Blogs > Sara Gutterman > April 2012

Fun for your Homebuyer!

Green Builder Media had the honor of celebrating Earth Day this year at Epcot® in the Walt Disney World® Resort as we launched the VISION House® in INNOVENTIONS, a three-year green show home exhibit that educates consumers about sustainable living.

With this one exhibit, we had the challenge of reaching a broad spectrum of people—ranging from those who don’t have access to information about sustainable living to those who are quite savvy. Because of this, we had to create a robust experience, sprinkling the script with fundamental green concepts and backing them up with innovative products and intelligent systems like the Nexia whole home automation system, Boral smog eating tile roof, and Hanwha solar panels.

As crowds toured through the exhibit on Sunday, the influence of the VISION House in INNOVENTIONS was undeniable. A bastion of tranquility, the exhibit successfully marries sustainability with a sense of peace. I observed as guests visibly relaxed when they entered the home, opening their hearts and minds to the green living concepts presented to them. It was delightful and rewarding to see our hard work translate into such an impactful and immersive experience.

While the VISION House in INNOVENTIONS is inspirational and attainable, the consumer-focused online platform that we have created to accompany the onsite exhibit is aspirational and transformative.

On, you’ll find section of the website focused on adults, filled with practical, how-to information, including tips for greener living, green product information, blogs, and hands-on videos.

You’ll also encounter a kid’s portion of the site, which includes dynamic games and entertaining content. Don’t miss our cast of zany VISION Tales characters, including the Hugo, Nadine, Samantha, Roberto, and Anita Monteverde—the family that lives in the VISION House in Innoventions—as well as their friends and neighbors, all working together in their eccentric ways to reduce our collective footprint on our planet.

Additionally, we’ve included pages that help teachers understand how they can effectively relay the message of sustainable living to their students.

We encourage you to send your homebuyers to the fun, inspirational, and consumer-friendly website for information about how they can live more sustainably. Please keep in mind that is brand new and will evolve over the coming months, so please be sure to check back regularly for new episodes of VISION Tales and other innovative content!

A sincere thanks to our sponsors Trane, Schlage, Siemens, Boral, Hanwha Solar, Panasonic, Pella, Schott, National Fire Protection Association, Armstrong, and Kohler for helping to make the VISION House in INNOVENTIONS happen!

Stay tuned for the launch of our next exciting VISION House project in Los Angeles, a beautiful contemporary Californian home constructed by Structure Homes! Watch the evolution of our VISION House Series on Facebook at and Twitter (@GreenBuilderMag and @VISIONHouseGBM).

Have feedback about the VISION House in INNOVENTIONS or want to join us at the launch of the VISION House LA? Write to me at or follow me on Twitter @SaraGBM.

For more information about green building and sustainable living, visit, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter @greenbuildermag for regular updates and breaking news.

Posted: 4/26/2012 1:47:34 PM by Mary Kestner | with 0 comments

Magic Happens!

Earth Day is on Green Builder Media’s calendar in a big way this year. In collaboration with Walt Disney Imagineering and our generous sponsors, Green Builder Media is proud to announce the launch of our much-anticipated VISION House® in INNOVENTIONS exhibit at Epcot® in the Walt Disney World® Resort.

Through the VISION House in INNOVENTIONS, we will not only have the opportunity to educate millions of consumers about sustainable living, but we’ll be able to manifest our corporate mission to effect meaningful, positive change for a better world.

Opening on Earth Day (April 22), the VISION House® in INNOVENTIONS helps guests understand that sustainability is a mindset defined by personal lifestyle choices. By showcasing advanced green products and demonstrating a wide spectrum of cost-effective, sustainable options, the innovative exhibit provides homeowners with real solutions for contemporary green living.

The VISION House® in INNOVENTIONS exhibit will highlight the major themes of whole-home automation, energy generation and efficiency, water conservation, indoor environment quality, security, high-performance materials, durability, and fire protection.

As guests tour the home, they will encounter intelligent products and advanced technologies, such as:
• High efficiency heating and cooling systems and controls and innovative whole-home automation system and door hardware by Ingersoll Rand
• Electronic vehicle charging station by SIEMENS
• Chevy Volt electric vehicle by GM
• Photovoltaic solar panels from Hanwha Solar
• Durable and environmentally friendly exterior systems, including smog-eating tile roofs, cultured stone, bricks, permeable pavers, and trim by Boral
• Ventilation solutions by Panasonic
• Energy efficient windows and doors from Pella
• High performance glass products by Schott
• Fire sprinkler information from the National Fire Protection Association
• Sustainable hardwood flooring and cabinets from Armstrong World Industries
• Water-conserving fixtures, faucets, showerheads, and home standby generators by KOHLER
• ENERGY STAR certified home appliances by Bosch
• LED lighting solutions by SYLVANIA

If you’re planning to be in Orlando on Earth Day, we hope that you find your way to Epcot® to join us for our launch gala! We’d love to share the excitement with you.

If you can’t join the festivities in person, follow the day as it unfolds through our postings on Facebook and Twitter (@GreenBuilderMag and @VISIONHouseGBM).

Thanks for your continued support of Green Builder Media, which makes magic possible.

Interested in learning more about the VISION House in INNOVENTIONS? Write to me at or follow me on Twitter @SaraGBM.

For more information about green building and sustainable living, visit, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter @greenbuildermag for regular updates and breaking news.

Posted: 4/12/2012 2:08:21 PM by Mary Kestner | with 0 comments

The Performance Gap

Yesterday, I listened to an interesting discussion via webinar between Ron Jones, President of Green Builder Media, CR Herro, VP of Environmental Affairs at production builder Meritage Homes, and Chad Ray from small volume builder Olde Heritage Builders & Realty. The webinar, hosted on Green Builder Media’s Impact Series: Game Changers in Sustainability program, explored the urgent need for mass, exponential change in way that we build and value homes, as well as policy tools, such as the SAVE Act, that could lead to this change.

Although there have been extraordinary advancements in smart technologies, green products, and sophisticated building science techniques, the way that we construct homes hasn’t changed for decades. According to Herro, most of our existing housing stock uses twice as much energy and water than is necessary, resulting in $1.2 billion of annual waste that could otherwise be directed into job creation and bolstering the economy.

Herro and Ray both advocated that it’s the job of the builder and architect to work closely with the homeowner to bridge the current performance gap in homes by employing sound building science and specifying green products.

Ray stated that his biggest challenge isn’t convincing his clients that green homes are better homes. “When I relay to my customers that I can reduce their costs, lower their maintenance, extend the durability of their home, improve their indoor air quality, increase their home’s value, and have a lighter impact on the environment, they get it,” he says.

This aligns with the results from a recent Green Builder Media market study, in which 42% of building professionals reported that the biggest driver for the green building market is consumer demand (34% reported the biggest driver is advances in green technologies, and 31% named personal interest), and that clients have the most influence on selecting green products.

So, where does the gap between knowledge and performance reside? Herro and Ray both lamented that it’s the other service providers who have a major influence on homebuyers at the point of purchase (the ones that the homebuyers are actually paying to advise them)—namely the realtors, lenders, and appraisers—that are perpetuating the disconnect.

What’s the solution? Herro states that by implementing legislation like the SAVE Act that would modernize valuation, appraisal, and lending practices so that they accurately measure and reward energy efficiency, we could not only address today’s major performance problems, but we could also redirect the money wasted on underperforming homes to be spent on more sustainable innovation and we could save the average homeowner as much as $144,000 over the course of a 30-year mortgage.

Good business value. Good sense. Not much to lose here.

For more on this topic and Green Builder Media’s Impact Series webinar program, visit You can view this webinar and others in our archives at

How do you think we can bridge the gap between education and performance? Write to me at or follow me on Twitter @SaraGBM.

For more information about green building and sustainable living, visit, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter @greenbuildermag for regular updates and breaking news.

Posted: 4/5/2012 2:14:34 PM by Mary Kestner | with 0 comments

About Me


Sara is the Co-Founder and CEO of Green Builder Media.  An experienced entrepreneur, investor, and sustainability consultant, Sara specializes in developing companies that are simultaneously sustainable and profitable.  Sara is a former venture capitalist and has participated in a portion of the life cycle (from funding to exit) of over 20 companies.  Sara graduated Cum Laude from Dartmouth College and holds an MBA in entrepreneurship and finance from the University of Colorado.




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