The Color of Money

Until recent years, there was but one color of cash — green. It is also the color of opportunity in the remodeling industry. Yes, we are in the throes of a significant economic downturn, but now is not the time to batten down the hatches so tightly that we’ve got no room to think about green.

Longtime remodeler and green consultant Carl Seville came back from the recent USGBC GreenBuild Conference in Boston and was struck by the energy and enthusiasm of the remodelers and contractors who were there. It was in sharp contrast, he said, to a more sober cast to other recent industry gatherings. Frankly, I’ve been seeing and hearing the same thing. Those who’ve been embracing green are seeing a way forward despite the stultifying effects of our economy.

There are a number of myths about green remodeling — among them, that it is strictly the province of big-ticket projects for well-heeled customers. Yes, deep pockets make going green an easier proposition. But it is not written down anywhere that green remodeling needs to be expensive. Embracing green means knowing there are improvements and repairs that can be made at every price point that will appeal to today’s homeowners. Let’s say a past remodeling customer calls and asks you to come out and fix a drafty door; you may want to bring a thermal imaging device to show the other leaky spots in their house. You could end up with an $8,000 job to add new insulation and replace windows. Good, old-fashioned Jimmy-Carter style energy efficiency will be a huge hot button with your current, past and future customers this winter — and it happens to be a major part of green remodeling.

No matter your level of involvement or familiarity with green remodeling, this issue of Qualified Remodeler has an impressive set of green resources to draw upon. Beginning on The Green Puzzle: Putting It All Together, green expert and author of a new book, Green Remodeling, John D. Wagner sets forth a detailed primer on how to put all of the green puzzle pieces together into a coherent business opportunity. Our design story this month profiles a supremely green two-story addition in Austin, Texas. The story, which begins on Postmodern Green, offers the vision of architect David Webber, who shows that leading-edge design does not need to be compromised in order to meet the strictures of a deeply green project. A comprehensive list of products used on Webber’s addition is included, helping further make the point that green products and materials are readily available at your local building materials dealer or supply house. Our green coverage includes a spotlight on products that will help you go green. Just turn to Green Products to learn more.

Last, but certainly not least, we offer a feature we’ve presented annually for more than 30 years — our pictorial Buyers’ Guide. Beginning on 2009 Pictorial Buyers’ Guide, it spotlights pictures and descriptions of hundreds of new products you’ll need in ’09. Still not enough product information for you? There’s always more at www.qualifiedremodeler.com; just click on the Buyers’ Guide tab.

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