Turning Green to Gold in Oregon
There are a number of energy-efficient changes that can improve a home. From shiny stainless-steel appliances to fancy lighting to climate control systems that learn the behaviors of the residents, many of these changes can be seen or felt or, let's face it, bragged about to the neighbors. But the husband-and-wife team at Greenfin Construction, a Hillsboro, Oregon, company specializing in the installation of both retrofit and new construction insulation, knows that some of the most impactful changes to a home can't be shown off to anyone. And as an expert in the field, Greenfin Construction knows that insulation is one of the best improvements money can buy.
"Insulation makes a huge difference in the comfort of the home and the utility bills," says Melinda Van Dyke, licensed Residential Contractor and Responsible Managing Individual for Greenfin Construction. She also says insulation upgrades on existing homes pay for themselves in only three to five years, which means it's easy to feel the difference, physically and financially. But Greenfin's thorough approach and unrushed attention to detail pay for themselves immediately.
When Melinda's husband Jay tackles a job, he's not looking for the easiest or the fastest way out. As Greenfin's Building Performance Institute (PI) and Performance Tested Comfort Systems (PTCS) certified lead technician, he takes his time with each estimate: "So many of these contractors are in a hurry, they're impatient, they just treat you like ‘oh it's another job,' but Jay is different," says Melinda, noting that Jay is always happy to explain a situation and spend extra time with clients who need it.
While Jay is a veteran of the construction industry, Melinda is rather new, but that doesn't mean she's not adding her own twist. "Jay's just a master with these things, but I've reinvented myself," Melinda says while discussing her move from California to Oregon, from writing to building. "The construction industry is new to me," she continued, "but I bring certain things to the table that make the business unique." And those "certain things" come from her nearly 20 years as a writer on Chinese astrology. Under the pen name Shelly Wu, Melinda published on one of the web's earliest websites — launched in 1996 — and has written four books now printed in nine languages. While it might be difficult for an observer to see how her past is influencing her present endeavors, it's easy for Melinda.
"‘Multi-sensory building practices' is my new term," she laughs, "basically that's building green with alternative materials." Using her knowledge of feng shui and her unique appreciation for the home, Melinda keeps Greenfin Construction going strong while always insulating to Earth Advantage standards. But building green involves more than insulation and, eventually, Melina hopes Greenfin Construction will involve more than insulation as well.
"[Insulation is] a baby step, a means to an end," says Melinda. "We have to start with what we know." However, Greenfin Construction is taking some pretty big baby steps. The company officially opened for business is late February of 2014 and already has projects completed, projects in process and, with Jay busy in the field providing estimates, projects yet to come. Though Greenfin is currently the two-person team of Jay and Melinda Van Dyke with labor subcontracted for each job, August of this year will see the addition of one or two employees as a work crew is added to the company.
While insureon can't take credit for any of this success, it's safe to say that Melinda found a partner in the process of insurance shopping: "It sounds like I want to marry these people! But it's really true. Anything that we have from here on out I owe it to insureon." And with quality work, a mastery of insulation, and eyes set on future growth, Greenfin Construction is likely to have quite a bit in the years to come.