I'm at square one. How do I get started on a green home remodel?
Hello, Harold. Congratulations on your new home purchase and on your initiative to renovate it in an environmentally responsible fashion. Among other things, home retrofitting presents the opportunity to substantially enhance the energy and water efficiency of the home, improve the occupant comfort level, protect indoor air quality and increase the functionality and aesthetics of the interior layout while minimizing the project's environmental footprint through material selections, waste management and other choices. I would highly recommend that you look at what energy retrofit strategies piggy back in a cost-effective manner with what home improvements are already necessary. For instance, replacing a roof offers the opportunity to install a roof with high insulation value and with a surface material that reflects the sun's heat rather than absorbs it. You may even consider a vegetated roof.
I'd like to introduce you to an extremely resourceful guide to green home renovations: REGREEN. The REGREEN program is a set of green residential remodeling guidelines that was created in 2008 by the U.S. Green Building Council and the American Society of Interior Designers. The guidelines can be downloaded for free. Reading through these guidelines will aid you in identifying which home improvement strategies are right for your residence.
There is also a series of REGREEN educational webinars currently offered by USGBC. The first one aired in December 2008 and is titled "Intro to REGREEN". It is now available through archive. The second webinar will air on Jan. 14, 2009, at 1 p.m. ET and will focus on kitchen and bath renovation. The final webinar in the current series will focus on deep energy retrofits and is scheduled for Feb. 11, 2009, at 1 p.m. ET. This last one may be of particular interest to you. All these webinars will remain available for on-demand archived viewing after their live air date.
You also asked where you could go to find green remodel professionals. There is an eco-friendly building center, a great resource, in Scottsdale, Ariz., called a.k.a. green. They offer a number of resources including workshops, professional assistance, a green building material display room and reputable educational programming. I highly suggest you contact them as they should be able to help you find local expertise.
I hope this information is helpful. Best wishes for your home project!