I am just back from the North State Building Industry Association annual forecast at the downtown Hyatt in Sacramento. It was a fairly glum affair without a lot of news that could be called good. The consensus is for a lot more of what they're already dealing with, a prolonged slump that is making it hard to survive as family-owned and corporate businesses.
But there was another undertone about the industry getting religion about going green.
Jeff Mezger, CEO of Los Angeles-based giant, KB Home, told 250 people attending that he's gone public about the necessity of green building "after years of having my head in the sand."
"We're going to be a leading company focused on sustainabiilty," he said. Among other things, he noted a deal with Sherwin Williams paint manufacturer to use low volatile organic compound paint in all of KB's homes next year.
Tim Lewis, owner of Tim Lewis Communities of Roseville, said his eighth grade daughter was reading former vice president Al Gore's book about the environment and global warming - and he also read its first 100 pages. Lewis has made solar panels standard fare for many of his new homes.
Later, Folsom building industry consultant Greg Paquin confessed he, too, has come around after years being late to the party. He said he has been reading author Tom Friedman's book "Hot, Flat and Crowded."
"I believe in 10 years you won't be able to sell a home unless it's green," he said.
What You Should Know About Comments on Sacbee.com
Sacbee.com is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)
Here are some rules of the road:
Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "report abuse" button to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.
Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.
Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.
Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand. If you want to discuss an issue with a specific user, click on his profile name and send him a direct message.
Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.
Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.
Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.
Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.
You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "report abuse" button to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at email@example.com. Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.
If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them, but you may ask our staff to retract one of your comments by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Again, make sure you note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us your profile name.
On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from sacbee.com. While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on sacbee.com and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here.
We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.