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Green Retrofits More Than Pay for Themselves

Do it yourself

If these projects sound daunting, remember that the beauty of a green retrofit is that it can occur in stages. In fact, your company can use money that's already been budgeted for building maintenance and improvement to start going green.

For instance, "If you need a new roof, install a cool roof rather than a heat-absorbing black one," says Lockwood. "And if you need to re-pave your parking lot, make it cooler by planting trees and using reflective gray-colored asphalt instead of black."

Even better? These choices won't cost any more than standard building materials.

To pursue a green retrofit, first consult an energy auditor, who can analyze your building's energy use and identify opportunities for energy conservation. A LEED-accredited professional can help you retrofit your building to meet LEED standards. And a green building consultant -- such as Phoenix-based Green Ideas or San Francisco-based Simon and Associates Inc. can advise you on all aspects of your green retrofit.

Kelsey Abbott is a freelance writer in Freeport, Maine, where she lives with her husband and their dog.

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