Green Caution Flag

December 11, 2008 at 10:43 am

Season’s greetings to all,

It’s time to reflect on the industry as we find ways to combat the decline of the economy. The green industry has taken center stage and has also become a profitable market for most. Looking back at 2008, personally I have seen more backyard manufacturing of products being labeled green, new DBA’s sprouting green buds of lackluster products, performance  and knowledge, making waves in the industry and establishing flags of caution for the experienced and legitimate green business and products.

My point is a word of caution to consumers and designers. It used to be when there were layoffs and an adjustment in the economy, a new lawn cutting or landscaping business would show up, and everyone was a landscaper. These same small landscape companies did not have the experience and overhead  that resulted in low ball bids making the Lawn & Garden  industry a tough place to make a living  –  I know, I did it for 23 years.    The good thing is these start-ups are not around long.

Today it’s not the person with a new truck  or trailer and a lawn mower; it’s a new “Green Business, Green Business Consultant or a green product”. It’s understandable that we all want to make a living and at this point retain our existing lifestyles or in some cases simply survive. Anyone with a lump of cash or a credit line can manufacture anything. Things to consider when hiring a consultant or thinking about using a new green product:

1. Ask for credentials, experience and portfolio;

2. Request references;

3. Ask to talk to other employees, they can be brutally honest;

4. Request research and long term data;

5. Look for public media, not just press releases;

In our business we have seen consultants and designers that simply do not have practical experience. As forward thinking and positive our industry (green roofs and green walls) is, do your homework when a green project is in your reach. Just because they attended Green Roofs 101, it doesn’t make them a green roof consultant or installer.

 George Irwin