How Do I Choose the Best Green Home Builder?

Dan Cavallari

If you are considering having a home built from scratch, you might consider a green home builder who can build the structure with energy efficiency and low environmental impact in mind. Choosing the best green home builder starts with doing some research into contractors who operate in your area. You can find contractors who will travel to your region in order to build your home, but you should expect to pay more for the services. Meet with the builders you are considering hiring to find one that will communicate well, draw up accurate quotes, and negotiate pricing and material use.

A green home builder might use reclaimed lumber.
A green home builder might use reclaimed lumber.

The best green home builder will choose appropriate building materials and will use disposal methods that are compliant with sustainability practices. The green home builder will make an effort to use environmentally friendly materials that are non-toxic when possible, as well as materials that come from renewable sources. Woods must be chosen carefully, and plastics should be avoided whenever possible. Talk to the green home builder to find out what materials he or she intends to use during the construction process, as well as how he or she will dispose of scraps or old materials from a renovation process.

A green builder should be able to provide examples of completed homes.
A green builder should be able to provide examples of completed homes.

The builder should be able to show you examples of green projects he or she has already completed. His or her construction philosophy should focus on green building rather than using green techniques as an afterthought or as a secondary technique. Many contractors may use some green building techniques when they are convenient, but it is easy to revert back to less environmentally friendly designs and techniques. The builder should be committed to green design and construction, and he or she should be knowledgeable about such techniques and processes. If your home will be built in such a way that unconventional techniques will be used, the builder should demonstrate that he or she understands the techniques and can execute them properly.

Of course, the best way to choose a green home builder is to become an expert yourself. The more you know about the process, the better you will be able to determine who the best green builder will be. You will end up working with the builder fairly consistently to ensure the project is completed properly and to your desires, so the more you know, the better your relationship will be with the builder. You will also be able to gauge the builder's enthusiasm for the project and his or her willingness to subscribe to green techniques.

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