Remodelers are doing their part to close what some people call the “ green gap,” the chasm between growing demand for energy- and resource-efficient homes and an insufficient supply of hands-on expertise. A growing list of training and educational resources — some of them free — are making it easier for production managers and crews to acquire that expertise.
For instance, besides the almost overwhelming wealth of information (much of it disputed) online, you can download free guidelines, checklists, and manuals from a number of organizations.
Minnesota GreenStar’s materials would benefit remodelers in cold northern climates, says Michael Anschel, principal of Minneapolis green remodeling company Otogawa-Anschel and of Verified Green, a consulting organization. If you’re in a “dry hot or dry temperate” climate, he likes the free downloads from Built Green Santa Barbara. For remodelers in the South, he suggests downloading materials from EarthCraft House.
Green Certification Opportunities
More time on your hands? Consider a formal education or certification program. From recycling demo materials to alternative framing methods, a huge range of classes exists. Some are offered only in classrooms, others online, and a few can be customized as private workshops in your office.
“The CGP [certified green professional] is the fastest-growing designation program at NAHB,” says Therese Crahan of the National Association of Homebuilders Remodelers. In its first year, 2008, the program certified more than 1,500 people, triple the unofficial goal. All classes are taught in classrooms, through local home builders’ associations as well as at national industry events.
The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) offers a 12-week green education program through its chapters and online. Separately, NARI’s “green certified professional” (GCP) designation is held by more than 70 people, with 100 more likely to join them within the year, says Dan Taddei, NARI’s education director.
More green certifications and training programs are available nationally, through organizations such as the Building Performance Institute, Green Advantage, and the prolifically busy U.S. Green Building Council, as well as through a growing number of local and regional organizations, building suppliers, and others.
A final word of advice from Anschel: “Get philosophical with your staff before you get technical.… The nitty gritty comes later, and diving into insulation methods or advanced framing techniques gives you such a limited and narrow view of the field that you are more likely to screw things up than get them right.”
Anschel suggests a number of background reading sources on his blog.
A version of this article appeared in print on page 30 of the January 2009 issue.