Boston's Fenway Park has the Green Monster. Jack Mackin aims to be as prominent in the Hub's green construction. Mackin, who spent seven years trading derivatives before rejoining his family's lumberyard, led the way in January 2006 to Sterritt becoming what it claims is New England's first yard with chain of custody certification for handling Forest Stewardship Council?branded products. Here's how Sterritt is carving out a niche in this hypercompetitive market:
Building on an Existing Base. Even from the day I got back here in 2001, you'd have people from Cambridge asking, "Where did this mahogany lumber come from?" The first two years [after we began stocking FSC wood], everybody thought I was crazy. "The material is just sitting there," they'd say. But business has been picking up. It's still a niche business, but it's there.
Who Asks for Green. Remodelers are perhaps 5%. The other 95% is driven by homeowners. A builder is not going to pay 25 cents more for a 2x4 unless his customer demands it.
The Process. We get builders calling for help. I ask if they're going to go for LEED [certification]. I then ask for a meeting with the builder, architect, and owner and explain things all at once. I bring up issues and get decisions. For instance, whether to buy recycled drywall from Pennsylvania or regular drywall available from three miles away. To really build a green product, you have to get everyone involved in the project at the same time.
A Green Sprout. One-third of our green business is in redistributing lumber to about half a dozen other lumberyards. We have $1 million worth of certified wood on the ground in our distribution center. If you need 500 sheets of fire-treated FSC lumber, we can handle it.