AES changes name to GreenHome Institute to better reflect services, partnerships

Last week, the Grand Rapids-based nonprofit Alliance for Environmental Sustainability announced it has changed its name to GreenHome Institute to more accurately represent its mission and services. 

Brett Little is executive director of GreenHome Institute and said the name change is also part of an added focus on connecting with existing homeowners and small-time remodelers directly versus just the larger development companies, architectural firms and design firms typically represented in the new construction market they've worked primarily with in the past few years. 

"Often times most of our constituents were architects, developers and designers, which was a great, but we decided, maybe three years ago, to make an impact on the millions of existing homes – which, quite honestly, are doing the most damage in terms of wasting energy, carbon emissions, poor indoor air quality, etc.," Little says. 

Another piece of the transformation into GreenHome Institute is for plain old clarity's sake. AES, though more technical than GreenHome Institute, doesn't roll off the tongue quite as well. 

"Part of it is that nobody can even say our (old) name," Little says. "They couldn't repeat it back to us. So, we wanted to something that, again, focused on the existing homes and shows that we have the programs to help them." 

Along with the name change, GreenHome Institute has announced a new partnership with Blue House Energy, a Canadian online training program, to provide detailed, animated training for home performance contractors on weatherization strategies for existing and new homes. 

"What we have is a major issue on our hands with subcontractors or even remodelers that know or even understand the house as a system, if you will, and how all the components of the home work together to make that home more energy efficient and healthy," he says, adding that the animation-based learning program takes students into the house, pulls it apart piece by piece, and goes into detailed modules for explanation. 

Some of the courses can even be used as continued education credits at organizations like the Building Institute, American Institute of Architects and the U.S. Green Building Council. Little says in states like Michigan, where maintaining a builder's license requires continuing education, this could be particularly useful. 

Visit GreenHome Institute online for more information about the organization, their partnerships and its new Green Affordable Housing Training Program they will to launch next fall thanks to a $20,000 Wege Foundation grant. 

Written by Anya Zentmeyer, Development News Editor
Images courtesy of GreenHome Institute 
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