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Energy Case Studies: Brian Larkowski, Contractor

Who knew everyday objects like windows and doors would start a flourishing green building business? Brian Larkowski got his start in the construction industry over 25 years ago, and never expected to find himself in the green building industry.

After becoming a contractor in 1992, Brian noticed that there was a high demand for contractors in the window and door industry. As it turns out, effective installation of these two key components of a house have a major impact on many other aspects of a home. Individual parts of a home do not function on their own, but work together as a system ­­ and when a single part is deficient, the functioning of an entire home can be affected.

Brian has worked for many years in the industry. He doesn’t just perform a basic installation of windows and doors, he integrates them into the building envelope. This requires incorporating techniques in weatherization, identifying which materials are more compatible than others, and using his knowledge of seemingly unrelated factors such as efficient draining. Knowing how such aspects of a home are interrelated, Brian has used his knowledge of building science to lessen environmental impacts, reduce energy usage, and conserve water, in addition to making homes more comfortable.

In a stressed economy, the one segment of construction that continues to flourish is green building. Local opportunities abound, both for individuals seeking to reinvent themselves as well as young adults entering the workforce. Window and door installation certifications are only part of what Brian has found useful in his career. He obtained certification as a Building Analyst through the Building Performance Institute, as well as training certifications in Photo Voltaic Solar, Solar Thermal and Construction Forensics — all of which have enriched his abilities to help create a highly functioning, comfortable home that minimizes impacts on the environment.

Brian is actively involved and serves on the boards of the Santa Barbara Contractors Association and Built Green Santa Barbara, a local resource center that offers information, classes, and helps guide architects, builders and homeowners through the process of green building.

Excited about his vocation and the opportunities available, Brian has written a text book on weatherization; developed and presented curricula for weatherization, solar energy and window installation at Allan Hancock College; conducts field trainings for local builders involving window installation and membrane drainage systems.

Become or support a green contractor

The Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival is coming up on April 21 and 22 in Alameda Park. This event is the perfect opportunity to learn how to make changes like this. We recommend the following stops at the festival:

  • Visit the “Live Green” zone and watch live demos on the “Live Green” Stage to discover ways to make your own changes. View the schedule…
    • Home Upgrades Made Affordable on Saturday, April 21, 12:30pm
    • Is Your Home Leaking Air and Money? on Sunday, April 22, 2:30pm
    • Home Insulation for Comfort Sunday, April 22, 3:30pm
    • Home Nightmares on Saturday April 21, 2:30pm and Sunday April 22, 4:30pm
  • Visit the Santa Barbara Contractors Association booth to find contractor resources and connect with local contractors.
  • Visit the BuiltGreen Santa Barbara booth to learn about the green building industry.
  • Visit the US Green Building Council Central Coast Chapter booth to learn about LEED and local green building resources and workshops.

Share your story

Have you made similar energy upgrades to your home? Share with us! Send your story to [email protected].

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