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Green renovation – go it alone or hire an expert?

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They’ve also got a handy site where you can locate a Green Advantage-certified builder. I duly put in my ZIP Code and found, to my dismay, that there was only one Green Advantage-certified residential builder within 50 miles of Sheep Dog, and they were in a different state.

It turns out that only about 6,000 builders and contractors nationwide are certified by Green Advantage.

The real big foot in green building is the US Green Building Council, which developed the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design ) rating system. It has almost 20,000 members, and they, too, have a handy site where you can locate LEED-certified builders, engineers, and architects.

There I found 30 LEED-certified people in the state of Connecticut. Unfortunately, many were with large construction corporations and architectural firms, folks I knew were out of our price range.

I was also surprised that I didn’t find any of the people that I’d already been referred to as local pioneers in green building, such as the engineer who had built his own green home using wood and stone he harvested from the building site or the heating and air conditioning contractor who’d been putting in geothermal systems for the past 20 years. (You’ll meet both of these folks in the next few months.)

I also began to understand the complexity of acquiring a LEED rating for our home. First, you need to have a LEED-certified person involved in the project from start to finish, documenting everything from the early design to the working conditions for the carpenters, concrete pourers, etc., to the final interior air quality.

The documentation in itself could add thousands to the cost, to say nothing of the tens of thousands that hiring an LEED-certified architect would add.

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