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Mid-Year Outlook for AEC Firms Not Good PDF Print E-mail
Written by Paul Nutcher   
Tuesday, 19 October 2010 00:35

There could be some growth in construction of schools, healthcare facilities, and airports as well as other transportation infrastructure projects, but the remaining sectors of the AEC industry will be flat, according to the 2010 Mid-Year Outlook Update for AEC Firms, published by ZweigWhite.

The end of stimulus funds and first-time home buyers incentives will leave most of the construction industry without much potential for growth. The areas of architecture, interior design and landscape architecture could be hardest hit, the report said.


TAGS: green marketing, market research, advertising, branding, public relations, marketing consultants

Cash for Caulkers Could Help Building Industry PDF Print E-mail
Written by Paul Nutcher   
Friday, 15 October 2010 13:00

In a jobless economic recovery surely a measure known as the "Cash for Caulkers" bill would provide jobs for the building industry and help those currently underemployed or out of work. The unemployment rate in the construction industry is about triple the current overall unemployment rate.

The legislation needs Senate approval but little has happened to The Home Star Act of 2010 since May, when the House passed the measure.

Home Star would create jobs in the building industry and renewable energy sector "by providing short-term incentives for energy efficient improvements in residential buildings," according to the Home Star Coalition (, a coalition of business owners that pushed for the bill.

"Among the provisions of the legislation is the creation of a $6 billion rebate program to encourage inmmediate investment in energy efficient appliances, building mechanical systems and insulation, and whole home energy effiiency retrofits," the coalition reported. Manufacturers of energy conserving products would also benefit from the program as would consultants, contractors and building scientists.

To keep up on the status or the legislation or show your support, here is a great site to visit: There needs to be more support from those who will benefit from the a better economy as the trend leading up to the mid-term elections is to distrust government incentives. I'm not sure why people think this way when you look at the incredible amount of federal money that pours into the corporations selling us fossil fuels. Where is the "free market" in that?

When the car manufacturing industry was about to go bust, there was the Cash for Clunkers measure that in combination with the government bailouts of the car makers does seem to have helped the car industry and leveled off job losses within that sector. The first-time home buyers incentives, which have now expired, did boost home sales for a while. Still, both did not do what a Home Star bill can do and that's leave the country's housing stock (more than 100 million households) more efficient. Many of the new cars bought were not exactly fuel savers and nor were most of the homes sold to first time homeowners.

The Home Star legislation would not only save money for homeowners, it would help the environment through a reduction of energy generated from fossil fuels and create jobs for Americans.

The initiative is apart from the energy tax credit of up to $1500 that was part of the stimulus act in 2009. That credit for energy effiency upgrades expires Dec. 31.

Supporters estimate that 3 million households would make use of the new program, saving $9.2 billionin energy costs over a 10-year period, according to a USA Today report in May. They said it would create 168,000 jobs, mainly for the construction industry.

Critics of the bill, said the government cannot administer the rebate program fairly and a $4.7 billion weatherization program within the economic stimulus act was slow to provide grants to states, the USA Today report stated.

Under Home Star, home owners would save money to create more efficient households from an environmental and economic standpoint. Homeowners (or consumers) would save on monthly energy bills from now until their energy efficient product wear out.

The rebates or discounts would be provided to homeowners at the time of sale. The retailer or contractor then would submit documentation to a processing office, which would verify the informationa nd foread the requiest to the Energy Department for payment.

To me, this seems like a win-win for the economy. So what is the Senate waiting for. Oh yeah, mid-term election fever and partisan politics.

I'd be interested in your responses to the above, send me an e-mail anytime at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or go to Green Apple's contact us page ( and send us a reply. We will use some constructive feedback in the blog.


Tags: Home Star, Cash for Caulkers, Energy Retrofits, Energy Efficiency, Construction Jobs, Building Industry, Building Product Marketing


FTC to Crackdown on Greenwashing PDF Print E-mail
Written by Paul Nutcher   
Thursday, 14 October 2010 14:41

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is aiming to regulate companies' greenwashing practices, such as labeling and advertising products, through newly-revised Green Guides.

The revised Green Guides are meant to "caution marketers not to make blanket, general claims that a product is ‘environmentally-friendly' or ‘eco-friendly'" and "caution marketers not to use unqualified certifications or seals of approval," the FTC said in an Oct. 6 press release.

General environmental claims are difficult, if not impossible to prove, according to the summary of the new Green Guides.

The summary of the FTC's Green Guides proposal lists definitions of heavily-used terms such as recyclable, degradable, compostable, ozone-friendly and non-toxic, as well as definitions of carbon offsets, and certifications and seals of approval as terms that are advised against.

Advertisers could be fined by the FTC if they make unsubstantiated green claims. Greenwashing is considered to be a major problem in marketing and advertising throughout the world.

Greenwashing is used in advertisements and on product labels to make a product or service seem environmentally-friendly when the product actually is not. Fake third-party labels are often used to make a product appear official.

The FTC has the regulatory power to fine companies for violating the Green Guides, but they do not necessarily have enough people to regulate all of the companies and advertisers that practice greenwashing.

The FTC is seeking public comments on the proposed changes until Dec. 10.


greenwashing, green products, green marketing, green advertising, sustainability consulting, LEED, USGBC, NAHB, CHPS

Technorati Claim token PDF Print E-mail
Written by Paul Nutcher   
Wednesday, 13 October 2010 13:15

Here is my technorati claim token.


Now hopefully I technorati will enable searches for Green Apple Group Blog.



Australia To Implement Energy Efficiency Disclosures PDF Print E-mail
Written by Paul Nutcher   
Wednesday, 13 October 2010 11:23

Australia will start requiring landlords to disclose energy efficiency ratings for their office buildings when leasing or selling starting on Nov. 1.

The new rules will work this way: building owners will require an energy rating from the National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) when leasing or selling. The NABERS rating measures energy performance on a scale of 1 to 5 stars with the median market performance currently at 2.5 stars.

The building sector accounts for 19 percent of total energy consumption in Australia and is responsible for 23 percent of green house emissions.

This change could effect foreign investors and REITS. Dexus Group (DXS.AX) has launched a programme to undertake a $40 million worth of capital work to upgrade average portfolio NABERS energy rating from 3.3 stars to 4.5 stars by 2012.

GPT's (GPT.AX) portfolio rating of NABERS Energy is 3.7 and it has committed to lift the rating to 4.5 in 2011, while other major offices REITs have similar targets.

A U.S. study showed buildings with a green rating commanded rental rates that were approximately 3 percent higher per square foot than otherwise identical buildings. A-grade and B-grade office buildings should generally be able to achieve a NABERS Energy rating of 3.5 to 4 stars by fine-tuning existing plant and systems but it could become costly if they aim for higher ratings.

The government data shows the cost of upgrade from 2 to 3 NABERS star ratings could range from A$35-A$61 per square metre.

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