Green Drinks hits Pepper's
The drinks are green Tuesday as Boone's environmentally savvy gather for their monthly meet-and-greet, this time at Pepper's Restaurant.
It's another installment of Green Drinks, the social outlet for area greenies, and this month's sponsor is area green consulting firm Building Performance Engineering.
"We're going to be telling people a little bit about what we do," BPE's Scott Sudderth said.
A big part of what they do is help builders certify their homes under the Energy Star label, verifying that the homes use 15 percent less energy than is allotted in the building code. A new focus, however, is in-home performance contracting.
"That's going to existing buildings and saving them energy and making them healthier," he said.
BPE is trying to meet marketing needs of the future by expanding its training program.
"What we're trying to do is take this national training concept and try to reintegrate it into the local market," he said.
The practice can also provide a much needed economic boost.
"We're trying to get the High Country's existing home market to start reacting to this process we teach," he said. "What that means is, builders up here who are slow can get more remodel work."
A big part of the plan is "point of sale audits."
"When someone comes to buy a home, we're trying to convince the Realtors to let us come look at the home with them," he said.
That way, they can talk to potential buyers directly, giving them a list of details that could add up to additional home savings. Then local builders can perform the upgrades.
"It enables the builders who are slow and don't have a lot of things happening to maybe get back into the market," he said.
And his company is already seeing success. Take Sunny Day Homes' Sam Zimmerman, speaker at last month's Green Drinks. He went from being just a "builder" to a greenie.
"Now he's got a thermal camera and some of these other tools we've shown him how to use ... that teach him forensics and how to solve problems with building science," Sudderth said.
He hopes this helps local builders compete in a market marred by recession.
"Our industry is growing in leaps and bounds right now, while the rest of the country is without work," he said. "Our industry is booming because what we do is a much safer type of construction from an economic standpoint."
Sudderth believes homes with environmental ratings sell better, and he'd like to get the local housing market in on the action.
"We're helping defy the odds of the recession and help turn it around and prepare for what's coming," he said.
What is coming?
"I think existing buildings will be the attention for the next 10 years," he said.
BPE is exactly the kind of thing people at Green Drinks need to be talking about, organizer Brian Crutchfield said.
After all, there are more than 50 local green certified professionals in the High Country.
"For homebuilders who are not doing green yet, this is a great way for them to learn about it," he said.
Fourteen Green Drinks groups exist in North Carolina. Seven-hundred cities worldwide host the networking events. Green Drinks happens from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Peppers Restaurant in the Shops at Shadowline. All are welcome to attend.