Green to the Core
Excel Homes is green to the core, with a culture that embraces sustainability as a way of doing business—from the inside out. This has allowed the builder to successfully embed environmental preservation across the organization. Creating a unified sustainability approach within the organization allows Excel to keep sustainability at the forefront of their business practices and their building model.
Excel Homes is about building a better future and have become a leader in sustainable building for it. Building in popular communities across Calgary, as well as in Airdrie, Cochrane, and Okotoks, they’re a prominent Alberta builder.
The Beginning of Green
Wanting a solid base of knowledge to stem from, Excel Homes began their mission by sending key functional leaders to BUILT GREEN® training. It was soon apparent that the way they designed and built their homes needed to evolve: “It was a massive commitment, but we made the decision not to add inefficient homes to the market, and we were prepared to invest in making the necessary changes. Now we don’t even think about it—it’s become a part of what we do on a daily basis,” says Excel Homes’ President Lance Floer. Seven years later, Excel Homes has completed over 2,500 BUILT GREEN® certified homes.
“There was something about being greener that excited us,” says Marketing Manager, Mathilde Dujardin. Perhaps this excitement came from an introspective approach and recognition that they would be contributing to a better future environment for their children and their community; maybe it was because they realized their company had to adapt or be left behind. But wherever it came from, the excitement was warranted. Excel Homes had just joined a progressive—and necessary—movement utilizing technology to reduce human impact on the earth. With the demand for building escalating with a rapidly growing global population, for the responsible builder, building to a green standard is common sense and good business.
Excel Homes had another motivating factor in joining a green building program: quality assurance. “The other reason we chose to participate in the BUILT GREEN® program is because it’s very difficult to build a poor quality BUILT GREEN® home. It’s regulated and verified by an independent third-party for building envelope diagnostics. This was an attractive feature to us and many of the prospective customers we spoke to,” says Floer.
More than Building
The culture at Excel Homes is “live and breathe being green”. From composting coffee grounds to a full recycling system, the company is an environmental leader. They go further than building sustainably; they integrate green living into their work space.
Their latest project will be the installation of a green wall. Not only an attractive office feature, green walls are proven to enhance air quality; NASA research posits that plants are capable of removing toxic chemicals common to modern buildings, including VOCs, TCE, carbon monoxide, benzene, toluene, xylene, and formaldehyde.
Excel Homes is excited to bring a bit of nature to those in their work place. From their culture to their business practices to the build itself, the company has created an environment of green living at Excel Homes.
Excel Homes has noticed that although homebuyers are interested in Built Green, they often don’t understand the program’s scope of benefits. So within their marketing communication, the company focuses on that breakdown—feature by feature.
For their sales centre, Excel Homes created a display that gives consumers the rundown of BUILT GREEN® benefits within 30 seconds of viewing. It focuses on health, financial gain, time, and environmental benefits. Throughout their show homes they also include small signs highlighting the features and benefits of their BUILT GREEN® home. “We’ve noticed that once people realize they receive all these features for no added price, they’re really excited to have a cleaner, greener home,” says Dujardin. To further inform the public, the information from the display will soon be available in take-away materials and through their website.
In the last six months, Excel Homes has developed a blog series around their BUILT GREEN® homes, which focuses on the benefits highlighted in the display. They’ve also explained the technical terms attached to BUILT GREEN® communications (i.e.: “VOCs”). “This has received a lot of great feedback on our social media platforms. Our sales team also said it clarified the benefits in a way they could easily explain to customers,” comments Dujardin.
Excel Homes are not great builders because of the program they participate in—rather they are great builders because they see the necessity of green building programs, and they act on it. Though it’s just smart business to promote the worth of the program you participate in (which fosters consumer demand and education), Excel Homes quality residences comes from their dedication to building a better future.
Excel Homes are leaders in producing environmentally responsible, energy-efficient homes being the second largest registrant of BUILT GREEN® homes in Canada, and since 2007, all their homes are registered BUILT GREEN®.
Bits & pieces of green
- They don’t stop at the build: Excel Homes give their customers a gift basket of green cleaning products chosen specifically for them. Though a simple gesture, it’s an important reminder and thank you for choosing a greener home—homebuyers and the environment love it.
- Excel Homes incorporates sustainability into their business practices and office life, but they take their environmental responsibilities home as well: their leadership drive hybrid vehicles.
- Since 2010, partnering with Green Calgary, Excel Homes has been actively supporting many green initiatives affecting their community. In 2014, Excel Homes is the major sponsor of Calgary’s Earth Day celebration.
- Beyond their work as builders, Excel Homes is a leader in the community. Every year, they put on the event “Not Just a Walk in the Park”. The funds go to an outreach program, operated through Hospice Calgary, for children surviving parents with terminal illness. Everyone in the company goes out, bringing their children and the pledges they’d raised. In the first four years, Excel Homes have raised $100,000.