green building pays off

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When I was researching a story on the state of the custom home market back in late 2008, many of the experts I talked to said green builders would have an advantage during the recession. The Urban Land Institute's John McIlwain told me, "...the builders who promote greener building are the ones who seem to be the most active," and the consumer trend gurus I spoke with agreed. So did Sarah Susanka, who said that "there's a healthy group of people who want houses that respond to the current challenges."

It seems they were right. As I've been speaking with green builders for the July-August 2010 issue of Custom Home, I'm struck by the fact that most of the ones I talk to have been relatively busy over the past year and a half. Of course, their workloads have dropped off, just like everyone else's. But, at least anecdotally speaking, many of those who were building sustainably before the housing bust appear to have more work than those who weren't. "Consumers are coming to us for green stuff," one longtime green builder in the Pacific Northwest told me recently. "When things slowed down, I was still getting just as many calls."--m.d.



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