Constantine Builders, Inc.
Joseph M. Constantine, Jr.
292 Locust Avenue
Amsterdam, NY 12010-1939
1. Green is Energy Smart – Energy star program is a good start. High
efficiency heating systems. High seer AC, tankless hot water heaters. A lot of
insulation. Good windows and doors. Good air sealing practices inside and
2. Green is Resource Conscious – Remodeling is Green because we‟re using
existing stock rather than starting over. 300,000 homes are demolished each
year with most of it going to landfills. But with new, you can still be Green
by carefully choosing your materials. For example: Metal roofs are good
because they are fully recyclable. ICF foundation uses 20-30% less concrete
than standard poured foundations. Better insulated homes use less fossil fuels.
Good quality low flow toilets and sinks save water. Better to use products
that last rather than rely on regular recycling of products. When you can‟t do
this, then do recycle.
3. Green Homes are Healthier – They lack that new home smell because they
lack the off gassing that comes with VOC‟s typical in new homes. These
homes are drier inside and out, so there is no mold problem. Appliances are
sealed combustion, so no carbon monoxide problems. Ventilation systems are
4. Green Makes Use of Earth’s Power – Solar panels are more available than
at any other time. And the quality of installers is growing too. Passive solar
is gaining too with the improvement of the triple pane windows. Geo-thermal
is one of the most effective heat sources available too. Plus, “wind” is starting
to look at residential as a future market. Smart landscaping is helpful. Tall
east/west shade trees block high summer sun, yet allow winters low sunlight
in. Proper drainage is critical for mold prevention, so plan your plants
5. Green Is Sustainable – Quality construction practices are major here. I
repair more new homes than old. With any cladding, there are truly right and
wrong practices. Most claddings can be made to last if done properly. Not so
with roofing. 40 year or better is best for asphalt. Proper flashing is critical.
Using better quality of windows, cabinets, etc…anything that lasts and stays
out of landfill longer is good. Don‟t encourage cosmetic cover-ups. Problem
areas get worse with neglect, causing more damage, more money and filling the landfills more. Do it right.
6. Green Is Clean – It‟s been found that the majority of the dirt found with carpets in homes originates from out doors. That means it is preventable. Always bring „booties‟ on visits to sites. Bring extra for subcontractors or potential clients. Have furnaces checked professionally. Older duct work
should be professionally cleaned before resale. Whole house should be too. Check behind covers of water baseboard heat. They work by convection as well as radiation. So air blows under unit, through the fins into the room. If dirty, they bring the germs with it. Think about cleaning products too. Check up on „Green‟ cleaning or eco friendly etc. About 1 in 20 Americans have a form of chemical sensitivity. So great care should be used when cleaning.
7. Green Is Verifiable – If you are going to make the claim that you or your
product is Green, you better be able to prove it. For the home, you can verify performance in energy performance by using a BPI energy auditor. With a performance audit in hand you can make certain claims. Beware of claims by manufacturers jumping on the Green bandwagon. In truth, almost no product is truly Green. But according to the advertising world, almost every product today magically turned Green. My advice is not to make claims you can‟t
verify. Choose your words carefully. Some examples: Bamboo flooring- renewable, yes. No need to cut trees, yes. Green? maybe! It mostly comes from China. Big transportation costs charged against the environment. Their EPA is not nearly as strict as ours. Use of urea formaldehyde glue is still common. Their prefinished product also may contain VOC‟s. Some
companies are starting to comply. Do your homework. How about vinyl siding? Green for longevity, yes for the most part. But the process of making it is nasty, and not a good recyclable product. So it is Green with qualifications. Same for fiber cement siding, etc...
8. Green Is Costly Today – But will for the most part, be less expensive for the future. Less costly in health related problems due to poor IAQ. Less money for energy cost. Less impact on environment. Done right, Green is more than cost effective.
9. Green Is Big Thinking - “In it for the long haul” thinking, “It‟s not all about
me” thinking. There are very few short cuts to Green thinking that I know of. Most take a lot of effort and a little to a lot of money. All with their eye on the future. All in all a paradigm shift for many of us. Our current energy and financial problems will be eased as more people choose „Green‟ thinking.
10. Green Takes A Lot of Studying – Follow up on claims. Ask around (as you
are doing with your panel today!) Following are some books and websites, recommended for you. Study up. There‟ll be a quiz tomorrow( and everyday
from now on).