My question is about finding authentic “green” construction and remodeling companies in our region. We would like to build or renovate a home using environmentally friendly and sustainable design and materials. When I search for these types of companies it seems like every company advertises as green when in reality they really are not. We are looking for things like energy efficient design, solar power, gray water systems, nontoxic and sustainable flooring, cabinets, countertops etc… The list obviously goes on and on. How do we go about finding the right builders and suppliers?
I find myself embarking upon a new home build. It is with a specific builder within a development. Meaning I do not get to choose the builder. Any tips on asking for green things without driving the home price sky high? After living in old houses the past 15 years, I find this to be foreign territory. The motivation for the move is to cut commuting time and gas by at least 75%!
Moving out, but still green.
Dear Terra and Moving out,
I admire the motivation behind both of your situations. Before I make suggestions, I’d like to share some astounding facts.
I serve on the Indy Rezone Task Force and learned some pretty interesting info last week. New home construction typically has 8,000 lbs. of waste per 2,000 sq. ft. of house. Ack! 80% of the waste is recyclable drywall, wood or cardboard. For real? Would you believe that home builders often order too much material, but instead of saving the excess for their next project, they simply dispose of it at the dump??? Egad! Meanwhile, places like Habitat for Humanity are trying to do as much good with a few resources as possible.
So, the first thing I think you should do with any builder is have a nice little chat about reusing materials, reducing waste and recycling whenever possible. No excuses. Sheesh, at least leave the leftover drywall behind so you can do something productive with it. You paid for it!
As for finding a builder, I have only met one green home builder in person – Frank of Castalia Homes. I’m sure there are others out there, but the fact that I’ve met Frank says that he’s present in the Central Indiana green community. He goes to Earth Day and other green events. He cares about the movement and how it affects his local community.
Finally, you can find green home products at some big box home improvement stores – I’m always intrigued by the recycled-content carpet options – but for now you’ll have to drive to Chicago or elsewhere to find a full showroom of eco-friendly home finishes.