Archive for December, 2011

By Building Experts Team

While we’d love to spend time (and fill pages) reminiscing about all of the highlights from 2011, it’s time to move forward. A collection of our experts have made some predictions for next year, looking at the trends in the industry, from media consumption habits to shifts in purchasing behavior. Right or wrong, we’ll have our eyes and minds on these topics throughout the year. (more…)

By Green Experts Team

Rob Heselbarth Expert Insight: 5 Residential Design and Build Sustainability Trends for 2012It’s that time of the year when the word ‘trend’ is actually a trending topic. Everyone is looking ahead to the next year, and beyond that. We sought out Residential Design + Build Editorial Director Rob Heselbarth to chat about the role of sustainability in residential design and construction. Learn what experts in the residential design and build space have seen in the last year, and what they are predicting for sustainability in 2012.

IMRE Green IQ: What changes are you seeing in the use of sustainable materials throughout the building process?

Rob Heselbarth: The sustainable materials used in the home building process are related to energy efficiency and a tight building envelope. That’s where the traction is. The focus is on materials that contribute to a return on investment for the homeowner. Residential Design + Build is about to release results of its 6th annual Market Trends Survey which reveal that 84% of homeowners are more interested in green products that save them money rather than green products made with whatever they perceive as green components.

GIQ: Are you seeing any changes in the exterior design of the home in regard to sustainability?

RH: The results of our Market Trends Survey reveal the following ranking of the top five most popular “green” products:

  • Efficient HVAC equipment
  • Low-E windows/doors
  • Efficient windows
  • Added/Upgraded insulation
  • Extra insulation

What do all of these products have in common? They’re all part of the building envelope. The trend is to address the tightness of the building envelope first to maximize the efficiency of the heating and air-conditioning equipment, which of course ultimately saves homeowners money. That’s what it’s all about right now.

GIQ: What will the biggest change for residential designers be in 2012?

RH: From a design perspective there are a few trends designers should be aware of. One is including wider hallways and doorways in every home. This is what homeowners are asking for. The “stay-put” mentality will continue to gain momentum and designers must align their designs with this attitude or lose business. From a business point of view, designers should be prepared for clients to disappear without a trace, and for their clients to encounter financing problems resulting in cancelled contracts. Our research has shown that 76% of builders and architects encountered at least one client who had financing difficulties in 2011, while roughly 80% experienced cancelled projects. Furthermore, roughly 70% experienced clients who disappeared without a trace. Finally, they should be looking for remodeling work if they’re not already because roughly 45% of respondents told us they’d be doing more remodeling work in 2012 than in 2011.

GIQ: What sustainable aspect of home design has become or is becoming a commodity that was once seen as a luxury in the past?

RH: Ultra-efficient anything. Whether it’s a super low-flow toilet or showerhead, a tankless water heater or Energy Star kitchen appliances. Conserving energy and natural resources appears to be built into every new home designed and built today.

GIQ: There was a pretty large increase in demand for green and sustainable building construction in 2011 – do you see that continuing?

RH: Yes this will continue. Two forces will ensure that this happens. One is the economic slump this country remains in, which has created a collective mindset of saving money and building in ways that accomplish this. See my previous answer about the tightness of the building envelope. Just like the lessons learned from the Great Depression were imprinted on the minds of two generations of Americans (those who experienced it and their children), the lessons from this Great Recession will stick around for many years. The second force is the way manufacturers have embraced sustainability and are producing products that contribute to smart home design and construction. It’ll only get better that way.

What do you think? Do you have any additional trends to add for residential design and build professionals?

By Social Marketing Team

Top 5 Projected Green Building Trends in 2012

The holiday season is upon us! That means 2012 is just around the corner, and what better way to kick off the New Year than with a few predictions. Here are five of the top building industry trends for 2012 we’ve been reading about.

  1. The demand for green and sustainable building construction is growing and will continue to do so in the coming year. My Green Palette expects to see a 18.3% increase in revenue next year — My Green Palette (@MyGreenPalette)
  2. Green Building is on the rise and will continue it’s rise to prominence globally in 2012, in spite of economic difficulties — Sustainable Magazine (@Sustainablemag)
  3. Energy efficiency is big. According to Builder Online’s Business Trends Forecast for 2012 it will remain top of mind — Builder Online (@BuilderOnline)
  4. Commercial Building will grow 8% and multifamily housing will rise 18% in 2012 — BHC Rhodes (@BHCRHODES)
  5. Smarter neighborhood, greater transparency in building function, the proliferation of an “Internet of things,” more energy options for buildings, and real estate finance teams will become corporations’ smarter buildings teams — Smart Planet (@SmartPlanet)

Check back next week to see our 2012 predictions from our BuildIQ and GreenIQ team experts.

QR Codes Don’t Fail, Brands Do

By Christine Pierpoint

The end of the year is generally a time to reflect on the things that got everyone buzzing and offer up a re-cap of “best of” categories. People Magazine just announced their annual Sexiest Man Alive (alas, not George Clooney), and it won’t be long before Time declares their Person of the Year. In the advertising tech world, mobile was big, but the darling of 2011 was undoubtedly the quick response (QR) Code.

That little square that vaguely resembles a black and white checkerboard became ubiquitous as marketers clamored to add it to everything from print ads to billboards, packaging and direct mail. The QR code has actually been around for years in manufacturing and distribution as a way to track inventory. It’s only been since camera phones took off that marketers recognized the potential to use the codes as a communications tool. Suddenly marketers had a new way to deliver content – for example an ad in a trade journal could link readers to OCT 11 Cover 555x650 256x300 QR Codes Don’t Fail, Brands Dobonus information.

When used appropriately, a QR code can be an effective way to enrich a brand experience or drive conversions. As a direct response device, the codes can be a convenient tool for a prospect to take action. For example, a potential buyer could scan a code to instantly download a coupon or enter a sweepstakes. In those scenarios the customer is able to realize an immediate benefit, rather than simply linking to a website. Marketers also benefit because each scan can be measured and provide marketers with data about the effectiveness of the campaign.

It didn’t take long though for critics to point out some fails in QR code use. For example, featuring QR codes in places where there is no signal, like the subway, or using them on billboards – ever try to scan a QR code at 65mph? In seeing some of these foibles, its no wonder people are skeptical. A recent study by Comscore found that only 6.2 percent of mobile phone owners have ever scanned a QR code leading some trade publications to declare QR codes a waste.

While the critics make valid points, we see this not as a failure of the QR code, but of marketers themselves. A QR code is a transmittal device, no more or less special than a phone number or a website URL. Simply having one of these devices does not make for an effective campaign, it’s the experience a consumer has once they activate that device that counts. For example, if you’re running a campaign that features a phone number, you want to make sure the person who answers the phone accurately represents the brand. The same is true for QR codes. Marketers need to have a campaign strategy that encompasses the end-to-end experience that includes the media, the QR code and the destination.

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