Home Made

Thinking about a remodel? Tired of your circa-1985 kitchen? Want to jazz up your walls or have the house all your friends are talking about? We’ve consulted the experts, tracked down the craftspeople, crunched the numbers, and shared our own DIY stories. Ready, set, renovate.

April 2012

The Green Builder

Scott Rodwin: president, Rodwin Architecture and Skycastle Homes

We know, we know…greening your home is so trendy, it’s not trendy anymore. That doesn’t make it less important. LEED-certified, award-winning green building expert Scott Rodwin can take your home from a resource-sucking vacuum to an efficient, sustainable system that leaves a fraction of its current carbon footprint. Rodwin has worked in the green building field for nearly 20 years and has witnessed the evolution of the concept. “The trend is irreversible,” Rodwin says. “Folks of all political stripes are recognizing this. For architects, we’re realizing we’re able to deliver more value to clients.”

Rodwin and his team, who teach residential sustainable-building workshops (catch “Understanding the Rules for Building and Remodeling Homes in Boulder” on May 8 in Boulder), specialize in what he calls “deep green custom homes,” or remodeling and building with energy efficiency, resource conservation, and environmental quality in mind. That means complying with metrics like HERS (Home Energy Rating System)—most 30- to 40-year-old homes in the Denver-Boulder area are 50 percent over an acceptable HERS score— and helping you meet other certifications such as the EPA’s Energy Star or Water Sense programs.

More specifically, Rodwin can solve problems with both your housing “envelope” (foundation, walls, windows, roof) and indoor air quality. For example, simple projects like adding insulation, replacing leaky windows, and weather stripping are high-impact fixes; and choosing NAF (no added formaldehyde) finishes, nontoxic paints, and switching out a synthetic carpet for a natural wool rug with jute backing can minimize the harmful particles in the air you breathe. Rodwin also designs with “embodied energy”—the amount of energy required to extract, manufacture, and dispose of a material such as granite or cement—in mind. Your house may never end up at net zero, but Rodwin will tell you every step counts. “The field is changing so fast, it’s amazing,” Rodwin says. “And we’re at the bleeding edge of the trend.”

Typical client: Young eco-savvy couples having children and considering family health; families and retirees with the resources to build the most responsible dream home possible.

Price range: Rodwin’s services start around $2,000 (smaller DIY green projects can start at $100).

More info: rodwinarch.com or skycastle homes.com; find a clearinghouse of Colorado’s incentives and tax rebates for home energy fixes at DSIREusa.org.