Eco Living

Planning, designing and maintaining a home that considers the environment with features that matter to the home owner.

Eco Living Opener

Eco-friendly is Often Budget-Friendly

Homes that are eco-friendly are often budget-friendly as well. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, some of the most popular “green” money savers are Energy Star appliances, CFL and LED lighting, and low-emittance windows. For further savings, consider an energy-efficient air conditioner, a tankless water heater or a reflective roof that absorbs less heat from the sun in the summer.

Conserving water is another smart move for both the Earth and your wallet. Low-flow showerheads, faucets and toilets are just the tip of the iceberg. You can also invest in barrels that divert rainwater to your garden or “smart” sprinklers you can control with an app.

If you’re building a sustainable home from scratch, design it strategically. Passive solar design minimizes energy use by considering the home’s location, climate and materials. For instance, a new home powered by solar energy would incorporate plenty of south-facing windows.

Whether you’re interested in building a new home or adding sustainable features to an existing home, UW Credit Union can help you turn your vision into a reality. A construction loan could be a good fit if you’re building, while a home equity line of credit (HELOC) can give an older abode the latest and greatest green features.

“Whether you have a brand-new home or a historic one, a HELOC can help you make eco-friendly updates over time, in
a way that works for your schedule and budget,” Josh Fetting, UW Credit Union’s consumer lending sales manager said. “We make it extra budget-friendly by offering discounted rates for the first year and interest-only payment options.”

Plus, as a three-time recipient of the Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council’s Green Master designation, UW Credit Union demonstrates its dedication to sustainability with energy-efficient lighting, water-conserving appliances, a composting program and more. Some branches even use geothermal heating, another green feature to consider for your home.

Victory Homes

Comfortable and Confident

It’s the customers who are driving the decision to build eco-friendly homes, David Roembke, vice president of sales
at Victory Homes of Wisconsin said.

From energy-efficient space planning and solar panels to electric vehicle charging stations, Victory Homes is dedicated to designing custom luxury homes that satisfy each client’s individual style and values — including environmentally responsible building practices. One trend that’s growing in popularity: smaller homes with a high-end finish.

“We’re flexible enough to give customers what they’re looking for and what matters to them, including sustainability,” Roembke said.

Victory Homes has served the Milwaukee area since 2003 and expanded to bring its expertise to Madison and beyond. Victory Homes guides clients through their entire build, including interior design selection, pricing, contracts and approvals.

“Our entire process — our designs, transparency and attention to detail — sets us apart,” Roembke said. “We want to make sure our customers are comfortable and confident in their home-building decisions.”

The Impact of Energy Efficiency

At Ganser Co., a family-owned business of four generations, it’s all about building connections with customers and watching their remodeling dreams come true. But within that process, there are many different choices that both the customer and company must make.

For example, what types of materials should be used for a certain project, and why?

“Energy efficiency is vitally important to help reduce the carbon footprint of your home,” said owner Travis Ganser. “That is why at Ganser Co. we provide Energy Star Rated products.”

Ganser Co

In fact, Ganser Co. has a wide selection of eco-friendly options for many areas of your home. To help reduce your energy consumption, there are Infinity Fiberglass Replacement Windows and Patio Doors, which outperform and outlast many other options. Ganser Co., a GAF Certified Master Elite, also offers the latest technology in roofing with an Energy Star Certified roofing system to keep your home energy efficient.

While Ganser Co. offers products and services that help to keep your energy bills low, it also offers LP SmartSide siding, sustainably made from wood particles and fibers that work overtime to make sure you don’t have to deal with rot, fungus and termites.

“Eco living is being part of the environment, and we’re blessed to live in one of the most beautiful states in our country,” Ganser said. “We’re interested in building things that complement our surroundings and tie into the majesty that Wisconsin has to offer. We want to offer solutions to help keep that beauty for generations to come.”

Ganser Co. values not only the environment and the individual material choices its customers want to make, but also its place here in Madison.

“We’re so grateful for the opportunity to serve the Madison area,” Ganser said. “Every project, no matter how big or small, is an incredible honor. We want to thank Madison for giving us the ability to work in an industry that we love.”

Dons Home Furniture

Locally Made Furniture

Find your design. That’s the motto at Don’s Home Furniture, one of the largest Amish furniture stores in the country.

At Don’s Home Furniture, it isn’t just about finding something in a showroom that a customer likes; it’s about working with each customer to bring their unique vision to life.

“We get to design furniture, work with our Amish craftsman as the piece is created and see the finished product,” co-owner Blaine Neupert said. “We have traditional pieces but also midcentury modern and classic designs in a variety of wood species and stains that are perfect for creating unique pieces.”

Every piece at Don’s Home Furniture is American-made, meaning you’re guaranteed a quality piece of furniture that’s built to last. By selling only American-made pieces, Don’s Home Furniture is proud to support other small businesses, believing that “shop small” isn’t a cause, but an action.

“We hand-select the many Amish shops whose work ethic, craftsmanship and attention to detail are impeccable,” said Neupert. “Our products do not come in a box but are delivered to us, and then on to you, blanket-wrapped. This furniture is built to last for generations.”

As one of Madison’s best furniture stores, Don’s Home Furniture and its “So many great memories are made every day in our homes,” co-owner Tina Neupert said. “For us to know that so many people in South Central Wisconsin feel we are the best place for them to find furniture so they can enjoy these memories — it’s just really an honor for us.”

Clean and Bright

If you’ve lived in your home for a few years, there’s a good chance it has been through some wear and tear. Siding gets dirty, windows get marked up and your deck or patio has probably seen better days. While some people don’t see this as a pressing issue, continual damage to your house is exponentially pricey.

Clear Vision, an exterior cleaning company specializing in pressure-washing services, understands this. By valuing customer satisfaction over all else, they treat customers’ homes like their own, turning back the clock on
your house until it looks brand-new.

“When we transform something from looking old and dingy back to clean and bright, it is the most satisfying part of working in this industry,” owner Kyle Ballweg said. “Whether it is a deck or patio, siding, concrete surfaces or a fence, seeing that before and after fuels us.”

Clear Vison

Part of the reason Clear Vision is such a successful company is that Ballweg puts his employees first, empowering them to do what needs to be done to take care of each and every customer.

“I didn’t set out to be considered one of Madison’s best businesses; it happened naturally through my focus on delivering a great customer experience by hiring great people,” he said. “I am a huge advocate of being a leader that empowers their team and treats them exactly the way I want them to treat our customers.”

Ballweg’s hard work has paid off, as Clear Vision continues to provide high-quality services from a talented team that cares deeply about its customers.

“I hope people appreciate that we really just want to help them maintain their home,” Ballweg said. “Cleaning the windows and pressure-washing the concrete, patio or the siding takes up precious family time. If we can give them time back to do the things they want to do — that’s what we’re all about.”

Great Value to Conscious Choices

All Comfort Services has been a family-owned business in the Madison area for nearly 50 years — and it’s had plenty of time to learn its customers’ interests.

“We are very attuned to our environment,” president Kendall Richards said. “We offer environmentally friendly and sustainable solutions to our customers.”

All Comfort Service

In every division, including plumbing, heating, cooling and electrical, the company offers energy-efficient products.

All Comfort Services installs the highest-efficiency gas furnaces and air conditioners on the market, Richards said. It installs low-flow toilets, electric vehicle outlets and tankless water heaters, which are roughly 30% more efficient than normal heaters.

Even during its community service projects the company tries to leave a small carbon footprint. The free Swedish dishcloths it hands out during the Susan G. Komen South Central Wisconsin MORE THAN PINK Walk are made of biodegradable materials and water-based ink.

“When we can make environmentally conscious choices and still give our customers great value, we will do it at every opportunity,” Richards said.