Getting your Green Credentials
By Tanja Kern 5/9/2009
Interview with Steve Shinn, GCP, owner of Homework Remodels
Today’s homeowners want remodels
that improve their quality of life and are eco-conscious. Figuring
out what constitutes a green remodel can be confusing, and that’s
why so many homeowners rely on contractors to help them navigate
the choices. Remodelers who incorporate green building practices
into their business have great potential to educate their clients
and do something good for the Earth. Going green can also help set
your business apart from the competition.
To be a green remodeler, contractors should make energy efficiency
a top priority, salvage and reuse building materials whenever possible,
specify eco-friendly materials, use low VOC and formaldehyde-free
building components, and plan for water conservation. Becoming an
expert in sustainable building takes years, and savvy remodelers
know that promoting their expertise is a great way to find new clients.
Incorporating these building methods into your company’s mission
statement, Web site, promotional materials and project estimates
will help to get the word out about your company’s eco focus.
Obtaining “green” credentials is another smart way to
demonstrate your knowledge in environmentally friendly products
and building practices. The National Association of the Remodeling
Industry offers a Green Certified Professional (GCP) designation
to help recognize remodelers who apply green or sustainable practices
to their business.
Laurie Cisowski, project operations manager for Earth Bound Homes
[www.myearthboundhome.com] in Santa Clara, Calif., says getting
certified was an obvious choice for her business. All of Earth Bound’s
projects are designed around increased energy efficiency and the
use recycled, renewable and durable building materials. “In
this day and age, with green taking off, there are a lot of people
out there green washing,” she says. “Our clients come
to us because or our knowledge, and our credentials add to our company’s
Steve Shinn, owner of the design-build firm Homework Remodels [www.homeworkremodels.com]
in Phoenix, Ariz., became the first remodeler in Phoenix to obtain
green certification. Shinn works on historic homes, mid-century
modern homes, and older homes of all ages said he saw the certification
as a way to promote himself as a specialized professional to potential
clients. “The people who own these homes care about details
and about doing the right thing for the environment,” he says.
While some homeowners view sustainability as using a certain type
of recycled countertop or flooring, Shinn teaches his clients to
take a whole-house approach: “I pride myself on working with
the homeowners during the design phase to get the most bang for
their buck. Every remodel has hundreds of choices, and I walk them
through them. It’s not an all or nothing thing.”
Josh Bogle, CRA, GCP, owner of Green Remodeling [www.greenrem.com]
in Boise, Idaho, helped pilot the Green Certified Professional course
for NARI. His work to bring "green" into the construction
industry comes from a commitment to living simply, eating locally,
and transforming the nation’s existing housing infrastructure
to serve the needs of the future. “Our goal is to show customers
how to make their home as durable, energy-efficient and healthy
as possible,” Bogle says.
In between large remodeling projects, Bogle does readings on the
energy efficiency of his customers’ homes. Bogle also will
take the client’s energy bills for the year, insert the figures
into a spreadsheet and compare them to other homes in the area.
“This is a great way to help people figure out what their
path toward net zero or close to zero should be,” he adds.
remodeling article and numerous others can be viewed at www.greenremodeling.org/consumer/articles.aspx
Remodeling is just one of the remodeling specialties we offer to
our clients in Phoenix and the surrounding citys of Scottsdale,
Tempe, Chandler, Gilbert, Glendale and Mesa.