It’s been said that green is the new black, but if you are still feeling in the dark about energy efficiency and sustainability, Minnesota GreenStar may have a solution for you.
Minnesota GreenStar is a nonprofit organization that specializes in standards and certification for green building and offers classes in remodeling, building and conservation.
In order to have their remodeling or building project certified “green,” homeowners or builders must first attend Minnesota GreenStar’s project registration workshop. The eight-hour session includes an interactive mock project list and provides examples of practical building practices. The cost is $350 per person.
For those interested in learning more who don’t want to fork over that much cash, Minnesota GreenStar offers courses at every level, from basic to advanced.
Janneke Schaap, technical specialist for Minnesota GreenStar, recommends the Green Building Principles + Energy Efficient Application course. This basic class teaches homeowners five principles of green building and remodeling and costs $39. Course attendees learn energy efficiency, resource efficiency, water conservation, indoor environmental quality, and site and community impact. For experience, participants also work on a real Minnesota GreenStar certified project.
“The big picture of green building can be incredibly confusing and these classes enable the homeowner to put the pieces together,” Schaap said.
Other classes include Geothermal 101 for Homeowners and Builders, Green Homes for Realtors 101 and Residential Building Codes for Green Homes.
Pauline Marlinski of KMA Design and Construction has taken the Green Building Principles + Energy Efficient Application course to prepare for a home show in Mankato, and said courses such as this can be valuable because they help homeowners hold builders accountable.
Several classes Minnesota GreenStar offers are approved for continuing education credit by the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry.
Classes to be held in the near future include Green Remodeling for the Do-It-Yourself Homeowner, which offers a better understanding of the certification process. High Performance Foundations and Basements for Cold Climates is geared toward homeowners who struggle with one of the toughest areas of the house in our climate.
“We hope homeowners use the valuable resources we’ve created to proactively educate themselves, their families and their neighbors to make smarter, informed and environmentally sustainable choices,” Schaap said.
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