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To listen to Mark Lee talk about houses is to learn that our homes are trying to communicate with us. Mark is the founder of Better World Builders, a home performance company based in Kalamazoo, Michigan. “We have this belief. People develop a relationship with the things they love,” Mark said. “A house is one of those things that most homeowners love and appreciate for what it is! But sometimes a house doesn’t love its homeowner back in the same way.”

Better World Builders specializes in green home stewardship and energy sustainability. “By solving some of the things that relate to energy waste in the house, we are usually able to figure out the best way to improve indoor air quality, improve the way the house performs overall, the durability of the house, as well as the comfort,” Mark said.

The company is also one of the first contractors in the area to join the Pearl Contractor Network. “Joining the Pearl Network was a perfect fit because it was something that finally recognized the significant work of making houses perform while quantifying it in a very standard fashion across the board,” Mark said.

Since joining the network, Mark has leveraged Pearl to improve his close rate and help differentiate the company.

“We emphasize that Pearl is a third-party verifier that is taking investment-grade data and putting it into a format that helps our homeowners recapture the value that they’re adding to their house when they’re making it more comfortable and energy efficient,” Mark said. “A lot of customers really do appreciate that.”

One customer, for example, was planning to downsize and move out of her house. She wanted additional information on work that Better World Builders had completed in 2017 to remove old insulation, seal the attic floor, and re-insulate it; improvements that cured the ice dam issues she had experienced before.

“I told her about Pearl and she got so excited, she said I can use this when I’m listing the house. This was a customer that knows how she’s going to use her Pearl Certification right out of the gate.”

“With Pearl Certification, this homeowner knows she can sell her home with confidence,” said Mark.

Another customer resides in one of the oldest houses in the area, built in 1837. The homeowner had completed previous measures to improve the home’s comfort, but all improvements had failed to make a difference. Better World Builders did a complete retrofit in 2018 which resulted in a healthier, cozier, and more efficient home.

“They were considering moving but decided to work with us to make this happen. It was a significant investment but knowing that their mid-19th century home would be certified with Pearl gave them the confidence to move forward on this larger project,” Mark said.

It also helped change the way the family felt about their home. “We were able to go in and understand what’s going on with that house and then change the conversation that the homeowners have with their home,” Mark said. “By changing that conversation, they are now feeling a lot more love for their old house.”

“Better World Builders is really proud of the fact that we were able to deliver that kind of high-level work and that we were able to back it up with Pearl’s third party certification so that when the homeowner does sell the house, they have all of this great documentation outlining their project and the home’s energy efficient features,” Mark said.

Driving though the area, Mark says he feels a sense of pride when he sees the homes he’s helped to make safer, more efficient, and more comfortable.

“We have this hope here in Kalamazoo to put us on the map for being the most sustainable city in the state of Michigan. Pearl’s certification process will do nothing but help to achieve that goal.”

Mark Lee

Founder, Better World Builders


Pearl Certification is transforming the housing market. We’re making a visible difference nationwide for homeowners and the businesses that serve them.