Shep Greene didn't set out to be a builder. After graduating from Colgate University, he began work at CBS News as a writer-producer. On weekends, he spent long hours fixing up his first home, a 1700's farmhouse in southern Connecticut. Then, after two careers (AT&T & global account software sales management), and 3 more whole-house renovations, he decided to make a change. "My love for renovating old houses to make them better than ever, better than new, fell together with my love for the environment & energy & resource conservation," says Greene. So he launched The Somerset Hills HandyMan & Co. in 2001.
Whether he's renovating old homes, adding on, or repairing, Greene uses green building practices wherever possible to preserve old houses and to construct environmentally friendly, energy efficient modern homes that are healthy new spaces with greater market value. "Not everyone wants or can afford geo-thermal heating & cooling," he says, "but every home can use energy more efficiently. We help our clients select building materials that are manufactured from resources that do not rape the planet of non-renewable trees & or pollute your home's internal air quality. Everyone can use Compact Florescent Lighting (CFL's) to save $100's yearly on their electric bill (and cut energy consumption to generate power by JCP&L and others)." He also insulates everything he does to the hilt, uses sustainable/recyclable materials like Trex decking, Azek trim boards, cork flooring & Marmoleum (natural linoleum) and recycles everything he can -- asphalt shingles, concrete, old lumber, copper & glass and cardboard.
Clients understand the equation: Select the right green building materials, select the builder who knows how to build green, and the home will be healthier, happier, and gain more in value. Clients love the approach and see the value in being diligent about using good insulation, energy efficient appliances, windows & doors. For our company, going green also means limiting waste," says Greene. "Sometimes we can use "SIP's"; often we can use radiant heating; sometimes we can recycle wood from older homes. Very often, we can suggest sustainable materials like Silestone or Corian or Quartzstone countertops made from recycled glass.
But perhaps the strongest selling point of a green home is that they're often healthier. Since these homes are built more tightly than drafty older homes, Greene installs systems to bring in and filter fresh air. He also uses paints that are low in volatile organic compounds (VOC's), and avoid the carpeting, adhesives and varnishes that often give new homes their distinctive smell (and associated health problems). His green additions and modular remodels cut energy usage and cost because they use efficient; spray-on foam insulation, which fills and seals wall cavities better than the fiber glass used in most residential construction. So do multi-zone heating systems and super efficient water heaters and kitchen appliances Greene uses in remodels.
Green homes also are more efficient; spray-on foam insulation, which fills and seals wall cavities better than the fiber glass used in most residential construction, cuts demand for gas and oil heat. So does multi-zone heating systems and super efficient water heaters and kitchen appliances.
“Whether your home is new, old, or in between, whether you are repairing or remodeling it,” Greene says, “you can use green building approaches to save resources, money, energy & create a healthier environment for your family.”
“Thought you might like to know that I've had many compliments about the deck from the neighbors and I was more than happy to pass along your name. Hope you get some benefit. I thought it turned out really well in the end and it looks great from all angles.” — Gerry McShane, Bernardsville