The financial markets may be in turmoil, but one market still holds promise for growth. You can learn more about it this weekend at West Coast Green, kicking off tomorrow at the San Jose Convention Center. Over a hundred exhibitors and speakers will be on hand, educating 14,000 attendees from architects to homeowners on green building products and services. If you are an entrepreneur, job-seeker, or investor who is looking for up and coming opportunities, this may be the place to look.
The commercial building market overall was valued at $352 billion in 2006, and the residential construction market was valued at $595 billion. The residential green building market alone is currently worth $12 to $20 billion, and is projected to double over the next five years, according to research published this year by McGraw-Hill Construction. In their most recent report, Global Green Building Trends, over half of survey respondents indicated that they would be building green on more than 60% of their projects over the next five years. This is an immense opportunity for green building product and service providers. Commercial and residential new construction, remodels, and retrofits will all need green lumber, water-efficient fixtures and landscaping, insulation, energy-efficient lighting, to name a few. For those new to the world of green building, Glenn Croston, the author of the book 75 Green Businesses, founder of the organization Starting Up Green, and a speaker at the conference this weekend, can provides tips, strategies, and consulting for green entrepreneurs.
But who are the customers for all of these products, and how can you best market to them? MindClick Group, a market research company that specializes in sustainable trends will be presenting at the conference. They have developed a Global Warming Consumer Concern Continuum™ which offers a benchmark of consumer attitudes and behaviors in response to environmental concerns. According to their survey analysis, the six levels of consumers in the green markets are: Alarmists, Enthusiasts, Active Awares, Passive Awares, Indifferents, and Non-Believers. More than 60 percent of these consumers reported engaging in at least one green action per month in the past year, such as installing energy-efficient lighting or reducing bottled water purchases. These consumers say they support businesses that provide green products and services and want to see more of them: only 16 percent of the survey participants think that business is working to address the problems of global warming.
In times of economic uncertainty, the green building sector seems more certain to grow. Home-owners will increasingly be demanding the benefits of energy-efficiency, cost savings, increased durability, and a higher overall quality product. Commercial building owners will be seeking reduced operating costs, enhanced asset value and profits, improved employee productivity and satisfaction, and optimized life-cycle economic performance. If you are interested in doing well by doing good in the construction industry, this is your opportunity.