Shades of Green

passportBuilding green can be daunting for those of us who are new to the technologies, so Passport turned to building pro Steve Schappert for tips on how to navigate the process.

Not all green construction is created equally, which can make tackling a project a bit overwhelming. The most important elements of renovating green begin with you,” said Steve Schappert, founder and CEO of Buyer’s Trust Real Estate in Brookfield, Conn.  The first step is deciding if you want to lower energy costs and increase efficiency, create a nontoxic environment with natural building materials or achieve some combination of both. Mr. Schappert, who is a home broker and former contractor working on several green building projects in the greater Litchfield County, Conn., area, offers these tips to guide you through the process:

Do Your Homework

Make a wish list of everything you want to achieve with your home – don’t hold back. then asses your home, your needs and your wants and decide what is realistic on your budget. Give your house the equivalent of a physical exam and determine if deteriorated furnaces, siding, windows, shingles and foundations will need improving or replacement. “If your home is more than 30 years old, consider hiring a building inspector for an objective opinion,” Mr. Schappert said.

Visit Town Hall

Before you start any construction, consult  with the various town boards, including sanitation, wetlands and zoning. “If you build too close to your neighbor or your well, you may be forced to tear it down,” Mr. Schappert warned.

Get a sense of Scope

Figure out if you are willing to liaise between contractors or if you prefer to rely on  a project manager. Interview several contractors and request proposals from each. “Your mental health and the financial success of your project will depend on your ability to work as a team with your project manager or contractors,” Mr. Schappert Said “Shades if Green” appeared in the story “Gimme Shelter“. The Litchfield County Times, Passport Magazine.

Text by Julia Halewicz                                          Photos by Robin Gourd

Passport Magazine is a quarterly publication of the Litchfield County Times

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