Posts Tagged ‘building’

By IMRE Research

Following several months of a roller coaster ride, consumer confidence rose again in May. The Consumer Confidence Index jumped more than 7 points to hit a five-year high of 76.2. As Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board, noted, “Back-to-back monthly gains suggest that consumer confidence is on the mend,” following the impact of several policies that had left consumers feeling uneasy about the economy. The latest index showed consumers were positive about job prospects and the short-term outlook for the economy. Business conditions were expected to improve in the coming months by 19.2 percent of consumers, up two percent from the prior month. Those indicating they felt jobs are “plentiful” increased by more than one percent to 10.8 percent.

By IMRE Research

The U.S. economy continued to move in a positive direction again this month, with several key indicators posting gains. The greatest excitement was seen with the announcement that April’s unemployment rate dropped slightly to 7.5 percent with the addition of 165,000 jobs. Professional and business services, food services, retail and healthcare all saw positive gains for the month, while hiring in the construction industry held steady. Additionally, employment numbers for both February and March were upwardly revised by a combined total of 114,000 jobs above the initial estimates. Even more telling that the economy is continuing to rebound is the fact that the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment fell to its lowest level in five years. A total of 323,000 people filed first-time unemployment claims during the first week of May, down significantly from a March 2009 high of 670,000 claims.

Green & Trendy

By Green Experts Team

GreenBuilding e1359658889821 Green & TrendyEarlier this month, Jerry Yudelson, leading green building and sustainability consultant released his annual list of “Top 10 Megatrends” for the green building industry. Based on these trends, it appears green building will continue its rapid expansion in 2013, despite continuing economic challenges.

So what does this mean for brands? IMRE’s Sustainability experts weigh in on top three things brands should be aware of in 2013.

By Building Experts Team
ProductsImage e1354739752193 Decipher Your Customers’ Decisions

Photo courtesy of

You’ve thoroughly researched your target audiences before marketing to them. We’re sure you know them as well as your family (if not better). We recognize how important it is to educate your audience about your specific industry so they can understand the key benefits of your products. But what we don’t always think about is what the most significant factors are in each audience’s consideration set.

The BuildIQ team recently learned some interesting insight into what a few key audiences are looking for when selecting products for their next project. Take a look and let us know what you think.

By Building Experts Team

Similar to people, buildings need to undergo annual check-ups, eat healthy and keep up with personal hygiene. According to Dave Bartlett, VP of Industry Solutions at IBM, the upkeep of buildings isn’t different from that of people at all. Bartlett is leading the charge on this theory he calls ‘the physiology of buildings’ where he treats each building like a living organism.

It’s no secret the demand for commercial building retrofits and renovations is growing. In fact, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced in December 2011 that LEED-certified existing buildings were outpacing LEED-certified new construction by 15 million square feet. For a variety of reasons, including lower energy costs for the building owner or a lower impact on the environment, upgrading an existing building to make it more green and sustainable is a trend that’s here to stay.

Empire State Building Extreme Makeover: Building Edition

Image sourced from

One of the most notable buildings undergoing a green “makeover” is the Empire State Building. The refurbished building earned LEED-Gold certification in 2011 and will cut energy consumption by more than 38 percent. Though costly ($550 million total and $13 million for the energy-specific measures), its benefits are surely worth it. The upgrades are expected to reduce energy by more than $4.4 million annually and will provide payback in a little more than three years.

There are more than 60 billion square feet of existing commercial buildings in the U.S., and in New York alone, they account for 80 percent of the city’s carbon dioxide emissions. Creating new energy efficient buildings is a great practice and a trend that needs to continue.

The government, building owners and occupants are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of energy-saving upgrades. While new construction has been slightly unstable and flat over the past few years, green retrofits and renovations is a popular, moneymaking alternative, not to mention the abundance of jobs it creates.

Hopefully with such a high-profile building like the Empire State Building getting an extreme, green makeover and reaping the rewards, others will follow suit. The immediate advantages of less operation, maintenance and energy costs should draw others to treat older buildings to the upgrades they need.

Do you work in a green building? Do you think the benefits outweigh the costs of retrofits?

Hispanic Job Growth On the Rise

By Building Experts Team

Although the U.S. labor market was hard hit during the recession there have been slow and steady gains in job growth. Most recently the Pew Hispanic Center released a study, focusing on growth rates in the job market as it relates to Hispanics. According to the research, Hispanics are experiencing faster growth rates in the job market than any other group. Most of the job market growth is attributed to the increase in population.

Blog Post Photo Hispanic Job Growth On the Rise

The leading source of jobs growth has been within the eating, drinking and lodging services sector, which saw an increase of 326,000 jobs from 2009 to 2011. However, as it relates to the building industry, Hispanics gained more than 100,000 jobs in construction. The role of Latinos in the building industry is significant and will continue to grow considering the current population growth within this demographic.

Even more significant to the job growth in construction is Hispanics’ potential economic force as it relates to the building industry. If job growth rates continue to trend upward and increasingly favor Hispanics, their purchasing power within the realm of the building industry will also trend up. This means that as Hispanics grow in the construction market specific retailers including Lowes and The Home Depot will see continued growth in Hispanic customers. Currently, both of these retailers already cater to the Hispanic demographic to some extent or another. For example, in-store signage in English and Spanish is available in addition to having bi-lingual employees also tends to be a norm. Nevertheless, the implications of Hispanics within the building industry will be far greater.

It is important to be clear that although Hispanics are seeing a significant growth in the job market this does not mean the jobs gap is completely closed. Nor does it mean that Hispanic population will saturate all jobs in the current market. The unemployment rate across the board is still high and it will take more job creation in order to alleviate the current market.

Are you taking advantage of this growth? What are you seeing in the marketplace?

Monthly Indicator Report

By Kelly Nowlan

We’d like to introduce our new Monthly Indicator Report. The Monthly Indicator Report covers the major developments in the economy that impact the industry and your business. Besides the numbers and trends, we also rely on your feedback to gauge the health of the industry. We encourage you to leave a comment with your insights and developments in your region of the country.

The past several months have seen both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq trading at higher levels, with the Dow recently breaking the 13,000 mark – a level not seen since May 2008. The improvements in the stock market are reflective of the uptick in consumer confidence, which has also posted gains in recent months. February was no different, with consumer confidence jumping more than nine points to 70.8. Despite increasing gasoline prices, consumers remain optimistic about job prospects, their overall financial situation and the nation’s current business environment.

Here are some highlights of key economic indicators:

  • The government upwardly revised GDP growth for the fourth quarter of 2011 to 3.0% from its initial estimate of 2.8%. The revised level is the highest level reported since the second quarter of 2010.

  • Although February saw the addition of 227,000 jobs, they were not quite enough to lower the unemployment rate, which held steady at 8.3%. This was the third consecutive month in which more than 200,000 jobs were added.

image001 Monthly Indicator Report Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

  • Construction employment changed little in February, though there was a loss of 14,000 jobs in the nonresidential specialty trade contracting segment.
  • The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports that existing home sales rose 4.3% in January marking gains in three of the past four months.
  • Although existing house prices fell 2% from a year ago to a national median price of $154,700, sales were up in all regions.
  • RealtyTrac reported that in January there was a 3% increase in foreclosures over the previous month. The recent deal reached between state and federal governments and the nation’s biggest mortgage lenders will accelerate financial institutions’ ability to catch up with foreclosure document backlogs, forcing a spike in foreclosure activity.
  • Housing starts also saw an increase, though modest, with January’s starts up 1.5% over the revised December levels to 699,000 annualized units. Gains in housing starts were led by multi-family starts, which rose 14% to 175,000, up from 153,000 annualized units in December.

With the fourth consecutive month of economic improvements, it is now clearer than before that the economy is in the early stages of a post-recession recovery. Should confidence and growth continue on this path, spending and investments are very likely to increase, thus creating a positive multiplier effect that will ripple throughout the economy. Ultimately this ripple effect will help to provide a much-needed boost to the home and building sector.

By Green Experts Team

Green jobs have been at the forefront of discussion throughout the recession as a source of hope, and with good reason. California-Based Next 10 released its “Many Shades of Green” report this week and found that the overall state economy lost 7% of its jobs in 2009 where as the green economy (clean and renewable energy, water and energy conservation, etc.) only lost 3%. Additionally, the green economy in California grew 53 % from 1995-2010, while jobs in the wider economy grew by 12 %. Based on these numbers, it makes sense why green jobs are attractive in the wake of a struggling job market. If you’re looking for a new career or an opportunity to grow your own, learning the ins and outs of the green job market just might pay off. And if you’re happy where you are – whether it be manufacturing, logistics, marketing or IT, expect the professionals filling these jobs to show up more and more often in the boardroom and out in the field.

Definition: Green Jobs | Sustainable Jobsprofessional home energy audit 300x193 What’s a “Green Job” Anyway?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, green jobs are either:

  • Jobs in businesses that produce goods or provide services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources.
  • Jobs in which workers’ duties involve making their establishment’s production processes more environmentally friendly or use fewer natural resources.

However, what we’re seeing happen more and more in the market, are traditional jobs, that once were not so green, now include “sustainability” somewhere in their job description – architects are now LEED AP accredited, Marketing Managers are now building sustainability platforms and Supply Chain Managers are now responsible for a circular supply chain as opposed to a linear one (hear the CEO of Waste Management speak on the subject) and, as TIME Magazine puts it, “your garbage man and bus driver” are helping push the green economy.

Median Salary:

According to Next 10, the median annual earnings of green occupations in California range from $27,000 – $200,000. That’s a wide range. But when compared to the average median salary for a 1-person family in the overall California economy, which amounted to $24,544 in 2011, green jobs beat the average by a long shot.

Sustainability Job Titles in the Home & Building Industries:

Sometimes it’s the pros you’d expect to be thinking about the environment, other times its people you’d never dream would have sustainability top of mind:

  • Chief Sustainability Officer
  • Chief Information Officer
  • Chief Financial Officer
  • Building/Property Owners & Managers
  • Marketing Manager
  • Supply Chain Manager
  • Logistics Manager
  • Energy Auditor

IMG 1270small 1024x682 What’s a “Green Job” Anyway?

Great Green Job Boards:

Whether you’re looking for a new career or want to figure out what your new colleague is working on, familiarizing yourself on some of the most common sustainability job descriptions is a good idea:

To find the best job board by industry, check out this round up by Green Gigs Blog.

Still Confused About How to Navigate These Greener Waters?

More and more universities are building sustainability-specific programs, from Masters in Innovation Management to Information Technology to Business Ethics, learning about the latest degrees that are shaping our workforce is a good place to start. More specifically, begin at the Aspen Institution’s Beyond Grey Pinstripes program and go from there.

By Building Experts Team

The beginning of a new year always brings thoughtful reflections on the year that has just passed. The building industry is no different, and our team of industry experts spent some of their time off around the holidays doing the very same thing. To find out what’s to come in 2012, they first had to review the most important news of 2011. Here are 5 articles that guided our thinking. It’s the great list of lists: The top 5 wrap-ups of 2011’s biggest stories.

  1. HousingZone’s top 11 stories for 2011 – HousingZone editors highlight the top housing news and trends for the year, breaking out their most popular stories based on web traffic.
  2. Curbed’s 10 weirdest, strangest houses on the market in 2011 – Curbed editor Rob Bear digs up the most eye-popping homes he saw on in the real estate listings last year. A great read for some inspiration… or maybe just fascination.
  3. BUILDER’s 10 most popular articles of 2011 – Clair Easley reveals the top 10 most popular articles from BuilderOnline’s Reader’s Choice Awards. No less than 6 of our votes made the list. Can you guess which ones?
  4. Top 10 Jetson Green Articles of 2011 – Jetson Green is always at the top of our RSS feed reader. This recap highlights the top 10 stories on sustainable building, eco-building and green technology based on retweets, Facebook shares and Google +1s.
  5.’s 10 biggest green building stories of 2011 – Paula Melton recaps a huge year for the green building industry with the top 10 most-read articles in Environmental Building News.

Help us add to our list. Post a link to a 2011 recap you read in the blogosphere over the last few weeks.

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