Green Built Michigan
Green Built Michigan Newsletter
August 2009
Hundreds Learn About Green Building
Great Lakes Green Conference 2009 offered a revised format of one day of education programs covering a wide range of green building, remodeling and living. More than 300 people turned out to attend classes held August 21 in Grand Rapids at the DeVos Place.

Nearly a third of attendees were non-HBA members. A number of participants took local HBA contact information with them and talked about Green Built Michigan membership benefits.
 
Green Built Members Share Knowledge at Conference
Over three dozen classes were offered. Several Green Built Members served as creators and instructors for educational content:

Christopher Hall CAPS, CGP with Kent County Habitat for Humanity, Jerad Crump with Summit Landscape, Robert P Fegan Jr with DTE Energy, John Zito with Coastline Building, Brian Schultz director at Grand Rapids Community College, Thom Phillips with Habitat for Humanity of Michigan, Ben Thompson from Thompson Remodeling, Joanne Theunissen co-owner of Howling Hammer Builders, Kirk Patton Green Built Michigan Board Member and Owner of Montgomery Heating & Cooling, Arn McIntyre Green Built Michigan Board President and owner of McIntyre Builders, Rich Kogelschatz who was chair of the Great Lakes Green Task Force and Board Member, owner of Heartland Builders and Michael Holcomb who offers Green Built ratings through his company The Home Inspector General.

The presenters and their in-depth content proved a point that Green Built Michigan boasts to many prospective members: Our membership is comprised of many of the most knowledgable people in the industry. All of whom are willing to share this knowledge, passion and experience with others who are interested in learning more about sustainable construction.
 
Price Over Quality is Over
  "If you need a hug after we are done, just let me know." Ron Jones, Keynote speaker at Great Lakes Green kidded with his audience. But in part it was true.

The information he shared resonated strongly with me. Living in the Great Lakes state my entire life, the thought of a water crisis had never entered my mind. Sure, we should conserve water because what's the point in wasting? If we can use less through native plants, low flow plumbing and recycling rain water, why wouldn't we? But Jones expressed that it is more than that.

Some startling facts: every state is in a water crises, with the exception of Alaska who has a small population compared to available water. Yes, even us Michiganders, surrounded by our vast fresh water lakes.

97% of the worlds water is salt water, making it unusable for most human needs

2-3% of the world's fresh water is in polar ice-caps and glaciers, again, making it unusable for our needs

That leaves 1% for everything we need. Drinking, crop growth, vegetation, industrial use, energy, and so on. We are completely dependent on this limited resource but we may not be using it in the most responsible manner.

Forty-billion gallons a day are used by energy plants-that is more than all other human needs combined.

Is it our responsibility to consider our global impact? Yes. "For centuries we have thought about nature and housing in a singular direction. How nature affects our homes. Floods, tornadoes, clearing land and so on. We now need to think about it in the other direction as well...how the homes we build affect nature." Jones explained.

Builders who are building sustainable, efficient, and healthy homes, they are ahead of what is to come. "Do you think car manufacturers would build vehicles with mpg standards, seatbelts and airbags if they weren't required to? The building industry is positioned with a giant target on our fronts-ready for the blame to be pinned on us for not doing more." But often, doing what is best is compared to how much it costs.

I hear it on a day-to-day basis, it costs too much to build green. When I argue that the concept of cost needs to be re-thought, I am looked at as-if I am used car salesman trying to move the lemon of the century off the lot.

 "For too long we have used the false metric of quantity over quality. Builders don't say,  'I want to build you a 2,000 square foot pile of garbage.' But we keep trying to think in terms of price compared to quality ?' The time to compete on price is over." Jones explains.

Speakers across Great Lakes Green shared the same message. "Homeowners don't pick based on price. We are all building with the same amount of work, with sub-contractors buying from the same suppliers. Our prices can't be that different. Homeowners choose a builder based on philosophy." explains builder Rich Kogelschatz.

Rethink cost. Think passion, think commitment, think sustainable, think future. Think about it now before everyone else is required to think about it through regulation, and you will find yourself ahead of the curve with a reputation for building healthy, sustainable homes.
 
ANSI Standard
Cottage Home
Frost Properties Inc
Scott Christopher Homes
VanderMeulen Builders
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Are You Missing Out? Yes.

Green Built Michigan is on Facebook and if you aren't you are missing out on the opportunity to connect, share ideas, find new resources, have your questions answered by other building professionals across the state and reach new clientele

A great discussion on utilizing resalvaged wood was had last week. This week, Kirk Patton posted about his education session. Denise Eden was featured in the last newsletter as a response to a request for flooring experts. 

Think it's just a fad and can't do anything for you? Think again.

Daily Green Built Michigan shares resources from across the country...resources that you probably don't have to go and look for yourself.

Daily we ask for your input to be featured in our newsletter and Michigan Green Builder Magazine being sent to 10,000 Michiganders.Can you buy the opportunity to be an expert to 10,000 people? Likely, it's not in your budget, but by being involved it can be free.

Bill Patterson, Green Built member and owner of The Woodlands at Austin Lakes utilizes numerous social marketing tools including Facebook, Twitter, Blogger and Linked In.

"It's a way to get myself out there without having to spend any money. These are things that 'every-day' people use and that is who I am trying to reach."

Find us on Facebook at
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Coming Up...
Next month's issue of the Green Built Update will discuss Energy, Home Automation and Lighting Control Systems.

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