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Green renovation – go it alone or hire an expert?

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Joanne Ciccarello/Staff/The Christian Science Monitor

(Read caption) Martin Sheridan considers the work and cost of installing a geothernmal heating unit at Sheep Dog Hollow, a 1902 farmhouse that was abandoned and is now being restored.

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I begin this post with a confession. I have not yet hired a “green expert” to guide us as we undertake the massive renovation of Sheep Dog Hollow. The primary reason is that we are also trying to do it in a budget-conscious way. (We definitely don’t want to go broke in the process.)

I figured that with the resources available on the Internet and wise counsel from friends, colleagues, and experienced contractors, we could figure out how to go green ourselves and save some money.

And then I remembered the idiom "penny wise, pound foolish." And so I began to research how I’d go about finding a “green expert” as well as the rationale for using one.

The most obvious one, of course, is that such a consultant will already know (or at least is supposed to know) what he or she is doing. Green Advantage, a “collaboration between the Nature Conservancy, Science Applications International Corp., and the University of Florida,” provides green certification for builders.

It sums up the advantages of hiring a green certified builder this way:

Green Advantage building practitioners have proven knowledge about green building techniques and approaches that use:
• Overview of the green building industry/green building materials.
• Energy- and water-efficient building technologies.
• Sustainable construction technologies that enhance disaster resistance and resistance to termites and other biological hazards.
• Healthy construction methods that improve air quality and the health of building occupants.
• Land planning, land development, and land management practices that protect wildlife habitats, soil, and water, and foster biodiversity.
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