Thursday, October 15, 2009

Choosing a Builder Who Saw Our Vision

Once final house plans were in hand, we needed to pick a builder to get the project rolling. Initially, we combed the internet for anyone with previous LEED-certified or green building experience. We wrote down the names of the couple (really, just two!) builders we found and asked our realtor for other recommendations. When he came back to us with a list 10-deep, we researched some more, called around, then met in person with four builders and corresponded via phone and e-mail with another three.

Why did we end up speaking with so many people? Believe it or not, we actually had some builders “drop out” once they heard of our green house plans and budget. We’d meet or talk with someone, and then as soon as we mentioned our eco-conscious approach, they had reservations. Never mind that building green is here to stay and demand will continue to rise in the next few years!

This was another frustrating experience for us. It was difficult to convince someone who had built a certain way all their lives that building an out-of-the-ordinary home would put them on the map. Especially when the builder didn’t want the “hassle” of dealing with a third-party certification program if we pursued LEED certification. I was shocked at the lack of desire (of some) to take on a project that was different, yet would certainly help secure future business. As you could have guessed, this also affected us receiving many and varied quotes for the project.

But our experience ends on a positive note! The builder we ultimately chose to do business with sees the future in green too. They’re actually working to build a biodiesel plant (a nontoxic renewable fuel made from natural sources such as vegetable oils) and were eager to tackle our green project. They said they’d go through the LEED process if we wanted to pursue it and appointed a professional to deal specifically with the green aspects of our project.

We’re excited to call Presby Construction our builder—and we haven’t even broken ground yet!


  1. I want you to know that a successful green home builder , Al Rossetto, lives in Lancaster,N.H. He has helped many owner builders.

  2. Hello Anonymous! We actually printed that article out and brought it with us to the first meeting with our architect! I didn't realize he was actually located in NH. He didn't come up in our search for local builders, either. Thanks for the info!