Between 2004-2006 I began taking the Diploma Series courses at North Carolina State University in their Green Building and Renewable Energy Technologies Diploma programs and received both Diplomae. There was also a program within the NCSU Solar Center called the ‘NC Healthy Built Homes,’ and I became certified in that program. During this same time, the concept of Green Building was just being talked about in our local Homebuilders Association, although no one in our area had built a certified Green Home yet.
My husband and I discussed needing a new roof on our home and some additional living space, as well as a new Home Office so we could relocate our business to our home to eliminate the hour commute we had to our office building. Therefore, we decided we would add to our home, using all the info I had learned, and design a ‘Green / High Performance’ transformation.
Since this would be the first home of this type in our area, we also chose to promote the project:
- as an educational and awareness opportunity for the local community, and
- to promote our Design business as Green / High-Performance Design and Building Experts.
At that time, I was also a Licensed Contractor and the Co-Chair of the Lake Norman Homebuilders Association’s Green Building Council, along with another local Builder. We thought this would be a great way to get more of our local Builder members on board with building Green / High-Performance homes if they could see one being built and if through the educational opportunities that we would provide to the public, we could create more demand from existing homeowners, new home buyers, and realtors, for homes to be built this way.
Our first step was putting together our Project Team, and then we developed a Marketing Plan and brand identity for our project. The Team had to be assembled first, and the list of Team members included our CPA and the bank Lender, who both had to be educated on the Green Building / High-Performance concept to get them on board to assist us in funding the project and also to help promote it. I held lunch meetings with them several times to create an educational opportunity to learn about the high-performance concepts and our goals.
The Team also included a Builder friend of ours to be a consultant on the build who had a certification in Indoor Air Quality (IAQ), the Director of the North Carolina Solar Center as a consultant on the ‘Healthy Built Homes’ Certification we were going for and the solar aspects of the home, the Interior Designer, who also had earned Diploma’s in Green Building and Renewable Energy Technologies through NCSU, having taken the courses along with me, and the Landscape Designer, who also had training in xeriscaping.
We also teamed up with a local marketing firm I had worked with before to develop the project Name, the Marketing Strategy, and the Branding.
The following is the what and how of our marketing program:
- We created a brand identity for the project, called: ‘Project: Live Green.’
- Developed a Logo and Business cards for each of the main Team members of the project.
In addition, we:
- Created a Media Packet, Press Releases, brochures, flyers, car magnets, Green / High-Performance drawings of the Site Plan, Floor Plans, and Elevations with the Green / High-Performance elements indicated on them, Invitations, etc.
- Created a billboard to start generating interest.
- Collaborated with the local Habitat for Humanity to develop a series of weekend fund-raisers at our home to raise Habitat funds, allowing them to fund more of their green-built homes.
- Invited the whole Team and other members of the High-Performance community, including the Director of the ‘Center for the Environment’ at a local college, along with the local media, to a ‘Ground Breaking event, which gave us free local press.
- Documented it with numerous photos and invited builders and related industry professionals to tour it during the construction build process. It was certified as a Silver level Green Built home in the ‘NC Healthy Built Homes certification program and an Energy Star rated home.
- After it dried in during the framing stage, we held an ‘Art, Wine, & Green’ event where artists were able to display their work throughout the home on any available stud, and invited others by invitation to tour the home, drink wine, and buy art.
- Upon completion, we opened the home to the fund-raising tours for Habitat for Humanity for 3 consecutive weekends, where all proceeds went to Habitat. We set up an entrance table in the Foyer, staffed by Habitat members, to sell the tickets and accept the proceeds, leaving our staff and us free to give the tours.
- After we completed the tours, we then invited the local Homebuilders Association’s Green Building Council to the home for their monthly meeting and a tour, as well as the AIBD, the local NARI, the Director and students from the Center for the Environment, the Director and students of the NC Solar Center, and hundreds of others in the community.
- As a result of the press releases we sent out about the home, it was featured in the national publications ‘Smart Homeowner’ magazine – making the cover, and in ‘Natural Home’ magazine, in local magazine ‘Today’s Custom Home,’ and numerous other publications and newspapers, all for free.
- We made appointments and visited Realtor offices, bringing breakfast to talk about the project and invite them out for tours.- We also had our Design Studio in the high-performance home, so every client and prospect who came through our doors for 6 years also received a tour. Our home became very well-known in our community and was a very successful marketing campaign for our design business and the other Team members.
Included with this article is a link to some of the documents we created for the home, which you may find useful as a guide for creating your home High-Performance home marketing project.