Arlington, Va., May 6--When it comes to making the transition to green remodeling, remodelers need to "lead, follow, or get out of the way," Carl Seville of Decatur, Ga.-based Seville Consulting told attendees during the Remodeling Leadership Conference. "We can and must make it happen," Seville said, explaining that adding green to any company's remodeling repertoire can provide additional opportunities and benefits, including boosting client satisfaction and profits.
Seville, who has more than 30 years of experience in renovation and home building, offered several helpful tips to remodelers who are planning to take the green plunge.
Step one is company self-evaluation. "What are you doing now that is green? What will be easy? What will be difficult?" he asked. Asking these questions can help remodelers develop a solid plan, he said.
Seville advised that companies pace themselves because even little changes can go a long way. "Don't bite off more than you can chew," he warned. "Just making a home 10% more efficient has a significant impact."
Incremental steps, such as shifting from using incandescent lighting to CFLs and from fiberglass insulation to foam, can make a difference.
Seville stressed, however, that even though the green movement seems to revolve around the products, correct installation practices are essential, and ongoing training--for everyone from the CEO to the employees to the vendors-is necessary.
Having your employees on board may make or break a remodeling company's shift to green, Seville suggested. If the crew can't or won't make the transition, owners may be forced to decide what is more important, embracing the necessary changes or hanging on to veteran workers. In most cases, embracing change is going to win, he said.
If you feel like you are in the dark about how to start, Seville suggested seeking out resources from national programs such as Energy Star, the NAHB, and the USGBC, all of which have guidelines for green remodeling. Local programs may serve remodelers best, he said, but there is an unfortunate lack of them, at least for now.
The annual Remodeling Leadership Conference is hosted by Remodeling magazine, a sister publication of EcoHome.