Builder working toward PhD in 'green' construction
In a few years, Mike Kwiecien hopes to be an authority on green homebuilding. He already has his own business and plans to enter the University of Maryland Eastern Shore in the fall as part of a doctorate program in green homebuilding.
“I always considered myself an old hippie,” Kwiecien said. “I recycled and believed what they said about global warming … how we’re causing the planet harm.”
Kwiecien, who moved to Delaware in 2001, opened Explorer Homes in Sussex County in May. Kwiecien meets with customers to customize their homes and then has a team of experts produce the blueprints, often at no cost to the customer. According to the Web site, the company is founded on the Golden Rule and focuses on being fair and ethical in its business transactions.
The “green” services include low-flow showerheads and toilets, programmable thermostats, steel roof, reclaimed flooring, natural carpeting, water-barrel irrigation and compost bins.
Features like full solar/wind, geothermal heating/cooling, steel framing, insulated concrete forms, formaldehyde-free products and others are available upon request. If enough features are selected, the National Association of Home Builders can certify the home as “green.”
“Geothermal [heating and cooling] [heats and cools] the house from the temperature of the earth,” Kwiecien said. “It’s supposed to cut the utility bill by about 50 percent … a steel roof reflects up to 70-80 percent of the sun’s UV rays and keeps the house cooler.”
The company’s modular homes can be built with recycled vinyl siding from a New Jersey supplier. Homes run about $88 per square foot, which Kwiecien noted is “well below the market price.” He said building affordable homes for those in need is also an interest of his.
The doctorate program is the first of its kind in the United States, Kwiecien said. He said this degree would give him credibility to be able to create change.
Kwiecien was born in Philadelphia and raised in New Jersey. He grew up working in construction. At 23, he got married and joined the U.S. Army. He learned a great deal about construction and green home building during time spent in Germany. Kwiecien gained experience working in construction and marketing since he moved to Delaware in 2001.
For more information, call 853-2728, e-mail email@example.com or visit www.explorerhomes.com.