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Educating on Green Technologies at Atlanta's Kruger Sustainability Group

By Elisha Neubauer

As green technologies and practices begin to make their way into our everyday lives, a need for training and education arises within colleges and technical schools. The Kruger Sustainability Group provides just that?education of green building training, consulting, and curriculum developments to colleges, companies, and nonprofit organizations.

Abe Kruger, founder of Kruger Sustainability Group, has always been enticed by green technologies and practices. "From an early age, I was drawn to construction and the environment," Kruger explained. "While in undergrad at Oberlin College I learned the global need for green building and studied many of the strategies and technologies that into such structures. In my first job at Southface, an Atlanta based nonprofit, I really learned about the construction process and received hands-on experience."

After leaving Southface, Kruger went to work for one of the largest waterproofing contractors in southeast. "The company was committed to keeping structures dry though high-performance moisture management systems," he continues. "I managed the growing green building inspection and certification services." Kruger attributes this work to his desire to start his own company in 2009. "And ultimately co-founding SK Collaborative with Carl Seville in 2013," Kruger admits.

Green technology and practices is still fairly new in relation to today's construction practices, so many are unaware of the benefits and there are quite a few misconceptions still arising in public opinion. While chatting with Kruger, we decided to ask what he felt were some of the public misunderstandings regarding his work.

"Many consumers still assume that green building is cost prohibitive," he details. "There are two issues with this assumption. First, the majority of homes are neither built to minimum energy code nor manufacturers' instructions." Kruger explains to us that, compared to the majority of standard construction, green building may cost more, but that's because it complies with laws, codes, and proper product installation.

"Which most construction does not," he states. "Green building is actually mostly about getting the details right and building a high quality structure." His second point involves return on investment. "While return on investment (ROI) is both very simple to understand and calculate, it's actually not a very good metric for new construction," says Kruger. "ROI is calculated by taking dividing the incremental costs by the incremental utility savings to give you the time period for payback. The problem is that most homeowners don't purchase a home with cash; instead they have finance the purchase with a mortgage."

He goes on, explaining that a better way to analyze ROI is to look at the incremental costs to borrow the extra money compared to the utility savings.

"When done right, green buildings can reduce the total cost of ownership, utilities plus mortgage- per month to generate positive cash flow for the homeowners compared to your typical construction," he affirms.

Whether the general public understands it or not, green building practices is becoming a standard in the construction industry. Newly built and renovated homes are beginning to integrate both green and smart technologies within the frames of the construction. "Homes are increasingly becoming 'smart' with appliances communicating with each other," Kruger says. "These appliances can both perform better and save consumers money. Exciting products like ground source heat pumps and solar panels are readily available and coming down in price, however, they should only be included in a project that first takes care of all the less glamorous details of construction, like insulation and air sealing and proper HVAC design."

Kruger Sustainability Group is focused on training homeowners, contractors, builders, and design professionals in order to bring knowledge and understanding of green technologies and practices to both the industry and the general public. "We also develop curriculum for colleges, universities, and other organizations," explains Kruger. "We publicize new information on our website and email newsletter."

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About The Author

Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

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