With so many ‘green’ products and companies to choose from when upgrading or building a home, it can be hard to know where to start. Area home builders and installers spoke with LN about the best ways to make a home more environmentally friendly.

Jeff Day and Associates

We’re seeing a lot more quartz countertops in lieu of granite. Quartz is manmade and doesn’t off-gas (or emit) poisons like granite does. We can also get quartz right here in America, whereas granite almost always comes from China, so the shipping creates a bigger carbon footprint. Now you can get quartz in any number of looks, whether you prefer contemporary, traditional, or even marble. -Jeff Day

R.E.A. Homes

For new or existing homes, adding solar panels can make a huge difference. Panels put up today can last for 20 to 25 years with almost no maintenance. There is a federal tax credit through 2016 as an incentive for people to install the panels, and other systems like geothermal heat pumps, in their homes. I have the panels on my home, and for every kilowatt the system produces, that’s less energy used. –Jeff Bogard

Mosby Building Arts

The green movement has become more about consumerism and new, shiny things. Doing it right the first time is real sustainability. We pull out tons of new products that were shipped from across the ocean and installed incorrectly by someone else, and then we have to take them to the dump. Invest in the trade skills, knowledge, experience, industry standing and reputation of a good installation and building company. Buildings that last for a long time don’t wind up in a landfill. –Scott Mosby

Fischer Window and Door Store

Replacing a home’s windows and making sure they’re properly installed is an easy way to update a home to be more energy efficient. Windows with a fiberglass frame and sash offer a long-term, predictable performance. Because the fiberglass is made of the same properties as the glass, there’s very little chance for seal failure and stress cracks. There are also different types of glazing systems for better performance, blocking ultraviolet rays and getting the benefits of the sun for heating during winter months. –John O’Brien

More Special Features articles.