“The design choices the owners made about materials and finishes were the significant expenses,” rather than the outright green measures, King says. In that sense, the remodel presented the rare opportunity to build for ultimate durability and permanence, which is a key component of sustainability.

Cheryl Weber is a freelance writer in Lancaster, Pa.

  • Credit: GTODDphotography

PROFILE: Jeff King, Owner Jeff King & Co.

Jeff King grew up in eco-conscious Boulder, Colo., and founded his remodeling company in San Francisco in 1994. But it wasn’t until 10 years later, when he and his production manager got certified through the local Build It Green program, that he began developing minimum environmental standards for every project. Since then, he’s made sure that all four management-level employees are green building certified.

One core principle on King’s remodels is to reuse as much of the dismantled lumber as they can on the new project. Discarded cabinetry, appliances, and the like are donated to a local non-profit salvage company, and clients get the tax write-off.

New products and building materials must also meet stringent standards. All concrete now contains at least 30% fly ash. Only kiln-dried framing lumber is used to avoid mold growth, and engineered lumber is speced where appropriate.

Another standard for whole-house remodels is to use the highest-efficiency boiler available. “We don’t even discuss it with the client,” King says. “It adds minimal cost, and the clients get payback.” Ditto for the hot-water delivery system. Its main plumbing trunk is always installed in the center of the house, and pipes are insulated to the point of use.

“We want to make sure we’re building the absolute best for the life of the house. It’s not something we have trouble selling,” and it doesn’t add significant costs to a high-end budget, King says.


A third-floor redwood deck was dismantled, and its boards reused on interior walls and to form the concrete for a planter and retaining walls. New second- and third-floor decking is FSC-certified ipe from EarthSource. 800.675.7257. www.earthsourcewood.com.