green renovated bungalow
Photo: Stephen Karlisch

Little Green Giant

Like a chef who gets a glowing restaurant review, Michele Grieshaber and Michael Klug were ecstatic—and honored—to find out that their renovation had received a coveted five stars from Austin Energy's Green Building Program. Working with the crew from This Old House TV, the newlyweds had set a lofty goal: to bump up and remodel their modest 1926 bungalow to make room for them and Michael's two sons, and do it in the greenest way possible. When the green building program director, Richard Morgan, and Austin mayor Will Wynn delivered the news the day before the TV show wrapped filming, the two were beaming. "It's a huge badge of honor," Michele says. "It endorses that we did the right thing."

What surprised everyone, however, was the fact that Michele and Michael's house was one of only 35 of nearly 7,000 projects that have qualified for the highest award since the program began in 1991, and it was only the third remodeling project. Most green houses in the city are new construction, but executing a green remodel isn't as difficult as many people think.
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