One Hot Carpenter: Natural Home Interviews Carter Oosterhouse

Carpenter Carter Oosterhouse's HGTV shows, "Carter Can" and "Red, Hot and Green," have made him a big name in green building.

| January/February 2010

  • Carpenter Carter Oosterhouse's HGTV shows, "Carter Can" and "Red, Hot and Green," had made him a big name in green building.

Carpenter Carter Oosterhouse's HGTV shows, "Carter Can" and "Red, Hot and Green," have made him a big name in green building. His nonprofit group, Carter's Kids, develops parks and playgrounds for urban youth, and he serves as a spokesperson for the Council for Responsible Energy (CRE), an advocacy group for natural gas.

How did you become interested in green building and green remodeling?

I grew up with parents who pushed us to take care of our health—we took a lot of vitamins and never ate sugary cereals. My parents also made sure we never used harsh chemicals for the laundry or for washing the car. This helped me transition my thinking about building. I was eating organic foods and using natural cleaners. Design and home building were the next logical areas of focus.

What was your most challenging green home project? 

Every project is different. The beauty about green building is that it's always evolving. I’m always trying to keep up with the new trends and materials, so every project is a challenge.
What advice do you have for homeowners who want to increase their homes’ energy efficiency? 

A home can lose 30 percent of its heating and cooling with air leaks and improper duct work. A ¼-inch gap under your front door is equivalent to a 6-inch hole in the wall. I’m sure you would close that hole, but lots of people don't fix the gap. Also, homes that use natural gas for heating, hot water and other appliances produce fewer greenhouse gases than electric- or oil-heated homes. As a result, the carbon footprint of a natural-gas home is an average of 46 percent less than a home using electricity for those same appliances.



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