Is green building a buzz word?

Solar panels and rain gardenMy mom lives in Northern Idaho and recently bought property that she is hoping to build on. She immediately called Ian and I and asked for help finding a builder. [pullquote]So we did what most folks do in this era when they are looking for something, we looked online.[/pullquote] We were hoping to find a builder with values similar to those of Chuckanut Builders.  A builder that always builds beyond code minimum; who understands that building performance is about more than saving money on energy bills, who understand that it also impacts the health, durability and comfort of a home; and a builder who will spend time planning the project to avoid unexpected delays, change orders and frustrations during construction. I could go on about the builder we were hoping to find for my mom, but the real focus of this post is the fact that none of these values are easy to search for on Google! We searched for building performance contractor and come up with nothing. We searched for resource and energy efficiency contractor and came up with nothing. Then, we searched for green builder and we came up with a handful of contractors to call.

Interestingly, until this happened, until we started looking for a general contractor for my mom, we hadn’t considered adding the descriptor of ‘green builder’ to our website.  It felt like a buzz word, a passing phrase that would soon go away and become passé. We also didn’t want to box ourselves in in that way.  We’re more than ‘green builders,’ it’s just the way we build.

That said, we’re realizing that building performance, energy and resource efficiency, Passive House, Net Zero, energy audits and eco-building are technical terms that many people have never heard, or don’t fully understand. And the truth is, that is okay.  It’s our job to explain them, decode them for clients and incorporate them when necessary.

The takeaway from all of this is the fact that we need find a descriptor that truthfully describes Chuckanut Builders that folks can also put into Google. So, we added green building to the site. We’re still worried that it will become passé at some point. We still describe ourselves to clients as building performance contractors. But until building performance and resource efficiency become common phrases for folks that aren’t in the ‘industry’ we’ll stick with green building. Maybe it’s a buzz word today, maybe it will slowly fade away, but until then folks can put ‘Bellingham green builder’ into Google and find us. And we think that’s a good thing.