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Builders and purchase crestor online resources renovators face barriers in the shift to sustainability

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Written by Jim Verzino

When I talk to architects, builders and trades-people, I often hear the excitement in their voices when they tell me they are finally “taking their company green.” Consistently the only for you entrepreneurs worry that the up-front costs to install green solutions are usually more expensive than conventional features. Will customers pay the extra costs up front?

Certainly price is one of the issues that these dedicated green businesspeople have to overcome, but price is just the tip of the iceberg. Resistance from neighbors, zoning boards, employees and subcontractors are just as difficult to surmount and time-consuming.

Just ask Michael Strong, owner of Greenhaus Builders, Houston's leading green builder.

altMichael has been in the building and remodeling industry for over 20 years. Several years ago he decided to make the move from a standard remodeler to a green builder. This is no simple task. The market and societal forces were clearly against him at the time. He made the change long before building green was in style.

To make his challenge especially difficult, he did it in a market with notoriously low building costs for conventional building. In his area a semi-custom new built home can cost under $100 per square foot. The houses he builds cost at least twice as much.

What kind of challenges do you think a person committed to doing the right thing might have when the market is screaming at him to keep doing it the old way?
The biggest problem in his conversion has not been getting enough customers. It has been internal resistance from hisemployees and subcontractors.

People are so entrenched in the old ways of doing things they simply resist any change. “People like the idea of going green when they just have to listen to stories and buy viagra uk see product presentations. They are always right with me to drive me to the airport and see me off on my adventures. But when the rubber meets the road and they actually have to do something different than what they are used to, their enthusiasm quickly wanes,” Michael said.

The issues are not limited to employees and subcontractors. Most local governments have rules that actively prevent going green.

Dennis Karpinski is the cheap clomid newsletter owner of Elite Electric in Atlanta, GA. He wanted to do the right thing for his clients and his community. He spent thousands of dollars getting trained to install and service green electric solutions.

“Price is an issue without a doubt,” Karpinski said. “But there are so many other issues beyond just price.”

I perceived Atlanta to be the perfect place for solar when I started to discuss the issue with Dennis. They have lots of sun,and the population is progressive and in tune with the issues of sustainable economics. I quickly learned a different story.

altIt turns out the city of Atlanta has extremely strict regulations on the cheapest prices for viagra cutting of any trees. If a homeowner wants to cut a tree on their lawn, they must get permission from the city first. This involves going through various stages of approval that can include zoning boards and neighbor input.

Since the architecture in Atlanta consists of mostly one and click here cialis low priced two story buildings, trees often cover a significant part of the roof line and yards.

In looking at the economics of solar you quickly see that even when solar panels are operating at optimal levels they barely pay for themselves over the product lifespan. If a roof is 50% shaded, system efficiency is drastically decreased to a point where it is impossible, even with subsidies, to have the system ever be financially effective.

Even the most noble decisions often have unintended consequences. In its effort to save trees the city of Atlanta has essentially made residential solar electric nearly impossible.

altIn his book “Hot, Flat and Crowded” author Thomas Friedman tells the story of trying to get solar panels on his property in a Washington DC suburb. He had to fight a long battle with the town zoning people because it was illegal for him to place panels on his lawn in the way that actually faced the sun.

Luckily Mr. Friedman has the resources to have such a fight with city hall, but most people don’t have that luxury. Until average citizens can install panels and windmills and other energy efficient installations without having to fight city hall, the shift to greener energy will be piecemeal at best.

The roadblocks for to going green go beyond just contractors and building. Many people looking for homes today want green features in the new or existing homes they are going to buy. If you have ever tried to find green options using your cities Multiple Listing Service (MLS), you have discovered that they are not in the MLS. Furthermore, even though many people are willing to pay more for green features, appraisers have no way to make comparisons in order to recognize the increased value. This makes getting a loan more difficult as well.

Anyone can search for the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, garage and other features, but  green options of any kind have no way of being found. Green buyers and newsletter order cheap levitra visa sellers have a very hard time finding each other, and appraisers and banks have no way to recognize the difference in value.

Portland, Oregon realtor Kria Lacher was determined to change all that. She worked to create the first ever Green MLS. It allows the realtor or appraiser to search on green options like sustainable wood floors, geothermal heat pumps or solar hot water for instance. Not only does it allow buyers and sellers to get matched up, it gives the appraisers the ability to recognize differing square foot sales prices based on those options so that banks can give better loans when appropriate.

The system was such a success that Lacher has been asked by several other cities to help them create a similar system. She has done it now for Seattle, Denver, Truckee, and other cities. The demand got so high for assistance in developing the systems that she finally had to tell enquiring cities that she was going to have to charge a few hundred dollars for her time in order to help them.

To everyone’s surprise, nobody was even willing to pay the miniscule $300 to have her help develop a system. For the moment she has had to suspend doing this work for other municipalities. She has to feed a family after all.

altDespite these current difficulties for businesses trying to deliver green solutions, there is good news on the horizon. Pressure for sustainable economics is coming from the bottom in the form of customer demand. Now it is beginning to come from the top as well.

For all its good and bad points, the World Economic Forum is a place where the big decision makers on world issues in business and politics meet and trends are discussed. A few years ago sustainability was a fringe topic. Now it is one of the six formal “pillars” of the event.

It’s one more step on a very long but worthwhile trip in changing from the status quo to a sustainable world economy.

Jim Verzino is the Executive Director of the Institute for Building Systems based in Middlefield, Connecticut. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
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