It’s still easy being green

Green BuildingGreen Building

As most homeowners know, one cannot plan for home repairs. When it comes to floors, walls, windows and doors, the need for unplanned maintenance might strike at any time.

Sustainable building practices, otherwise known as “green building,” have been on the rise for quite some time. Green buildings are designed to use water and energy more efficiently and also to cut back on waste and pollution.

Going “green” is often associated with higher costs. While this can be true up front, it must be weighed against savings over future years.

Jason Holstine, president of Amicus Green Building Center in Kensington, says “If people can invest in green building, they should. People have to look at it in a long-term sense. It pays back. Our client base is growing. People say to me, ‘If we’re going to do a renovation, we should do it right.’”

As green building expands, more contractors and builders are gaining experience at lowering the costs. “The whole ‘save the environment’ thing is becoming more of a real possibility,” Holstine says. “Green materials are a better quality.”

Sustainable projects can be both long-lasting and relatively inexpensive if you are willing to use secondhand doors, windows and other materials.  If you are on a tight budget, consider browsing Community Forklift. Located in Hyattsville, Community Forklift is a warehouse that calls itself a “thrift store for building materials.”

Christine McCoy, materials acquisitions manager, said their business has remained unscathed by the economy. “There are a lot of people who still want to go green, but are looking for low-cost ways to do so,” she said. “We allow them to do just that.”

The materials at Community Forklift are salvaged and donated by homeowners undergoing their own construction projects.  The donors get a tax write-off and avoid paying fees for junking the materials.

Community Forklift, meanwhile, is able to sell the recycled materials at affordable prices.  “We are doing a million times better in this economy,” said McCoy. “People come in and buy things for a lower cost than they would at a retail store, and it supports the community.”

Even when using new materials the long-term benefits may be worth it.  “As more people become experienced in green building projects, they will become even more cost efficient,” said Holstine. “The right time to do this is now.”