Reprinted with permission - Traverse City Business News - April 2009 [ Click Here to Download Full Article ]
…and continuing to grow
Burkholder Construction, one of northern Michigan’s oldest custom home builders and a local pioneer in green building, is poised to meet today’s eco-conscious consumers.
For more than 50 years, the name Burkholder has stood for outstanding craftsmanship and a commitment to customer satisfaction. In the mid-1990’s, the company innovated when it built Traverse City’s first American Lung Association “Health House,” a model for healthy, green living.
“What is now called “green” has been part of our basic building philosophy since that project” said President Marc Burkholder. “We are committed to serving our customers by building high quality, low maintenance, energy efficient structures that last. To us, that’s not new, innovative, or even expensive.”
“There’s much that we can do today with new homes and retrofit projects applying green building principles…even in this challenging economy,” he continued.
Among the areas where Burkholder can help customers advance “green thinking” are indoor air quality, energy efficiency and sustainability. An initial investment into energy saving strategies such as improved insulation systems, sealing existing ductwork, and through the use of CFL’s (compact fluorescence light bulbs) can pay for themselves with lower basic heating and electrical costs. Indoor air quality and sustainability can be address with the use of FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) lumber, reclaimed woods, dual flush toilets as well as low flow plumbing fixtures, low VOC (volatile organic compound) paints and finishes, and many other building products.
Burkholder notes that dozens of customers recently have remodeled and taken advantage of these energy efficient principles and products…and many could now realize tax deductions as well.
The Burkholder team stresses the importance of overall planning, educating customers about green techniques and looking at the home as a “system” so that every aspect is integrated and works together optimally.
“Every project and every homeowner is unique,” Burkholder said. “We meet with every homeowner to understand what they are looking for in a home and how they anticipate the building process to progress. We review their plans and specifications and from these initial meetings we work with each client to find the best balance to meet their goals and expectations.”
The commitment to eco-friendly building has been a natural evolution.
“Over the years, we’ve educated ourselves on the latest processes and products that can benefit our clients as well as help reduce the overall impact building makes on the environment,” Burkholder said, noting the importance that every employee participates in continuing education and skill development.
“When we built the Health House, those concepts were very new to northern Michigan” he added. “Today, it’s becoming the norm. We were glad to be a part of introducing green projects to the region, and we’re just as energized by all the momentum now.”
Burkholder expanded its eco-friendly focus four years ago when it created GreenCrest Homes, a branch of Burkholder Construction. GreenCrest focuses on blending precision technology and strict quality control to craft unique custom built homes that are built indoors and finished onsite. The systems built vs. stick built strategy allows for more efficient use of resources, better recycling and waste management, and reduced impact from weather and other factors. And, all GreenCrest homes can be qualified by the Energy Star label.
According to Scott Wright, GreenCrest Sales Manager and Burkholder Project Manager, the commitment to quality, planning and personal service stretches throughout both companies.
“We’re selling quality, energy efficiency and long term sustainability,” he said, noting that their company’s philosophy is to help educate clients in order to prevent “greenwashing” or more simply said the use of a product that may be termed eco-friendly but might not integrate well with the rest of the project or doesn’t meet a customer’s overall goals. “We’re committed to developing a program that looks at each project, each house, as a system. And in that system each component must work together so that one product does not diminish the other.”
Members of the Burkholder Construction team have been involved in the U.S. Green Building Council, the American Indoor Air Quality Council, the American Lung Association Health House Advantage Builder program, the Home Builders Association Green Build program and the Energy Star Partner program. The team regularly shares its expertise by participating in Green Building courses through Northwestern Michigan College, and has served on its Energy Center Steering Committee.