Tuesday, February 20, 2018
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Green Remodeling Projects

Systems - Integrated Team Building

One of the most important aspects of green remodeling is assembling a project team whose members understand the importance of systems integration and how their jobs might be a little different because of this approach.

For example, designers must work with the builder to integrate mechanical systems with the structure, keeping ducts and equipment within conditioned space. The head carpenter may need to work out some sequencing details with the insulation contractor to ensure that the air and thermal barriers are complete and continuous, especially at challenging locations, such as behind the tub on an outside wall. The painting contractor needs to understand that substituting a different quality of caulk or paint is not acceptable because of the effect on indoor air quality or the moisture performance of the exterior wall assembly. This type of coordination or systems integration almost always requires three things:

  • A team leader who keeps the clients’ goals and big picture in mind and who, on his/her own or working with the client’s, assembles a project team capable of systems - thinking.

  • High-quality floor plans, drawings, specifications, and contractor scopes that fully support the project goals.

  • Training, whether it is obtained through a trade association’s green certification process or simply by having team members work their way through the REGREEN guidelines. Chrisner Group uses all tools and pre-qualifies the team members for you.

Green remodeling expertise, including systems integration, can reside in a single person or be spread throughout the team. Not every project team will require a green remodeling consultant, but the benefits of including such expertise may quickly exceed the costs.

ReGreen Presentation
This self-guided overview is designed to explain the origins and intent of the ASID-USGBC partnership to develop REGREEN.

Green Remodeling is the design and construction of projects that reduce the environmental impacts of remodeling, including energy, water, and materials consumption; waste generation; and harmful emissions, both indoors and out. Although the principles that govern green residential remodeling are shared with all other design and construction projects, more than a few aspects are unique to green remodeling:

  • Range of projects. Residential remodeling covers everything from painting a room to refitting a kitchen to gutting a whole house down to the framing and then rebuilding.

  • Existing conditions. In new home construction we generally have just the site to consider, but in residential remodeling there are existing conditions that range from room configuration to hazards such as mold, lead, and asbestos.

  • Custom work. Whether in design or construction, just about every residential remodeling project is custom, with very little opportunity for the sorts of economies of scale that occur in production building.

  • Professional-client relationship. Remodeling professionals almost always have a client; “spec” remodeling projects are rare. The closer relationship with homeowners requires skills and perspectives not generally required for new construction projects.

  • Occupants. Remodeling professionals must plan and often conduct their work based on the health, safety and schedules of real people. Even if the work requires that the home be vacated, the timing and duration of such a period must be very carefully orchestrated.

  • Sequenced or staged projects. Many residential remodeling projects are phased or sequenced projects (“we want to do the bathroom and then the kitchen”), and this can make for challenging orders of operation in both design and construction, often requiring innovation and improvisation by remodeling professionals.

  • Integration. A cornerstone of all types of green building is systems integration, and residential remodeling adds a new dimension to this integration: integrating the old or existing with the new. Those unique aspects of residential remodeling mean that a best-practices guide, rather than a rating program, is appropriate.

Green from the Start

The start of every remodeling project; weather a single-room renovation or a whole-house, gut-rehab, take comprehensive project planning with the major players. No less important for the green remodeling project, comprehensive green project planning follows these steps:

  • Client Interview

  • Building Assessment

  • Systems-Integrated Team Building

  • Cost-Benefit Analysis

  • Code and Zoning Issues Management

Regreen GuideLines

» Green Renovation Checklist: Use these tips to guide your major room or housewide renovation projects.

» Green Retrofit Checklist: Even if the home you live in now is far from green, and you're not planning a major renovation anytime soon, there is plenty you can do to start living in a greener, healthier home.