You’re thinking about building a green home. A lot of builders say they are knowledgeable in green building science, but how can you know who to trust? Use this guideline of questions to help you find a professional and knowledgeable green builder.
What is Their History in Green Building?
While green building practices have recently come into the mainstream, it does not mean they are new. Many builders have been implementing green building measures in the homes they build for over 20 years. Ask your builder how long he has been building homes with green components. However, if your builder is new to the concepts of green building that does not necessarily mean they aren’t knowledgeable. They may have spent a tremendous amount of time recently to become a green building expert.
What Training Do They Have?
What training and education has the builder participated in? Anyone who has done an internet search with the phrase “Green Building” can easily become overwhelmed by the tremendous amount of information. Ask your builder what training they have with green building science. Are they part of a professional organization committed to education, such as Green Built Michigan? Do they travel to participate in educational conferences such as Great Lakes Green or the National Association of Home Builders Green Building Conference? Do they subscribe to print and electronic publications that provide them with written information on green building? By asking your builder questions about their training, formal and informal education practices to learn about green, you can determine not only how knowledgeable your builder is but also how easily they would be able to gain additional information or find a particular product if you needed them to. A builder committed to learning is one with tremendous resources available to them.
What’s the Definition?
Before signing the contract, ask your builder what “green building” means to them? Energy Efficiency should be one of the components they mention. However, if they stop their—it may be time to move on and talk with others. Energy Efficiency is a major component of green building, but it is only one component. Your builder should also talk to you about lot design and preparation, resource efficiency, water efficiency, indoor air quality, and how they can provide you with information to maintain your home.
What do they do?
What does your builder do on the job site and in their office to be green? Do they have a resource management plan in place? Do they recycle? If a builder has taken the steps to integrate daily green practices into their business, they are viewing green building as a way to live, work and be—not just a trend they are riding along on.
One of the most important questions you can ask your green builder is: why do they build green? This question is like asking a prospective employee to “tell me about yourself?” How they answer will provide tremendous insight into their commitment, passion and knowledge of green building. While a builder who says they are building green because it is the latest in thing, may get points from you for honesty, it is not a builder you would want to hire. True green builders are interested in building a higher quality product for their homeowner.
How About You?
Talk to your builder about your particular lifestyle, interests and needs from your home. Ask your builder how your home needs will play a role in determining which elements they choose to incorporate. Green building is a spectrum, not an all or nothing endeavor. Your builder should work with you to find the optimal level of green that fits with your life and your needs.
Look For Help
If you need help hiring a green builder, look for resources to assist you. Green Built Michigan, Inc. is a 501 (C)(3) education and training organization affiliated with home builder associations across Michigan. Green Built serves as an education resource to all members of the building community and homeowners who are interested in learning more about residential green construction. Green building offers homeowners the opportunity to have a safer, healthier, energy efficient and environmentally friendly home. For more information about Green Built Michigan’s members and programs, go to GreenBuiltMichigan.Org