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Chad Holgerson of Keystone Building and Design used cabinets and hardwood floors with a water-soluble finish and high-efficiency doors and windows to remodel Geoff and Sally Branch's kitchen in Springfield's Woodbridge subdivision.
Chad Holgerson of Keystone Building and Design used cabinets and hardwood floors with a water-soluble finish and high-efficiency doors and windows to remodel Geoff and Sally Branch's kitchen in Springfield's Woodbridge subdivision.

Green movement reaches home remodeling sector

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While environmentally friendly building practices have been gaining steam in the new construction sector for several years, home remodelors now stand to benefit from programs and certifications aimed at making revamps greener, too.

"There is movement toward remodeling what you have, which is pretty green in and of itself," said Korina Branson, co-owner of GreenStick Remodeling LLC in Reeds Spring. "We can decrease your overall cost by reusing, repurposing and recycling the materials you would otherwise haul off."

Eco-friendly efforts

The American Society of Interior Designers Foundation and the U.S. Green Building Council partnered in 2008 to develop best-practice guidelines and targeted educational resources for sustainable residential improvement projects. The goal of the program, dubbed ReGreen, is to provide design professionals, remodelers and homeowners with tools for green home remodeling. The program's guidelines blend tips on product selection and information about building systems with case studies that show the practical benefits of eco-friendly remodels. "ReGreen is an important collaboration between both of our organizations," said Rick Fedrizzi, president and CEO of the U.S. Green Building Council, in a news release announcing the program. "Healthy living is on the minds of many Americans and by providing the tools and resources they need to reach their sustainability goals, we'll be furthering our collective missions of education and transforming the built environment."

A technical committee comprised of a diverse group of industry experts developed the guidelines, and ReGreen includes best practices, learning programs and print and electronic resources for those who want to make an existing home more sustainable, whether room-by-room or an entire dwelling.

But the program isn't just a set of guidelines, according to ASID leaders.

"We are developing curriculum for learning programs and designing a comprehensive and user-friendly consumer and professional Web site to assist in green residential remodeling," he said in the release.

Rebecca Elliott, a Springfield-based interior designer who is a member of ASID and one of three Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-accredited interior designers in the area, said programs like ReGreen help homeowners and professionals make smarter remodeling decisions.

"On the residential side, people are wanting to save money by reducing energy consumption," Elliott said. "There's another group who are focused on the health aspects of green building, such as paint emitting fumes or carpet collecting dust, and they have a great awareness of low-(volatile organic compounds) paints and choosing hardwood floors that are harvested responsibly."

Increased interest

Green is big business. A McGraw-Hill survey shows that residential green building will be a $19 million to $38 billion market by 2010.

In anticipation of increased interest, in 2007, the National Association of the Remodeling Industry launched a Green Certified Professional certification.

To attain the GCP certification, the remodeler must have:

• worked full-time as a remodeler for at least five years;

• have conducted remodeling projects using green principles, practices or products for at least three years;

• have at least 16 hours of green or sustainable remodeling related continuing education; and

• passed NARI's comprehensive examination.

Although no NARI members in Springfield have completed the GCP certification yet, remodelers do see value in green building knowledge.

"I have green training, and it does get respect in the industry, but certifications take a lot of time and are expensive," said Chad Holgerson, NARI member and owner of Nixa-based Keystone Building and Design LLC.

He said his customers want to find the best ways to invest in their properties and often ask about energy-efficient and sustainable options during the remodel planning process. "Many times the investment to pursue these energy efficiencies gets a little high and they back off and lose their momentum," Holgerson added. "When it comes down to sales, it comes down to what they can afford." Staying up to date on what's new in green remodeling takes a bit of legwork.

"I spend a lot of time on the Internet," said Branson, whose GreenStick Remodeling recently completed a remodel in Ozark for Todd and Sheri Frye that entailed a kitchen expansion, environmentally friendly HVAC upgrades, a new heat pump, new windows and doors, and green flooring.

"We stay active with Ozarks Green Building Coalition and go to monthly Green Drinks events where other green and sustainable businesses get together to share info and bat ideas off of each other," she added.

Sales reps working for product manufacturers and trade shows are also key information sources for eco-conscious remodelers. "For some people, you recommend they use energy-efficient lighting or sustainable materials but it's not really important to them," Elliott said. "No matter what, I'm all about promoting environmental awareness, but I'm not going to say to a client you have to do it. I just let them know everything I know and let them make the decision."[[In-content Ad]]• ReGreen - www.regreenprogram.org

• Green Home Guide - www.thegreenhomeguide.org

• National Association of Green Remodeling Industry - www.greenremodeling.org

• Green Drinks - chapters.usgbc.org/missouriheartland/events.html

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