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Exterior Energy Efficient Products

We asked builders and renovators how important energy efficiency is to their clients - the people who buy the final product. Consumers buying new homes or doing major renovations
are offered many new products and they have various reasons for making this big purchase, so how important is energy conservation to them?

Overall, the response was that it's very important (40 per cent) or important (39 per cent). Twenty per cent said it's somewhat important and only one per cent said it's of little importance to their clients. More builders than renovators said it is very important. Those in Quebec gave it the highest importance, followed by Ontario and British Columbia, while those from Alberta gave it the lowest importance and 37 per cent felt it was only somewhat important. Similarly, 22 per cent of B.C. respondents felt that energy conservation is only somewhat important.
The main consumer demands for increased energy efficiency are window and door upgrades followed by insulation upgrades. In renovation, those products are closely followed by lighting upgrades and kitchen and bath items for energy efficiency.

Selling energy efficient homes
Forty per cent of builders and 42 per cent of contractors said it's easier to sell energy efficient homes, while eight per cent of builders and 13 per cent of renovators said that such homes are harder to sell. About half the responses indicated it makes no difference in selling homes. Ontario and Quebec respondents saw more advantages in selling energy efficient products. Seventy-one per cent in Alberta and 61 per cent in B.C. said it makes no difference.
Another benefit of a comprehensive energy efficiency effort is the ability to downsize the heating system, and 44 per cent of builders and 53 per cent of contractors said they did just that. Again, the highest response came from Quebec (82 per cent), followed by B.C. (57 per cent) and Ontario (45 per cent).

The bottom line
Only 33 per cent of builders and 43 per cent of renovators said energy efficiency increases their profits. Fifty per cent in Quebec, 43 per cent in B.C. and 34 per cent in Ontario said it increases profits. Of those saying that they can increase profits, the increases where significant. Overall, 68 per cent increased profits by 10 per cent, 24 per cent by 10 to 25 per cent, and 8 per cent by as much as 25 to 50 per cent. It is clear that those making the effort to promote energy efficiency are rewarded. Hopefully more will follow them.

Useful information
When it comes to energy efficiency, the overall response was that manufacturers' literature (52 per cent), trade magazines (47 per cent) and industry associations (37 per cent) are the best sources of useful information. This was also the order for builders responding, but renovators and contractors ranked them as follow: trade magazines (49 per cent), manufacturers (47 per cent) and, perhaps surprisingly, government information (40 per cent).

In Quebec, government information and trade magazines were chosen by 73 per cent of respondents, followed by the Internet at 64 per cent. The Internet was also a strong source of information for B.C. respondents (30 per cent), but stronger in Alberta, where it was listed as the first source for information at 58 per cent.





On February 15, we conducted a readers' survey by e-mail. As of March 3, we received response from 174 readers. Please note that this survey, by nature, reaches the more "sophisticated" in the industry and lacks input from the very small operators.
For the survey analysis, we used 100 replies; 53 from builders as one group, and 24 renovators and 23 contractors as another group.
Response by province was as follows: BC - 23%, Alberta - 19%, Saskatchewan - 1%, Manitoba - 3%, Ontario - 38%, Quebec - 11%, NS - 3%, PEI - 1%, NF - 1%.
Of the builders responding, 35% have been in business for over 20 years and 57% from six to 20 years. Among renovators/contractors, 53% have been in business for over 20 years and 43% for six to 20 years.
We offered respondents a free listing on the Home BUILDER Web site (www.homebuildercanada.com) and a chance to win one of six Stanley Tools FatMax Xtreme Fubar Functional Utility Bars.

Source:Home Builder Magazine Readers' Survey, March 2007

Home Builder Magazine will continue to conduct timely surveys about issues of concern. If you'd like to participate, please register (click here) to be counted and to let us know what you think.

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