Marketing Green Building to Prospective Home Owners: Today’s Trends

Q&A with Troy Johns

Sustainability and Green Building
Troy Johns
Troy Johns is founder and co-owner of Urban NW Homes, LLC, based in Vancouver, Wash.

How do you market high-performance building to your potential customers?

Every buyer is different; the key is finding their hot button. When a client walks in the door, I will skim over “here’s what a green home is, my four pillars of green — energy, sustainability, durability and a healthy home.” They usually say, “Yes, this right here is what is important to me.” Then we will go with that and dive a bit deeper. Not too deep usually, because half of them aren’t in it for the green; they just want to buy a great house. You can scare them away if you talk too much.

Where are you seeing a lot of customer interest right now, what is the “hot button” for many?

Indoor air quality — we are getting a lot of customers planning for multigenerational households, for grandparents to be moving in at some point. One in five people over 55 have respiratory issues, so having a brand-new home that minimizes off-gassing that they can breathe in without problems resonates with a lot of buyers.

How do the conversations you have with customers now differ from conversations 10 years ago?

It’s a lot different because high performance is accepted as a real thing now, not a marketing gimmick. But something that worked well then and is still working well is to bring both the real-estate agents and potential clients through a home before the sheetrock is up and show them how it is constructed and explain what that construction will do for you in terms of efficiency, comfort and well-being. We can advertise all day long and not get the market penetration that the hands-on tours generate.

This content originally appeared in the February 2020 edition of Green Intersects eNews. To sign up for the newsletter, contact Linda Wade.