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The Rashkin Plan for Higher Profits with High-Performance Housing

Sam Rashkin tells us why high performance builders do better than the rest of us

Posted on Nov 8 2016 by Fernando Pages Ruiz

Sam Rashkin is a man with a mission: a mission no less ambitious than to change the way American homebuilders conceive, construct, and promote their products.

As the father of the Energy StarLabeling system sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy for labeling the most energy-efficient products on the market; applies to a wide range of products, from computers and office equipment to refrigerators and air conditioners. Certified Homes Program, and now as chief architect of the building technologies office at the U.S. Department of Energy, his day-job description involves promoting super-energy-efficient construction. As a designer with businessman’s heart, he prefers to call it high performance construction.

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Image Credits:

  1. Image #1: U.S. Department of Energy
  2. Image #2: New Town Builders

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Bottom Lines Reaches the Summit

An account of the 2015 BuildingEnergy Bottom Lines Summit by one of its founders

Posted on Nov 26 2015 by john abrams

NESEA’s first BuildingEnergy Bottom Lines Business Summit is over. It will not be the last.

On a beautiful fall day in November, more than 110 members of the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA) gathered at Smith College to celebrate two years of BuildingEnergy Bottom Lines, to hone business skills, and to consider the future of this exciting endeavor.

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Image Credits:

  1. Photo: NESEA

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How I Moved From Residential Construction into the Commercial Market

A builder describes the new skills he had to learn to make a successful transition into a more complex environment

Posted on Oct 5 2015 by Michael Bruss

I started my foray into the construction business in the early 1980s. After a stint as a sculptor’s apprentice and assistant, I opted for what I hoped would be a more stable life for my young family.

I had been raised in construction. My father, grandfather, and uncles were all in construction. I picked up a hammer at an early age and was, with my father’s patience and guiding hand, fairly skilled in carpentry by the end of my high school years.

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Smart Scheduling Helps Projects to Finish on Time

Whether you’re a pro or a homeowner contracting your own project, meticulous planning will help you to stay on time and on budget

Posted on May 19 2015 by Michael Patterson

It’s been said that stereotypes are stereotypes because they contain a grain of truth. While “two weeks” may be funny, it hits close enough to home that whatever smile we contractors may have is a bit pinched, and whatever smiles our clients may have are knowing ones. I’m all for smiles, but I’d rather they be the satisfied grins of contractors and homeowners whose jobs went according to plan. Scheduling a project well ensures that satisfied grins are the rule.

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Image Credits:

  1. ZEPHYR/Photodisc/Getty Images

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Steve Mouzon on the New Business of Business

If you are willing to be patient, giving things away can often help your bottom line

Posted on May 5 2015 by Fernando Pages Ruiz

The green-building movement proved resilient during the Great Recession and beyond. While conventional builders went bankrupt, many green builders thrived. This trend continues, so when I heard that green-building guru Steve Mouzon, author of The Original Green, was holding a seminar on new approaches to building up green business, I wanted to know more.

I spoke with Steve while he was on the road in Birmingham, Alabama, and I asked him, "What's different about the new green business plan from the traditional builder's approach?"

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How an Efficiency Program Killed My Business

Utility-sponsored rebate programs encourage small jobs — and contractors are discovering that it’s hard to build a successful business on small jobs

Posted on Sep 25 2014 by Nate Adams

Note to Homeowners: This article is primarily aimed at the Home Performance industry. I strive for radical transparency, so I put this in the public sphere for you to read as well.

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Image Credits:

  1. Nate Adams

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Disaster Responses

Lessons about customer service from an unexpected place

Posted on Mar 25 2014 by Paul Eldrenkamp

In this blog I will periodically discuss particular numbers and other metrics that I think can be of value in helping you run your business.

In this installment, I discuss the concept of “triage,” which ultimately derives from the Latin word for “three.” Literally and historically, “triage” refers to a simple way of allocating emergency medical care among a group of injured people who outnumber available medical resources.

In its original form — dating from the Napoleonic Wars — these were the three categories to consider when doing triage:

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Image Credits:

  1. Paul Eldrenkamp

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Strength in Numbers

Keeping score can help you make your business profitable, design more energy-efficient homes, and better understand home performance

Posted on Mar 3 2014 by Paul Eldrenkamp

I’ve had three extended learning experiences in my career that have taught me the power of numbers. Thanks to my friends John Abrams of South Mountain Company and Jamie Wolf of Wolfworks, along with key support from the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association and the Yestermorrow Design Build School, I’m about to embark on a fourth such experience — one which promises to be the most exciting and powerful of all.

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Image Credits:

  1. BuildingEnergy Bottom Lines

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Green Building is a Growing Business

A study by McGraw Hill Construction finds that more builders expect green construction practices to be an important part of their business mix

Posted on Feb 13 2014 by Scott Gibson

A new study from McGraw Hill Construction suggests a number of reasons why builders should get up to speed on green building.

First, the green building market is growing. According to a summary of the report, the green share of the single-family residential market has grown from 2% in 2005 to 23% in 2013 and should reach between 26% and 33% of the market by 2016. That would be worth as much as $105 billion.

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Image Credits:

  1. National Renewable Energy Laboratory

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Architect Turned Master Marketer Writes a Book

Steve Mouzon explains how you can use new social media in your marketing strategy

Posted on Sep 30 2013 by Carl Seville

Architect, urbanist, and new media guru Steve Mouzon's latest book, New Media for Designers and Builders, is a how-to manual for business owners who want to use social media and other marketing methods to promote themselves for fun and profit. It is truly a 21st-century book, since it is available in PDF and iPad formats, and since much of the content is published on separate websites accessed through embedded links.

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Image Credits:

  1. Steve Mouzon

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