Building green finally profitable, Oregon builders say

A group of builders in Eugene, Ore., who consider themselves early pioneers of the green building movement say their businesses have finally turned profitable, even during the downturn. Interviewed for an article in the Oregon Register Guard, these contractors, designers and architects now find themselves in a multimillion-dollar niche market.

While not every firm is successful, a mixture of local government incentives and public awareness has made green building projects more popular.  RainbowValley Design and Construction, a 40-year-old firm, said it was once wary about marketing itself as green. But that stigma has turned into a calling card, and the company, which has offices in Portland and Eugene, has an established reputation for sustainable design and construction.

“People know that we do green building,” said company designer Alec Dakers. “Now we get a lot of people that walk in the door asking for specific products. We don’t really have to pitch it at all.”

Several of the construction firms interviewed said they’ve had to adapt to the slowdown by taking on more remodeling work instead of just new construction. And projects tend to be smaller. But the work keeps coming in the door, and revenues for green building far exceed what they did in previous years.

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