Green-industry certification course begins in February

Class will meet twice a week for nine months starting Feb. 20 at the SOU/RCC Higher Education Center

MEDFORD — Homeowners, designers, builders, developers, engineers, renovators and others wanting to get into the green industry can become certified in sustainable concepts under the National Sustainability Building Advisor Program, a national nonprofit program coming to the Rogue Valley in February.

The nine-month certificate training course and exam will be offered through Southern Oregon University at the SOU/RCC Higher Education Center in Medford. Graduates will be able to advise other professionals on the latest green and energy-efficient technology.

If you go

What: Informational meetings on the National Sustainability Building Advisor Program, a nine-month training in the latest in green and energy-efficient technology

When: 6:30 p.m. Wednesday and Jan. 20

Where: Southern Oregon University's Stevenson Union Room 319, 1250 Siskiyou Blvd., Ashland

More information: Classes start Feb. 20.

The class will meet for two-day sessions every third Friday and Saturday of the month starting Feb. 20. Students will break into "green teams," conduct research and make recommendations on the most feasible, efficient and affordable energy-saving devices that can be installed into a home or commercial building, said Shelley Lotz, lead instructor.

Trained in Portland and certified as a sustainable building advisor, Lotz has engaged several regional green builders and other professionals to help with the class, including designer Dave Fisse of Medford, Ashland Realtor Don McCoy, Medford architect Jason Zook, Ashland contractor Steve Asher, Medford landscape architect Bonnie Bayard and Ashland contractor John Fields.

"It's a chance for people from all walks of life to get experience for going green," said Fred Gant of Earth Advantage, who will be a guest teacher in the program.

McCoy, of Exit Realty Group, said graduates will be prepared to participate in green teams on consulting projects for developers, contractors and remodeling companies.

In addition to its environmental benefits, green technology adds value to homes by lowering utility bills and increasing durability and quality of construction, McCoy said.

Classes will include site design, energy systems, lighting, solar technology, green materials and products, indoor environmental quality, water conservation and landscaping, construction methods and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards, Lotz said.

Under a green building adviser, all parties to the design, construction and maintenance of a structure are brought into the loop, so they all understand and can offer ideas on the green elements, Lotz said.

Graduates can also put their skills to work for their employers in buildings where they work, Lotz noted.

In the past, green features were often prohibitively expensive. But with increased demand, prices are coming down, Lotz said. And green features can add 10 to 20 percent to a structure's resale value. In five to 10 years, all construction will be sustainable because of shrinking energy supplies, she said.

Working with SBAs also helps projects meet high building standards, because sustainable practices always exceed standards, Lotz said.

The local program, which costs $1,995, is still seeking qualified guest teachers, said Lotz, who can be reached at 840-9474. Her region includes all Southern Oregon south of Eugene.

There will be informational meetings at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday and Jan. 20 at Southern Oregon University's Stevenson Union Room 319. More information is available at

John Darling is a freelance writer living in Ashland. E-mail him at

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