Our Green Atlantans: Frank Wickstead, a green remodeler of intown Atlanta homes

Frank Wickstead of WicksteadWorks is a green Atlanta remodeler - and has the awards to show for it

Frank Wickstead of WicksteadWorks is a green Atlanta remodeler who likes to practice new eco-friendly technologies in his own home before using them with clients

Today, I would like to spotlight another of Our Green Atlantans – Frank Wickstead, who has built his home remodeling business with an eye for environmentally-friendly standards. Frank started WicksteadWorks seven years ago and has since racked up the awards. Most recently, he and his team earned the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Environmental Leadership Award for his commitment to green and high performance building standards as well as his commitment to education about the subject. The award celebrates an individual or group that has had a significant environmental impact via a long-term commitment, resulting in a body of exemplary work. Southface Energy Institute has also recognized Wickstead Works with back-to-back EarthCraft Renovator of the Year awards.

Here, I asked Frank a few questions about his inspiration, company, and his own green life…

Our Green Atlanta: When did you first become interested in green building and what sparked that interest?
Frank Wickstead: My interest in green building paralleled with my desire to provide our clients with the best product for their project dollar. The phrase “you get what you pay for” is very true in the world of construction. There are a million shortcuts that can be taken to reduce costs that result in a lesser product. That translates to less sustainable. It won’t last as long and requires more maintenance.

OGA: How did you start your company and how has it played out against your expectations?
FW: My background is design. My longterm goal was to have a design build firm to control the entire process. I am slowly but surely reaching the summit of what can be accomplished within my profession. The only negative realization has been that a process can not be written that encapsulates each client and project. A process as deeply personal as renovation much ebb and flow with each client to make everyone consider the project truly successful.

OGA: How do you teach others about green building?
FW: By example and with hard data. I gather utilities from past clients to make sure that we accomplished what we promised which is to provide our clients with as efficient a product as possible. I continue to be a teacher and student of building construction through my role as education chair with the HBA’s Green Building Council and as student at Georgia Tech’s Building Construction Master’s program which will prepare me to teach within that program as a retirement.

OGA: What have you found most rewarding about your career or the impact green building has had on your life?
FW: One of our first EarthCraft renovations involved cleaning up a swamp of a crawlspace that was, through the HVAC system, spewing mold into the home. After the project the 2 kid’s allergy symptoms were gone and have not returned. Stories like that make all the stresses of the profession with while.

OGA: What top improvement would you suggest to people looking to make an older home more environmentally-friendly?
FW: Add open cell spray foam to your attic and floor system and replace the HVAC to the proper size and with advanced filtration and humidity control.

OGA: What type of home do you live in? In what ways do you incorporate green living into your every day life?
FW: I live in a 50s ranch. I added a second story addition to EarthCraft standards. I wanted to show what could be done to a ranch that did not involve knocking it down and clearing the lot. It fits the neighborhood wonderfully and was well received. I am constantly testing new technologies within my own home prior to unleashing them on my clientele.

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