Green Canopy Homes is a Seattle and Portland,Oregon-based homebuilder that is attaining its mission.
“So often, there’s this lack of sophistication about process,” Fairchild continues. “That’s where we shine as an organization. Whether it’s a remodel or a new construction, we don’t start the project until we have a full construction package that has every detail — design details, not just permits and plans — all specifications and scopes, down to hardware screws. Most importantly, we have every contract signed, before we even break ground. Once we do break ground, every one of our trades goes through a very rigorous quality control checklist.”
And neighbors get a say in the end results. Before Green Canopy starts a design on any project or lot, the company hosts a community meeting.
“We are a mission-driven organization,” Fairchild says. “You cannot inspire people if you are not talking to them.
“If you are building with blinders on, you’re just not in a position to inspire your neighborhoods to do much of anything except to get angry with you and call the department of planning and development,” Fairchild adds.
The Right Meetings
Green Canopy uses the meetings to educate about housing styles over the last 100 years in the region — starting with Native American longhouses through war boxes, through mid-century moderns, craftsmans, Victorians, Tudors — but also to show that diversity is healthy.
Neighbors then receive a design survey, which covers different massing styles, roof styles and other elements, and the results shape the design. Those nearby property owners also receive a copy of results.
“What we’ve found is it highlights their differences in a really positive manner that allows us to take this information, it influences our design and we get community buy-in from day one,” Fairchild says.
The Right Pace
As the project construction progresses, workers drape a banner across the front of the home that asks people to go online and vote for color, Green Canopy’s Community Color Program.
A Green Genius Program targets real estate agents, which includes education for agents as well as an awards program to recognize their efforts.
“As we’re educating hundreds of real estate agents, we really have shifted this local market toward greater awareness of the benefits of resource efficiency and certified green product at the time homes are bought and sold,” he says.
By organizing sponsored “Empower Happy Hours,” Green Canopy brings area leaders and nonprofits together to discuss social and environmental issues.
“It’s another great opportunity to use our brand to help accomplish our mission and educate the channel at the same time,” Fairchild says.
The Right Foundation
With its success in new homes and renovations, Green Canopy opened a custom home division about a year ago.
Aside from offering some diversification, custom homes allow Green Canopy to take its product, brand and mission further, Fairchild adds. In Year One, the company’s new division generated $1.4 million in revenues.
“We have showrooms throughout the city,” Fairchild says. “Our brand is everywhere. It’s what happens when you educate lots of real estate agents, who make a living by talking.
“What we’re doing, through educating the channels, has dual purposes,” Fairchild says. “We wanted to inspire that channel to consider the benefits of resource efficiency. What we found is they tell everybody about our brand, and we are the best-known homebuilder in town.”
While other builders work to brand a product, a home or a particular development, Green Canopy has branded the company overall. The company’s tree silhouette logo is applied to a house, where the street number goes, only when a home meets Green Canopy standards, established through their brand pillars: value, innovation, beauty and efficiency.
“We take a very disciplined approach to delivering on the brand promise inherent within VIBE (value, innovation, beauty and efficiency),” Fairchild says. “Each pillar is manifested in our home through its associated ‘Root.’”
The Right Values
The roots correspond with each pillar, so value is manifested through a Green Canopy Warranty, innovation is proven through a Green Canopy Energy Performance Guaranty, beauty is built on Green Canopy design specifications and efficiency is promised with a Green Canopy Efficiency Seal.
But it’s the mission that the brand represents that counts, Fairchild adds.
“We look for the intersection of mission and market,” Fairchild says. “That’s where you apply pressure. Educating the channel partners is one obvious place of doing that.
“Putting signs on the house is another obvious place of doing that,” Fairchild adds. “There are a lot of things that we do that make sense through the lens of our mission as well as sense through the lens of good business.”