The majority of lumber and building material dealers (69.6%) in a survey by EcoHome’s sister publication ProSales said that contractors are asking about green building slightly more often than before, a response consistent across all regions.

Nevertheless, findings in this month’s ProSales survey, which asked LBM pros about the state of the green construction movement in their communities as well as whether they had taken action to green their own operations, show that custom builders, consumers, and remodelers are most interested in green, while big builders ask the fewest questions, and that customers have a keen interest in reducing energy costs. 

Below is round-up of some of the other responses from the 142 survey respondents classified as dealers, molding/millwork companies, and shortline specialty dealers.

  • The greatest number of respondents (42.2%) indicated that current interest in green building and remodeling in their area is high enough for them to take action. 35.6% reported barely any interest; 11.3% reported robust interest; and 6.2% reported no interest.

  • Dealers in the New England/Mid-Atlantic region and the West region indicated the most current interest in green building by customers.

  • Dealers and distributors are getting requests for green building information most of all from custom home builders (69.8%), followed by consumers (66.7%), remodelers (45.2%), and commercial customers (41.3%). Large production builders are asking for information the least, indicated by only 8.7% of respondents.

  • By far, dealers’ customers are most interested in learning about reducing energy costs, with 59.7% of respondents indicating “strong” interest by customers. Respondents indicated “moderate” interest by customers in resource efficiency, building long-lasting structures, promoting ecological diversity, and improving indoor air quality. “Weak” customer interest was indicated most for conserving water.

  • 32.6% of respondents said a builder has asked the LBM operation to provide materials that would help them achieve LEED for Homes certification.

  • 47.5% of dealer/distributor respondents collect and share information on the green qualities of their products. 44.4% share information on green construction basics.

  • 25.2% of dealer respondents have a formal program to help customers identify green products; 26.8% do not have a formal program but have an expert on staff to handle green product queries.

  • More than half of respondents report making their yard more eco-friendly by turning off computers at night and monitoring energy more closely. Nearly 50% also have installed energy-efficient lighting.

  • Respondents were nearly evenly split in agreement and disagreement with the following question: “With the decline in business, builders and remodelers are less interested in green construction now than they were at this time last year.” The greatest number, 37%, neither agreed nor disagreed.

  • The greatest number of respondents (34.7%) disagreed with this statement: “Survival is what matters most to us now. Thus, we are less interested in selling green products now than we were at this time last year.”

  • The greatest number of respondents (45.7%) agreed with this statement: “Green isn’t a big thing in our area now, but we believe it will become a significant factor in home building and remodeling in the future.”

Click here for full results, including responses to open-ended questions, from the ProSales dealer survey.