Builders See Increased Demand for Green Materials

by | Jul 9, 2010

Home builders are increasingly looking for affordable green materials as demand for traditional construction materials declines in favor of more environmentally friendly offerings, according to a report in the Daily Journal of Commerce.

According to the report, companies like The Collins Cos, a wood products producer, have seen demand for conventional wood products fall as the green-building movement has expanded. Now, companies are looking to researchers to help them develop new environmentally responsible adhesives, plastics, and wood products. The article quoted on Collins executive as saying that the company’s green product line now accounts for 20 – 25 percent of revenues in a market that is increasingly being driven by a desire to adhere to LEED certification standards.

The article cited Columbia Forest Products, which recently adopted a new soy-based adhesive to replace its urea-formaldehyde-based adhesive it had been using previously. The switch did not increase Columbia’s sourcing costs, but the Collins Cos says they haven’t been able to make the same switch, since the soy-based adhesive doesn’t work with its particle board products.

However, the higher cost of green materials over traditional materials is still an issue for businesses as they look for ways to remain competitive on a cost basis, according to the report. To address the problem, the Oregon Green Chemistry Advisory Group is looking to fund a new research hub to focus on the development of environmentally friendly chemicals and materials. The Group also contributed to a report calling for closer collaboration between researchers and industry in an effort to spur further innovation in the green materials sector.

From 2010 to 2015, the total US green building market value is projected to increase from $71.1 billion to $173.5 billion, according to the latest issue of EL Insights. Developers in Sacramento are using sustainability and environmental certifications such as the Energy Star Label and LEED standards as a key marketing tool to attract tenants, while Lennar and KB Home, two prominent national home builders, have launched energy and water-efficient home lines that they are marketing as “green.”

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