Archive for December, 2009

By Shawn Draper

Often the eternal optimist – I still vote for people running for public office – I look back on 2009 with a feeling of success. The housing market is righting itself after two years of decline. Strong, resourceful home builders, remodelers, contractors, and manufacturers used this past year to better hone themselves and, in turn, put themselves in a favorable position to succeed moving forward.

Now this is not to ignore the fact that many good people are out of work and that credit is still a big concern as we move forward. We still have much more work to do as we enter the New Year. This work is the next opportunity to do something significant in the year to come.

In 2010, I foresee social networking – the current term for one to one relationships – will change the landscape of building products distribution where manufacturers will be able to develop direct relationships with the trade and consumers to help them make product decisions. Social networking will lead the trade and consumers to help manufacturers develop better products and services. Of course, the manufacturers need to get on board the social network in a meaningful, strategic way today.

The New Year will have our industry move from green products and marketing to sustainable and high performance products, services, and marketing. No longer will it be good enough to simply reduce, reuse, and recycle. In 2010, we will look to life cycle management and high performance standards for our products. Ultimately, high performance products and building will be the standard where today it is the opportunity.

2010 will bring about a return to strategic marketing for all involved with the home and building industries. More than one manufacturer has shared with me the realization that the strategic marketer has been lost through downsizing. This is critical at a time when new media is changing decision-making and new building standards are producing growth in our industry. Add the demand for greater measurement, return on investment, and more aggressive competition across multiple industries, and 2010 brings opportunities to the businesses that see this turn of events now and put themselves into play.

So here is to the things we learned in 2009 and to the things we will accomplish in 2010. Happy New Year everyone!

 One Step Back and Two Steps Forward: Goodbye 2009, Hello 2010

Flickr user 2composers

The Best of The Best of 2009

By Building Experts Team

Do you enjoy reading year in review recaps and lists?  Well we’ve collected some of the best covering various topics, from business to social media, and all of the building industry categories in between.

Personally, I don’t like to spend too much time dwelling on the past year, or any of the past years for that matter.  Sure, you can learn a lot by looking back, but the future is ahead of us.

I once heard a wise man say, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift, that’s why we call it the present.” That wise man was Mike Ditka.  Here’s to a healthy and happier 2010.  Lets get after it.  Now enjoy the recap.

What Twitter and Facebook’s 2009 Trends Tell Us About Ourselves

Dumbest moments in business 2009

62 Innovative Green Homes of 2009

place seattle 300x219 The Best of The Best of 2009

Place Houses Prefab in the Pacific Northwest

USGBC Announces Recipients of 2009 LEED for Homes Awards

9 Tough Breaks For The Housing Industry in 2009

The Year in Home Builder Buzzwords 2.0

Looking back at 10 housing predictions for 2009. How did they fare?

A turbulent year for the multifamily industry

Top Green Architecture Stories of 2009

wwwinhabitat 300x235 The Best of The Best of 2009

Credit inhabitat

2009 AIA Honor Awards

Interior Design Top News Stories of 2009

The 20 Most Popular Green Stories of 2009

19 Green Building Innovations of 2009

Top 10 Green Building Products of 2009

ENR Annual Photo Contest 2009: The Submissions

enr photo contest 300x214 The Best of The Best of 2009

Photo by Gary DeJolie

Digg’s Top 10 Most Popular Stories of 2009

2009 As Seen Through Twitter Hashtags

Facebook Memology: Top Status Trends of 2009’s 10 Most Read Stories of 2009

By Building Experts Team

buildintelholiday medium 1024x683 Season's Greetings from Build Intel!

By Building Experts Team

1013 45 banner build weeklyintel2 Weekly Intel: Top Links of the Week

Deal set in Copenhagen for world’s first truly global pact on cutting greenhouse gases

The top 10 reports of the week from COP15

“The Most Innovative Home Never Built”

Don’t expect Hovanian Enterprises to turn a profit in 2010

Few buyers considering foreclosures

Architectural Billings Index (ABI) dropped more than three points in November

Companies are looking for varied skill sets to meet their needs around sustainability

Obama calls insulation ‘sexy’

New trade group – the Leading Builders of America

By Building Experts Team

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced new social media regulations effective December 1, 2009. Whether your organization is proactively engaged in social media or just loosely experimenting, putting a social media policy in place for your employees and understanding the FTC guidelines is a must to avoid risk exposure.

Below you’ll find a recording from IMRE’s (our company) Social Media Policy Webinar that was conducted this past Tuesday, December 15.  Watch and learn about:

  • Employee risk statistics/factors
  • FTC guideline implications
  • Issues with solutions
  • IMRE’s approach to specific policy components, including who should own the process, how to build a collaborative effort and content for your policy and training program

By greeniq

picture 1 TFF Unveils New Interactive Website

The Tropical Forest Foundation (TFF) (IMRE client) just launched a renovated, state-of-the-art website. The interactive format is more accessible and educational for its current supporters, prospective participants, contributors and media. The resources and robust research contained within the site will allow TFF to support its mission to increase sustainable forest management and conservation in tropical regions across the globe.

Tropical Forest Foundation’s work often goes unknown in the US because much of the change TFF makes happens in tropical forests across the world. As demand for environmentally responsible products and services rapidly increases in the building sector organizations like TFF will become more and more vital to manufacturers across the industry. Training in reduced impact logging and third-party certification such as TFF’s is critical for assuring both manufacturers and consumers that natural resources have been harvested using sound, sustainable practices. TFF’s new website takes into consideration that consumers and manufacturers need easily obtainable and reliable information, thus, it has positioned itself as the first step in forest sustainability, and with its new website, provides faster access to this information.

get verified TFF Unveils New Interactive Website


The website’s updated on-site project section helps bring TFF’s work to life, with interactive tools that allow viewers to learn about projects in South America (Brazil and Guyana), the Congo Basin (Gabon), and in the Asia Pacific (Indonesia) through a multimedia format.

picture 2 TFF Unveils New Interactive Website

“In order to play an active role in conserving one of our most precious natural resources, tropical forests, we feel it is pertinent to be, not only, a service provider but a source of knowledge for our supporters and contributors,” remarked TFF President, Keister Evans. “We are proud to unveil our new website. We encourage current supporters to re-visit the site for updates and organizations considering involvement or sponsorship opportunities to visit the site to learn about how they can play a larger role in this critical issue.”

By Building Experts Team

1013 45 banner build industryinsider Industry Insider from Greenbuild   Energy Efficiency

In our fifth and final installment of the Greenbuild 2009 Industry Insider Interview series, Georgia Pacific, Owens Corning and VELUX spoke to us about the importance of energy efficiency.  They all view energy efficiency as an integral component of their sustainable practices.  When defining their approach to sustainability, each of these organizations highlighted their emphasis on efficient energy use.

By Building Experts Team

1013 45 banner build weeklyintel1 Weekly Intel: Top COP15 Tweeps of the Week

Since Copenhagen and emissions regulation dominated the news this week, and Google, we thought we’d highlight some of the best Twitter sources for COP15 – the Climate Change Conference.  Twitter lists… the old fashioned way.

twitterprofilephoto biggerjpg Weekly Intel: Top COP15 Tweeps of the Week


12 25 06i bigger1 Weekly Intel: Top COP15 Tweeps of the Week greenbiztweets

75ecologist bigger Weekly Intel: Top COP15 Tweeps of the Week the_ecologist

bbc 1 logo bigger Weekly Intel: Top COP15 Tweeps of the Week BBC_Cop15

dsc1173 bigger Weekly Intel: Top COP15 Tweeps of the Week OliviaZaleski

th gravatar 48x48 bigger Weekly Intel: Top COP15 Tweeps of the Week TreeHugger

Tree Hugger also has a Twitter list of all their partners who are covering the Conference -

katieheadshottwitter bigger Weekly Intel: Top COP15 Tweeps of the Week katiefehren

dickinson logo bigger Weekly Intel: Top COP15 Tweeps of the Week kyoto2copnhagen

aplogo strap color2 bigger Weekly Intel: Top COP15 Tweeps of the Week AP_ClimatePool

And of course, the guest of honor…

cop15 logo liggende bigger Weekly Intel: Top COP15 Tweeps of the Week cop15

By Building Experts Team

Back in October, we took a look at marketing initiatives that the top five national home builders are employing to improve their bottom line.  Through this mini audit we saw a large social media presence, increased green features and creative partnerships, to name a few.

Since that time, we’ve seen Toll Brothers take over the title of largest volume builder, the Pulte-Centex “combination” and the emergence of new players to the big show, including NVR and MDC Holdings.

Home builders were also thrown the proverbial bone, with the extension of the first-time homebuyer tax credit, which was to expire in November but saw an eleventh hour extension and add on of $6,500 credit as incentive to existing homeowners.

In this installment, we’re going to take a quick look at the financial performance of the nation’s top builders entering the new decade.

toll brothers americas luxury home builder View From the Top: Performance of the Top National Homebuilders

According to analysis on Investopdia, “The company’s loss of 68 cents a share (in fiscal fourth quarter) was a result of continued asset write-downs, namely land holdings. Sales for the quarter were down 30% from $691 million to $486 million. Analysts had expected write-downs to lead to a loss of 46 cents a share based on revenue projections of $450 million.”

On the flip side, Toll enjoyed a 42 percent jump in new sales. In a recent article from Bloomberg, Toll attributes the healthy sales bump to selling properties in fewer communities, building up cash reserves and writing down the value of inventory to improve liquidity.

drhorton logo 300x81 View From the Top: Performance of the Top National Homebuilders



Fourth-quarter revenue slumped 44 percent to $1 billion. The builder’s net loss for the three months ended Sept. 30 narrowed to $231.9 million, or 73 cents a share.

However, as reported Monday, “compensation for D.R. Horton Chairman Donald R. Horton and Chief Executive Officer Donald J. Tomnitz climbed by 56 percent in fiscal 2009, a year when the second-largest U.S. homebuilder reported a net loss of $545.3 million.”  Hmmm…


 View From the Top: Performance of the Top National Homebuilders

AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez

 View From the Top: Performance of the Top National Homebuilders





Learning Markets reports, “Pulte Homes Inc. (PHM) delivered its earnings announcement on 11/04. The company reported a change in quarter-over-quarter sales of -29.98% and posted an EPS (trailing twelve months) of -5.25.”

“Since the PHM announcement (about 30 days ago), the stock has posted a -1.73% gain (loss). Over that same period, the stock’s industry, Residential Construction, saw a -2.44% gain (loss).”

There have been major changes in the industries landscape to affect standing and sales.  It’s going to be exciting to see how the tax credit continues to affect sales, which builders consolidate further and overall, who wins the battle of the first quarter.

So are you buying or selling?

By Building Experts Team

In our fourth installment of the Greenbuild Industry Insider Series, Icynene®, Sika, and Teknion are noticing sustainability trends among customer behaviors and desires.  It is evident that no matter what the product is, customers are considering sustainable alternatives and inquiring more and more about ways to increase their return on investment.

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