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The push for sustainable home renovations isn’t a new one. But as climate change evolves into an even more concerning situation, people are searching for ideas to limit waste and emissions during projects. That’s where an eco-friendly contractor comes into play. These experts can help clients make green choices from start to finish.
How do you know whether a contractor will actually follow through with eco-friendly promises? It’s key to keep an eye out for specific qualifications. Take a look at which qualities your contractor should have under their belt.
What Do Contractors Do?
If you’ve never hired someone to remodel your home, you might not know where to start. It’s smart to enlist help when you plan to complete larger projects, like a full-blown kitchen renovation, as you’d want a person with more expertise to knock down walls and install new countertops.
Typically, contractors will take over your renovation completely. The responsibilities can vary, but you can expect them to provide all materials, labor, tools, and equipment. These experts can also hire subcontractors who work under them to help complete your project.
The best contractors have some education and experience under their belts. However, you should pay attention to their work style, too. Here are a few points to consider before you hire a contractor, whether they’re eco-friendly or not:
- Do they have a license?
- How positive are their online reviews?
- Do they have insurance?
- What do their references have to say about them?
- Does their portfolio highlight jobs similar to what you want?
These questions should help you pick an ideal contractor. That said, you’ll need to do a bit more research to find one who prioritizes sustainability. It can be tricky to come across a contractor who doesn’t just see environmentalism as a trend to jump on.
The contractor you hire should have specific qualifications so you know they align with your project goals — and genuinely care about being eco-friendly.
1. Certifications and Memberships
Try to verify certifications or memberships your contractor highlights on their website. Here’s an example. The National Association of Home Builders offers a Certified Green Professional program that educates participants about green construction techniques. There are several other green programs available worldwide, too.
If you come across a contractor who lists similar credentials, you should check whatever organization they mention. It’s a smart way to see how their vision will align with yours. The contractor you hire doesn’t necessarily need to have taken special classes. However, you should research their credentials to see what their training involved.
2. Specific Products and Materials
Usually, contractors can give you a brief rundown regarding what products and materials they use. Here, you’ll want to look out for greenwashing. This process occurs when companies market eco-friendly claims to customers — but they don’t actually support sustainability through their actions. It’s a way to capitalize on consumers’ interests in green products.
Be sure to look past any flashy marketing tricks. Instead, you want to see whether a contractor uses energy-efficient water heaters, non-toxic paint products, and more. If you notice specific brand names you know are sustainable, you can take that as a positive sign. It’s even better to learn about what they used in past projects.
3. A Professional Contract
The best way to know whether a contractor is legitimate is to develop a contract. Every contractor job starts with a written agreement that highlights your project’s budget and goals. It also outlines your contractor’s role. These details immediately set expectations so you don’t encounter any misunderstandings later.
There should be a “services” section where you identify what you want your contractor to do. That’s where you can highlight specific sustainability goals. The contractor must complete your project in whichever way you desire. If they deviate from your deal, you can explore specific steps and solutions to recoup your money.
4. Positive Online Reviews
Most contractors have some kind of online presence, whether it’s a personal website or a Facebook profile. Browse their page to see how other clients felt about their work. The customer isn’t always right, but you should be able to gauge whether they have a positive reputation.
If you see several glowing reviews, you can rest assured they’re likely a smart pick. Be sure to read at least a few to see what previous clients have to say. This information will give you some insight into what to expect. Of course, you should stay away from contractors who have numerous poor ratings.
5. Similar Project Experience
Would you hire someone who only knows how to paint to install carpet? The answer should be obvious. It’s essential to ensure your contractor has specific knowledge and sufficient skills to complete your project. That’s especially important when you want them to use eco-friendly practices.
Look at their portfolio to see their past project experience. If they’ve completed other sustainable renovations, you should be able to figure out what processes they used. For instance, they may have done a bathroom remodel where they installed a low-flow toilet, a tankless water heater, and a greywater system. This experience means they likely have sustainable priorities overall.
Remember to pick a contractor who already knows how to meet your goals in an environmentally-friendly way. It may be cheaper to hire someone with less experience, but you don’t want to end up with poor work quality. The lack of skill will cost more later — and your project won’t be sustainable, because you’ll create even more waste and emissions as you make repairs.
Remember These Points Before You Hire a Sustainable Contractor
The construction and demolition process creates 600 million tons of debris annually, so you can easily see why people want to hire sustainable contractors for their home renovations. That’s not to mention emissions generated through equipment use, material disposal, and other activities. It’s essential to keep climate change in mind as you fix up your house.
A person with professional eco-friendly construction knowledge can help you reach your project goals. As you look for someone with green techniques, you should remember these points. This way, you’ll be able to complete your project in a way that supports sustainability.