A First for Greensboro, NC: Greenspiration Home Achieves LEED Certification

The Greenspiration Home in Greensboro, NC has earned Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The custom-built home of Trish Holder and Mark Raines is the first LEED-certified home in Greensboro, and in the Piedmont Triad region of North Carolina. The home is one of just a handful of LEED certified homes in the entire state.

Trish Holder, a professional writer and marketing consultant for the commercial HVAC industry, acted as the LEED project manager throughout the process. The Holder-Raines couple registered the home for LEED certification in October 2008 while it was under construction. They have been living in the home with their two children since it was completed in January 2009.

“LEED certification was always a goal, but not necessarily a priority. Work, kids, and life had a way of taking precedence,” Holder says.

LEED Requirements Prove Challenging
Part of Holder’s goal included being the first single family home to be LEED certified in the Piedmont Triad, an area that includes three of North Carolina’s major cities, Greensboro, High Point, and Winston Salem. Holder never dreamed that after four years they would still manage to be first, but a prevailing lack of consumer awareness about LEED and a weak construction market helped to hold their place in line.

Even if the awareness was there, few builders or homeowners were willing to strive for the difficult LEED home standards. LEED certification requires the involvement of multiple parties who take on key roles in the certification process. This includes an accredited green rater who has direct exposure to the project, and a LEED for Homes Provider organization that serves as the liaison between the green rater and the USGBC to make sure all documentation is in certifiable order.

“Four years ago, these entities were few and far between, and those that had been approved for the practice were just getting their ‘LEED legs’,” Holder says “It made for a lot of missteps along the way. We’d think we understood a strategy, only to find out that we didn’t do one little thing right, and we’d have to redo it in order to get the LEED points. That was frustrating, and in some cases expensive.”

Green Building Advice From One Homeowner to Others
While Holder frequently put LEED certification on the back burner, developing Greenspiration Home into an educational resource for homeowners became a high priority, if not an obsession. Over the last few years she’s given hundreds of personally guided tours of her home, speaking candidly about her experiences building green, both good and bad. Holder has also appeared at numerous events, including the National Association of Environmental Law Societies (NAELS) Conference, hosted by Vermont Law School.

Of primary importance has been Greenspirationhome.com, an online publication she and her husband designed to help homeowners navigate the green building/renovating process.

“It’s like Better Homes & Gardens, only more technical and without the recipes,” Holder says of the online publication. Its content includes anecdotal lessons about everything from a home’s heating and cooling system to sustainable floor coverings. Informed guest bloggers write about their own personal green building and renovating experiences. The site gets thousands of visitors each month, many of whom return again and again.

“We get great feedback – especially from women who appreciate the fact that we’re giving them real information, not just fluff. But we’re doing it in a manner they can relate to. That’s something no one has ever done before.”

It is a fitting distinction given that the LEED certification process of the Greenspiration Home was instigated and driven by the actual homeowner.

“Getting LEED certified is gratifying because we worked so hard to get here. But this house, and all we have done with it to educate consumers, far exceeds what will be inscribed on a plaque,” said Holder.

The LEED for Homes certification program provides the framework for independent, third-party verification that a particular home complies with the LEED for Homes Green Building Rating System as developed by the US Green Building Council.

Linc Network Acquires ABM Facility Solutions

Linc Network, LLC, a subsidiary of ABM Facility Solutions, has acquired the franchise operations of TEGG Corporation, an expansive network delivering comprehensive electrical service and preventive and predictive maintenance solutions to commercial and industrial facilities.

TEGG’s franchise network, concentrated mainly in North America, spans 19 countries— expanding ABM’s international reach, increasing its service network and supporting the Company’s vision of becoming the global leader in integrated facility solutions.

“TEGG is a perfect fit for ABM,” says Scott Giacobbe, President of ABM Building and Energy Solutions. “Our business philosophies, strategies, processes and commitment to clients are very similar. This allows us to quickly leverage TEGG’s proven service product and delivery method to broaden ABM’s existing vertical and geographic market offerings by increasing the services, geographic presence, and added value we bring to our clients.”

Giacobbe adds that the acquisition will help to strategically position ABM to expand its electrical services offerings, complements its existing mechanical footprint, and will help it provide clients with more comprehensive solutions to meet and exceed their facility needs.

Go Above and Beyond— National Comfort Institute Sets ‘Meet at Comfortech’ Schedule

National Comfort Institute is inviting HVAC contractors to meet during Mechanical Systems Week for two days of learning and idea sharing.

“Above & Beyond” is the theme, and the focus will be on ways HVAC contractors can stand apart from the competition. Topics will include:

  • Beyond Compliance
  • Beyond Box Selling
  • Beyond “Me-Too” Marketing
  • Beyond 2% Net Profit.

The NCI general session kicks it all off from 1:00 PM-2:00 PM on Tuesday, Sept. 18. Workshops will run from 2:00 PM until 5:00 PM, followed by an “NCI Meets” Welcome Reception.

On the morning of Wednesday, Sept. 19, a 7:00 breakfast will be followed by informational workshops, from 8:00 AM until 10:45 AM.

Following a one-hour closing general session, individual coaching sessions will be provided from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM.

Contact National Comfort Institute with questions, at 800/633-7058.

RSES Relocates Offices

Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES) will relocate its corporate headquarters to Rolling Meadows, IL from Des Plaines, IL, June 14-15.

RSES’s new address will be: 1911 Rohlwing Rd., Suite A, Rolling Meadows, IL 60008-1397.

“Operating and maintenance costs of our longtime home have continued to climb—and RSES can occupy more practical office space for less than what was paid in 2010 real estate taxes,” says RSES Executive Vice President Mark Lowry. All phone and fax numbers, e-mail addresses, and other communication channels will remain the same.

“Although our physical location will now be Rolling Meadows, some addresses, such as our P.O. Box, will be in neighboring Arlington Heights, due to ongoing location consolidation by the U.S. Postal Service,” Lowry says.

APPOINTMENTS

Environmental Systems Design, Inc., (ESD), Chicago, IL, has promoted Jacob Huske, Craig Kos, Andrew Lehrer, and Cierine Nicolas from senior associates to vice presidents.

Huske is a technical leader in ESD’s mission critical facilities group. He is responsible for designing some of the most complicated technical areas of electrical engineering, including protective coordination and arc flash analysis, as well as fault tolerant design.

Kos has played a key role on ESD’s health, science and institutional team and is currently the regional healthcare market sector lead.

Lehrer is a leader and technical resource in the Commercial & International markets.

Nicolas is a senior electrical engineer, multi-discipline technical coordinator and project manager for ESD’s International and Special Projects design team. esdesign.com

Tweet/Garot Mechanical, Inc., Green Bay, WI, has named Christopher R. Howald vice president, administration. His responsibilities at Tweet/Garot will involve managing and directing corporate functions, including safety & risk management, accounting, contract administration, human resources, legal, and marketing. tweetgarot.com

Air Conditioning Contractors of America’s (ACCA’s) Building Performance Council (BPC) announced that Brendan Reid, CEO of Comfort Institute, has joined the BPC advisory committee. ACCA’s BPC was formed in March to serve the HVAC industry’s building performance sector.

THIS MONTH IN CB HISTORY...

2000: In this issue, we featured an article on sales by Mark Matteson. In the article, Matteson listed many questions HVAC salespeople should be able to answer. Among them:

  • “How many calls do you make each week to new prospects?”
  • “What percentage of those calls were cold calls?”
  • “What cold calling insights could you offer?”
  • “How many proposals do you generate per week?”
  • “How many hours a week do you work?”
  • “How do you bounce back from the adversity and rejection that comes with a sales job?”

“Lifelong learning must be a top priority,” Matteson wrote. “Seminars, workshops, conversations with mentors, books, recordings, and distance learning via the Internet are all excellent resources.”