Lucas Hamilton is Manager, Building Science Applications for CertainTeed Corporation
This question has been popping up in builder polls. The discussion is around the motivation on the part of consumers for buying green. The latest trend seems to be there is a decrease in the number of people willing to pay more for green products or green construction on the premise that it is good for the planet. However, there are more people willing to pay more for sustainable products to save money or because it is better for their health.
In these times of economic difficulty, people are focusing more on the health aspects and potential energy savings related to sustainable products based on the benefits over the life of the product. This is a significant maturing over the old “up-front cost factor” which drove so many decisions in the past. Obviously, there is a growing need to validate products through tools like Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) in order to provide the long term data needed for these types of decisions. People are looking for this information and validation as to the benefits.
For the sustainable manufacturing sector this is good news. Since many progressive manufacturers have been performing the data collection needed to generate product LCAs and Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) it’s only a matter now of providing that data to consumers in a form they can use.
It is time to have the life cycle conversation with people rather than just showing pictures of polar bears on ice caps in an effort to pull on their heartstrings. Consumers want the facts in order to make smart, sustainable choices.