Home with solar panels

“Going green” is a phrase that is heard almost everywhere.

Aaccording to four local homebuilders, going green in a home isn’t as difficult as it may seem because many homes come with green options.

“We’re trying to be more energy efficient with our heating and cooling, insulation, windows, appliances and lighting options,” said Rodney Simon, second-generation owner of Simcon Homes. “More and more customers are asking for these options. Sometimes it gets a little pricey but we want to give them the option on how far they want to take that. Ultimately, we like to work with the customers to see what they’d like to do.”

Simon said that his company has options to help make the building and living process greener. These options include low VOC paint, which lowers the level of toxic emissions from paint, LED lighting and energy star rated appliances. “We also use recycled products as much as we can,” he said. “It helps to keep the waste out of the landfills and doubles as useful in the homes.”

Cameron Orlean, vice president of Orlean Enterprises, said for Edgewood Trace, a townhouse project in Pepper Pike that was built by Orlean Enterprises, they’re using a few different green building products.

“Energy star certified is a huge thing,” he said. “And also LED lighting across the board is a huge thing. It’s great for the environment and when it comes down to it, it’s the same price for regular lighting. We’re also using cement that is designed to look like wood but we’re not killing trees in the process.”

Orlean said that as a homebuilder, he feels some responsibility to the environment to be sustainable.

“Obviously, when building homes and offices, you’re using a lot of nonrenewable sources,” Orlean said. “It’s not just building homes but it’s also sustaining the environment.”

For Pat Perrino, president of Perrino Custom Homes in Mayfield Heights, the notion of sustainability rings true throughout the company from in their office to using sustained lumber or wood substitutions.

“It really depends on (the customers’) budget,” Perrino said. “Most of your products that you buy today are already energy efficient. But if you want to go above and beyond, we have that capability depending on the cost and what makes sense.”

Perrino said that for the future of going green, he thinks solar energy could be a big part of helping the environment.

“I see the numbers dropping in solar panels but solar shingles are being developed too,” he said. “Most people don’t want huge (solar panels) so a solar shingle could be a huge development. It really depends on where technology is going to take us in the future.”

According to Randy Kertesz, founder of Kertes Enterprises in Woodmere, being a green builder must also start by being a green developer. Along with making sure the environment isn’t displaced while building, Kertesz said that the homes are typically packed with green technology and fixtures.

“When we get into the homes, we’re using low maintenance economical materials,” he said. “Part of this is not just making the earth healthier but also your home healthier. The shingles on the home are also reflective shingles that reduce heat.”

Kertesz said a large part of being a green builder is to make sure that the home is sustainable for generations. Many times, you see older homes being gutted out and redone because they begin to pose problems. Designing and building homes with the future in mind is a way to get ahead and save money in the long run.

“All of our homes include pre-wiring for electric and hybrid cars because eventually, everyone will have them,” he said. “We also pre-pipe for solar energy. It’s about preparing for the future.”

Most importantly, Kertesz said that in order to be efficient in homebuilding and saving the environment, one needs to educate themselves.

“First thing a builder needs to do is get educated so you can take an active role with your customer,” he said. “That way, you can make sure what is being constructed meets your clients’ needs and you’re building for those future renovations.”

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