Green is dead
If you are thinking of becoming an environmental contractor, forget it, there’s no point. The market has disappeared.
September 24, 2012 by Robert Koci
It’s been a good run for green. It came into fashion in the 1970s, pushed by the oil crisis and the fear that we were heading towards a new Ice Age. Back then, it was mostly pollution that concerned us: dirty air, dirty water, dirty streets. Few businesses were interested in marketing themselves as environmentally-friendly. Cleaning up was a job for governments.
But over time, environmentalism began to sound good to consumers. Today, businesses are investing billions of dollars to convince us that their products not only solve a particular consumer problem, but are also “good for the planet.”
Over the last decade, many renovators and custom homebuilders have focused their efforts on becoming green builders. At Canadian Contractor, we began to publish our annual Green Report, which brought you up-to-date on green products and green building techniques. And some customers began to shift their priorities: they began to pay more money for green products.
And then came 2008. Holding onto our jobs became much more important than whether our carbon footprint was big or small. Stephane Dion and the Liberals were trounced in a federal election after threatening to hit us all with massive carbon taxes. The dissolution of the Kyoto protocol followed. Then came leaked emails from scientists proving they were more interested in protecting their careers than telling the truth about global warming. Quietly, consumers have walked away from green.
It still makes sense to build energy efficient buildings that reduce running costs. In fact, that will be the only lasting legacy of the green movement. But to be a “green” contractor? Forget it. It won’t earn you a nickel of extra margin or income. Nobody cares any more.