“Healthy” Sells When Marketing Building Products

marketing healthy building products

If your product is a clean product –  no toxins, prevents allergies, inhibits mold, etc., you should be marketing your product as healthy. 

Healthy products are green products and according to a McGraw-Hill Construction study, the Green Homes Market is expected to increase five-fold by 2016.

If you are an early adopter, opportunity is in your favor, when it comes to marketing healthy building products.  Now is the time to be a trend setter in your category by being an early adopter of healthy, green building products.

If you’re a manufacturer and you don’t know how healthy your product is, use the following checklists for your assessments:

Healthy Standards:

  1. Low-to-no pollution during manufacturing
  2. Use of natural materials (require less manufacturing, processing and energy)
  3. Local materials (less transit means less pollution)
  4. Non-toxic or less toxic than traditional materials (low VOC)
  5. Biodegradable

Health Environment Checklist:

  1. Blocks the start, development, or spread of indoor contaminants
  2. Eliminates indoor pollutants
  3. Alerts people to indoor health hazards
  4. Daylighting and noise control
  5. Improves community well-being

After assessing your products, next compare your product to your competitors.  If you find a competitor’s product has similar health benefits, don’t worry.  If that’s the case, study how they’re marketing those qualities and look for areas where you can do a better job of marketing.

If you find you do have healthy product differences, lucky you – you’ve just found a unique selling point and (predicted five-fold by 2016) marketable advantage.

If you discover an unhealthy side of your product, take a step back, look at your long-term costs and benefits.  Assess what it would take to improve or eliminate the at-risk part of your manufacturing process or product. Remember, there is money to be made –five-fold by 2016.  

The Scary Truth, Indoor Air is Seriously Polluted

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America found that indoor air quality is one of the top five environmental health risks — that risk is increased because Americans spend 95% of their day indoors and in cars.

Why It’s So Bad …

During the oil crises in the 1970s, people rushed to make buildings airtight.  Ultimately these tightly sealed buildings caused a health problem called “sick building syndrome.” This occurs when natural or artificial ventilation is so poor that it can’t exhaust odors and chemicals given off by some building materials. Carcinogens found in the resins in plywood and particle board, and the chemicals used in foam insulation, among others are all associated with sick building syndrome.

You May Be Legally Liable for Sick Building Syndrome

Poor IAQ (indoor air quality) in commercial buildings can be justification for a lawsuit.  Health problems including asthma, lung disease, allergenic reactions, Legionnaire’s disease, mold related illness can be caused by sick building syndrome, which if proven could make you legally liable for damages.

Liable Parties:

  • Building Product Manufacturers
  • Architects
  • General Contractors
  • HVAC Contractors
  • Building Owners

Who Cares?  And Why?

Anyone who’s aware of indoor pollutants has a vested interested in knowing more about the benefits of buying healthy building products.

Homeowners:  Awareness is growing with homeowners.

The Trade:  Those who are directly involved in the building products buying channel are informed and incentivized to include green products in their projects. They are also bound by building code requirements and building codes.  The aggressively greening codes will drive sales to those early adopters, manufacturers with green building products.

While energy efficiency is still the primary motivator to buy, energy ROI is completely dwarfed by the Health and well-being ROI.  According to a cost benefit study, a report to California’s Sustainable Building Task Force, productivity and health benefits are by far the largest benefits of green building.

Motivations to Buy Green Building Products

  • 73% Lowering life-cycle costs, such as energy efficiencies and productivity increases
  • 72% Being part of an industry that values the environment
  • 53% Expanding my business with green building clients
  • 52% Means for staying informed about LEED
  • 51% Green product information
  • 44% Benefit from publicity
  • 33% Higher ROI on resale
  • 31% Awards for Green Building

Source: McGraw Hill Construction, 2005

Benefits of Building Green

  • 88% (78%) Health and well-being
  • 84% (72%) Building Value (real estate)
  • 78% (63%) Worker Productivity
  • 68% (52%) ROI
  • 61% (57%) Asking Rents
  • 45% (32%) Retail Sales
  • 44% (37%) Occupancy Rates

Source:  Turner Construction 2005 Market Barometer

Green is Affordable

Even though green building is rapidly gaining acceptance in your market, it’s your job as a building product manufacturers to simply and clearly message and market the benefits of healthy products to your buyer.

Both manufacturers and buyers may still  think that “going green” is costly – that the cost is higher for safer, greener products. That simply just is not the case anymore. Low-toxic, safer products are so close in price to “conventional” products that any difference in cost is nominal.

The key is selling the added value of health and well-being.  It’s like an extension of your overall health regiment. Do the math for your buyer, they need to understand their building costs and their life cycle costs.  Typically  those costs are less than 1% of the total building cost for new home construction.  That less than 1% buys assurance, assurance of low toxin levels,  low VOCs and a clean and safe home.

photo credit: PremierSIPs via photopin cc

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