We’ve written previously about the push for “green” or sustainable building and the rising trends. Many of you have asked, where does the contractor fit in?

While there is truth that the architect and the owner usually make the choice on how green a building is going to be and what (if any) LEED certification they’re going for, contractors play an important role too.

There are a few stops along the way that you have a major influence on. First, you know the product and how it works into the structure of a home. If you’re used to working with one brand and they develop a product that has less environmental impact, you’ll be able to suggest an alternative during the bidding stage of the project.

From there, you are likely going to be the person picking out and picking up the materials. You can talk with the store to see what options are available for your specific set of plans. When it comes to LEED certifications, every detail is essential. If a subcontractor picks up some material and the General Contractor cannot trace back where the product came from, the certification can be denied. In this case, you would have to resubmit the entire material’s package documenting that the proper products are being used.

Once on the job, there are many tools at your disposal for keeping your project green. For starters, you can swap out any old bulbs for LED systems. While yes, you may be slightly paying more for the initial bulb to start, they will last for years longer and lessen the project’s environmental effects.

If you’re building a new home with solar, you can install that first and run that power on the job. This works as a test of the system and saves on-the-job costs.

Whether you’re building a house from the ground-up or repairing a HVAC system, there are simple steps and adjustments you can make to please not only the environment, but the customer and the budget as well.

As we hear of new techniques to try, we’ll be sharing them here for anyone to test out! If you have some ideas, leave them in the comments below and let’s start a conversation!