The American Society of Interior Designers’ Foundation (ASID) and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) partnered on the development of the guidelines and targeted educational resources for sustainable residential improvement projects.
“REGREEN brings together information for a variety of practitioners, trades people, and homeowners in a way that didn’t exist before,” says Thom Banks, deputy executive director of ASID. “It contains information that is organized and presented in a truly useful manner and applicable for those diverse audiences. In the process, it expands awareness of sustainable building principles, putting [them] in practical terms that everyone can understand.”
In 2008, the Energy Programs Consortium estimated U.S. homes consumed 22 percent of the nation’s energy and caused 20 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. Approximately 82 percent (as projected by the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2007 data) of the current housing stock will still be in use in 10 years, confirming the need to green our existing housing stock to achieve carbon reduction goals according to the USGBC.
Although the guidelines are primarily used by building professionals like interior designers, architects, and contractors, REGREEN also offers approachable content and layout, making the document an essential resource for savvy homeowners and do-it-yourselfers.
The guidelines are organized by project type—kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, deep energy retrofit, among others.
GREEN FROM THE START
Think about the big picture! Regardless of the type of project, take a whole-house approach. Green building encompasses all systems in the house working together to reduce the environmental impact.
Begin by developing comprehensive planning steps:
The client interview starts with open-ended questions to determine reasons for the renovation (vision, concerns, budget, timeline, etc.).
Building assessment takes into account the building-site interfaces including climate, home performance, mechanical systems, and interior spaces.
Systems-integrated team building is a collaborative approach to the design and construction of the project. Work together toward common goals, creating a positive synergy.
A cost-benefit analysis reveals the sustaining value that green building brings to the overall project goals and objectives.
Code and zoning issues management is a proactive approach to complying with municipal codes or neighborhood covenants.
Now focus on your “project type,” where the guidelines help zero in on the scope of your remodeling project(s). Within each of the project types there are three major elements to consider:
Integrated predesign issues offer the greatest opportunities for reducing environmental impacts by asking key questions. Consider environmental strategies for all systems in the home including HVAC, plumbing, and electrical.
Project scope and strategy lists are organized by building system or sequence of remodeling.
Project case studies provide an inspirational glimpse of successful projects.
Included in the guidelines is an amazing library of nearly 200 green remodeling strategies organized by environmental topic—along with images, references, and resources.
The green product checklist provides features of a sustainable product and the company that produces it, allowing you to ask informed questions before specifying a product. A green product directory of websites provides reliable research sources.
Both ASID and USGBC have launched educational programs offering various levels of learning opportunities through webcasts, presentations, and workshops. Look for the first version of the enhanced website around November 1, prior to USGBC’s annual Greenbuild in Phoenix, AZ, November 11-13.
Jennifer Owens, LEED AP and manager of residential education programs for the USGBC, shares her excitement: “The website itself is a very exciting step forward. It will be highly interactive and loaded with additional residential retrofit case studies and resources. The other great evolution occurring in the REGREEN Program currently is the massive expansion of educational programs,” including three online webinars and a two-day REGREEN workshop, she says.
Developing the guidelines has been a wonderful example of an integrated project approach.
“[The ASID/USGBC collaboration] has brought together the leading organizations for interior design and green building around a project for which both perceive tremendous value,” says Banks. “In the process, I think USGBC has gained a greater understanding of what interior designers really do; the importance of their work, and its impact (and potential impact) upon the ‘greenness’ of the built environment. From the ASID side… we’ve certainly benefited from USGBC’s tremendous reputation and credibility in the marketplace as ‘the source’ for green building information.”
REGREEN is available to renters and owners alike.
For more information, send an e-mail to email@example.com.
Annette K. Stelmack, LEED Accredited Professional, award-winning green interior designer, and nationally recognized design leader, author, educator, and sustainability consultant, is founder and principal of Inspirit-LLC, based in Louisville, CO. Resource List WEBSITES regreenprogram.org asid.org greenhomeguide.org/guide_for_green_renovation/index.html greenbuildingadvisor.com greenbuildexpo.org BOOKS
Green Building & Remodeling for Dummies by Eric Corey Freed (2008, Wiley Publishing
Green Remodeling—Changing the World One Room at a Time, by David R. Johnston and Kim Master (2004, New Society Publishers)
Sustainable Residential Interiors by Associates III – Foster/Stelmack/Hindman(2006, Wiley & Sons)