Green and Filled with Products

Remodelers are pragmatists and problem solvers. That, I think, is why green remodeling developed so slowly and is, only now, reaching critical mass. Building science professionals as far back as 10, even 15 years ago, espoused the virtues of green building and sustainable design, but to a large degree, incorporating these ideas was impractical. Many green products were not widely produced or distributed. They were also the more expensive option. These days, the supply and demand for green products and services are in better balance. The stars, as they say, have aligned.

This month, we profile a project that won a Gold Award for Green Remodeling in our 2007 Master Design Awards. It is a remarkable project, designed and built by a remarkable company in Mountain View, Calif., Spectrum Fine Homes. Susan Davis, CKBR, CGBP, the design principal for the firm and Bob Davis, CR, CGBP, the president and general contractor of the firm, are committed to green as deeply as any remodelers I know.

Susan tells me that the company incorporated green into the company’s design/build process five years ago. Before Spectrum does any design work for a client, they now, as a practice, order up home-performance diagnostics on the existing home from a local consulting firm. Only with that report and a prescriptive solution in hand does Spectrum proceed to design a solution. This is a good way to go. By testing a home’s healthiness and energy-efficiency, green becomes a defined goal. With these parameters, success or failure can be defined. It is not simply a convenient “green wash” where one or two great products, like recycled insulation or energy-efficient windows, are added without any measurement toward objective goals.

Both are good solutions, but without background of the improvement they bring, these unmeasured gains are less meaningful. Through testing, Spectrum Fine Homes has found a professional, yet pragmatic, way to pursue a path toward green remodeling.

Our magazine’s approach to green is evolving. As always, we provide Best Practices, New Products and Design Ideas. Our view is that green should be incorporated into the magazine at a granular level. Green remodeling is good remodeling. And yet all good remodeling does not have to be green. To give the green perspective, we introduce this month a very experienced green building columnist and editor, John D. Wagner. Beginning this month, Wagner, who has authored many books on the subject and helped launch Green Builder magazine, addresses the many strides forward green remodeling has made. In addition, contributing editor Harry Spaulding explores the latest in green building trends.

Our extensive green content, together with our annual pictorial buyers guide, offers a peak at the integrated approach we are taking toward green while, at the same time, providing you the information you need for business success.