Grand County Builders Association expo focuses on building green
September 3, 2009
What does it mean to build green? In a nutshell, energy efficiency, water conservation, resource conservation, indoor environmental quality, site design and homeowner education. In 2005, just 2 percent of the building market was incorporating green practices, but it’s predicted that percentage will grow from 12 to 20 percent by 2012, according to the National Association of Home Builders. The organization reported that more than 50 percent of its members are seeking green solutions in development, design and construction of new homes in response to a changing consumer climate.”In the past our thinking about ‘quality’ revolved around the types of materials, aesthetics and their expense,” said Tim Hodsdon, associate at Munn Architecture, Granby, and founder of a local “green” think tank called Infinite West. “Now, when talking about sustainability – in addition to aesthetics – quality is defined by the longevity of systems, how efficient systems are and how soon their expense is paid back. Quality is also defined by how healthy homes are,” he said.Reducing the energy footprint of a building, building homes with safer and less off-gassing materials, utilizing ancient methods of building such as orienting homes to gain passive solar heat, and implementing active energy solutions, such as solar hot water, geothermal or photovoltaic cells, all can factor into a “green” standard of building, he said.But with all the information out there, where does one start to demystify it all?The Grand County Builders Association is aiming to help by offering the first ever “Sustainable Building and Green Re-modeling Expo,” in tandem with the Grand County Parade of Homes, Sept. 12-13 and Sept. 19-20.”More and more people are looking for those characteristics in homes,” said Kathryn Harris, executive officer of the Grand County Builders Association, which recently assembled a “Green Council” to decide by what standard the Association should certify green-built homes in Grand County. The Association is hosting the upcoming two-weekend expo to give community members ideas, resources and contacts for green solutions. Todd Gamboa of Excel Energy will be conducting a seminar about the EPA’s Energy Star Program, sharing with homeowners how they might take advantage of mortgage rates, rebates and tax incentives on Energy Star new homes and remodels.With construction prices becoming more affordable and construction workers available during the current downturn in the industry, homeowners may decide the time is right for renovation. Federal tax credits amount to 30 percent of the cost, up to $1,500, for energy-efficiency improvements to windows, doors, insulation, roofs and Energy Star-rated furnaces and boilers. Tax credits also are available for solar upgrades.Dave Clingman of the company Imagin3, Tabernash, is scheduled to talk about home energy audits and the cost-effective ways to improve efficiency and save money.Besides days packed with seminars in the tent at Hideaway Park, the Expo is also featuring at least 20 exhibitors who will be present to discuss such topics as eco-design practices, energy savings and the gentle use of resources.For the youngsters, Harris said, there will be children’s activities to “educate kids in a fun way about being green,” as well as other entertaining childrens’ activities sponsored by area nonprofits. Food and drink will also be available on site.”It will be a family-friendly environment,” Harris said. “It’s about resource awareness and understanding our energy consumption,” Harris said. “It really starts at the home, where we can change our habits, make modifications to our homes to become more energy efficient, and then we start to see a ripple effect throughout the county.”- Tonya Bina can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19603 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.