of work program.  When you send out estimates send them out using your scope of work (by trade) for every house you build. 
  • Want to cut the cost of your homes?  Start value engineering your plans.  Cut out waste. 
  • Want to stop slippage?  Why did we need 100 more sheets of OSB and what happened to the 104 that we returned?  Yikes.  Get control by starting to use purchase orders. 
  • What about change orders?  First, make your customers decide all of their selections in advance of construction and if change orders occur charge them.  Charge your customers for the changes.  Do not give your work away, but getting them to make decisions in advance of construction will save time and effort.
 
Take classes.  Your HBA likely offers several classes throughout the year.  Start taking them.  Reward does follow effort.
 
Start making things happen.  There is business out there.  Green builders seem to be the ones that are busiest (relative term I know).  That is good.  It is a credit to what you are doing.  It is also a credit to our cause at Green Built Michigan.  Let us know how we can help you.  We care. 

Have something you would like to share? Submit articles to Green Built Michigan at ekopietz@greenbuiltmichgan.org.
Detroit Opens Recycling Facility

Waste Management Inc. is opening a new 63,000-square-foot recycling center in Detroit, a facility that will handle 150 tons of material every day.

"Waste Managementīs Detroit Recycling Center is an example of how Detroit is transforming into an economically diverse metropolitan area," Mayor Dave Bing said. "The company was able to take a large vacant commercial building and turned it into a sustainable business operation."
Waste Management, based in Houston, spent $2 million on the project that will initially employ six people, the company said.

The center will handle paper and plastics at first, and the company hopes to expand operations in the future.

"This facility is an investment in the city of Detroit and all of southeast Michigan," CEO David Steiner said.
 
Red Hot Trends in Green Roofs

Red Hot Trends in Green Roofs

July 30 | 2 PM EDT

Free Buildign design & Construction Webcast

"Red Hot Trends in Green Roofs" provides architects, contractors, building owners and other professionals with a top-level discussion of current issues and approaches to sustainable roof applications and products. Attention is given to how sustainability affects design, specifying and procurement of roof materials.Specifically, the webcast offers an understanding of the successful applications of building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPVs), vegetative roofs and cool roofs. Key issues include energy use and ratings, roof performance, maintenance and code compliance.

REGISTER FOR THIS WEBCAST

TOPICS AND SPEAKERS:
  • "Keys to a Successful Vegetated Roof System" Laura M. Cavanaugh, LEED AP, Facility Engineering Associates, P.C. (Fairfax, VA.)
  • "Building-Integrated Solar Technologies" Elie Rothschild, Sustainable Energy Partners (San Francisco, CA.)
  • "Energy Ratings for Cool Roofs", Sherry Hao, Cool Roof Rating Council (Oakland, CA.)
 
 
Article Title
Try using case studies, success stories, testimonials or examples of how others used your product or service successfully. Solicit material from clients and vendors, or ask your readers to write. It's a win-win! You get relevant content, and they get exposure.
 
Insert a "read on" link at the bottom of your article to drive traffic to your website. Links are tracked, allowing you to see which articles create the most interest for your readers.
 
ANSI Standard
Cottage Home
Frost Properties Inc
Scott Christopher Homes
VanderMeulen Builders
Your Logo Here
GBM Logo By becoming a $100 sponsor of Great Lakes Green 2009,  your logo as a clickable link can appear here for an entire year!
 
Member Log-In
Members can log in to the Green Built Michigan website to access member only information.

All you need to do:
  1. Go to the website.
  2. Click on the members button on the main page.
  3. Enter your member log-in name and password.
  4. Don't have a log-in name and password? You'll be prompted to create one. It may take 24-48 hours for your account to be activated.
Will You Be Our Friend?
Green Built Michigan is now on facebook! Become our friend and stay up to date with what's new at GBM as well as connect with other Green Built Members.

Find us on Facebook at
facebook.com/GreenBuiltMichigan

Don't have a facebook account? Don't know how to create a facebook account? Join us for a conference call education session, date to be scheduled.

If you are intersted, email ekopietz@greenbuiltmichigan.org
 

Coming Up...
Next month's issue of the Green Built Update will discuss Green Flooring.

Is there something you would like to know?

Are you an expert?
We Need You!
Your help is needed at Great Lakes Green. We're looking for outgoing, friendly people with a passion for green building and remodeling to serve as greeters, help with registration, and assist the speakers during the education sessions.

Download the volunteer form, or call Pam Frakenburger, Director of Great Lakes Green at 517-646-2572. You can also email Pam.
 
Who's Visiting?
Who's visiting Green Built Michigan and learning about our members?

  • We receive just under 1,000 unique visitors to our website each month.
  • This month, 47% of those come to us through search engines, like google or yahoo
  • This month, 38% of those who visit, go to a page we are linked to our site
  • 73 people who visited Eastbrook Homes, clicked from their site to learn more about Green Built Michigan
  • Over 2,000 people this year have wanted to learn more about home certification
 
SWPPP Training for NPDES
No it's not alphabet soup, it's Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plans for the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System.

Iif that isn't enough acronym's to have you singing the ABC's...it's worth 8 CEU's, or continuing education cretis.

Thursday, September 3
Pinnacle Center in Hudsonville, MI

Presented by The International Erosion Control Association and West Michigan Soil Erosion Control Network

For more information call 616-530-8230
Featured Article
What action, if any, do you want your members to take? Add a "Find out more" link to additional information that you may have hosted on your website.