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How To Be The Green Home Builder Of Choice

Building a home in the 21st century demands more knowledge of building systems than ever before. The days of the contractor building a home with what he finds available in the local lumber stores is coming to an end. At least for the ones that survive the current technology revolution that is. As home owners become increasingly knowledgeable of indoor air quality and the dangers of volatile organic compounds (voc), new insulation systems, alternatives to the conventional HVAC systems, passive solar design, waste water recycling, water conservation and so on, the pressure to stay ahead of the average home buyer is to say the least challenging.

As a homebuilder in Eastern Washington I find building to a Green standard very challenging. Building Green involves a philosophy, a set of values. My values are challenged everywhere I go. I challenge anyone reading this to go to any building supply store and ask for a green window, paint, floor covering, etc. Pick a product and go ask for it. You will very likely find yourself having to define what you mean. Lets say you ask for a green window, you will be put on the spot to specify if you want an energy efficient window, a recycled content one, one that is made locally or one that does not emit VOC’s.

To be competitive in today’s market you cannot allow the quality or creativity of your projects to be limited to the knowledge of local building materials. Builders must be vigilant to find products that are healthier, more energy efficient and subscribe to the publics increasing knowledge of sustainability. I have always had an internal nagging to look beyond the surface of the acceptable norms. Maybe it was my first subscription of Fine Home Building and Journal of Light Construction that tweaked me. (I am especially fond of the sections in trade magazines that introduce new products). This nagging that I have had has been the edge that keeps me in touch with current products, techniques and my clients. One does not have to look very far to find new innovative products. As consumers become more comfortable using the Internet our ability as builders to stay in tune with consumer knowledge becomes more challenging.

If you want to be that builder chosen to be interviewed out of the building directory, then you had better know your stuff. Recently I participated in my home town Home and garden show and helped out at another show in a neighboring city. I was amazed at the quantities of people scouring the shows for new ideas for their homes. People are searching the home shows, the web, magazines, journals, blogs, etc., for the latest and greatest. It’s no longer good enough to be an honest, good managing, quality builder. You have got to be versed in a much broader field of knowledge. Health, energy efficiency and environmental are topics that are not going to disappear. Quite the contrary, they will be the new headlines for decades to come.