who we are
Paul Konove, founder
The interest and commitment I have to the environment started shortly after I earned my degree in engineering from the University of Rhode Island. My initial work involved taking bay water research samples in Rhode Island, and assisting in the development of a computer program to analyze the results. The work contributed information to support the theory that cleaning up the bay was critical for the important local clam harvesting businesses in the bay and assisted in showing that heated water that might be added to the bay by a planned (at that time) nuclear power plant would negatively impact the bay’s ecosystem.
In 1976 I started my career in construction as a carpenter in western Massachusetts. I was immediately drawn to the passive solar field that blossomed at that time. Upon moving to North Carolina in the late 1970’s, within a short period of time, I had the opportunity to build several solar designed homes and to be a founding member of the worker co-op design and construction firm Space Builders. About the same time, I co-founded the Solar Greenhouse Employment Project a tax-exempt foundation supported effort that educated and trained people throughout the Southeast in a variety of solar construction projects.
As founder of Carolina Country Builders in 1985, I wanted to continue the work I have been involved with since my first years in North Carolina, that is running a business that focused on building projects that utilized renewable energy and enabled me to continue teaching and training both the general public and construction professionals in environmentally appropriate building techniques. Fortunately, since Carolina Country Builders was established, I have been able to continue these activities around the state of North Carolina, including chairing the North Carolina Solar Energy Association (1986-87 – now the NC Sustainable Energy Association – NCSEA) and co-founding the NC Solar Center (established at NC State University). More recently, I have assisted in organizing numerous NCSEA solar and green building tours around the state of North Carolina, and presented in the triangle region green building seminars to tour attendees in 1998, and 2000.
More recently, in 2001 I developed and presented a two-day solar home design and construction seminar for consumers, architects and builders for the N.C. Solar Center. I have also had the opportunity to participate in the Sustainable Buildings Industry Council’s (SBIC) Green Building Guidelines Seminars as an instructor in Massachusetts in 2004 and at the Sara Susanka Not So Big Show House at the 2005 International Builders Show in Orlando, Fla.
Jay Bauer, site manager
I was born and raised at the foot of the Rocky Mountains in Denver, Colorado. Much of my youth was spent outdoors and in the mountains near my childhood home. I began skiing and the age of five and had climbed my first “Fourteener” (a peak over 14,000 ft) when I was in the sixth grade. Growing up I spent a great deal of time learning about the beauty and delicate balance of nature simply by being in it. These childhood experiences gave me a lasting respect and appreciation for nature and the environment that I carry with me today.
My interest in building began similarly, when near the age of six I became the official nail and screwdriver holder for my father whenever he began a new project around the house. Those responsibilities grew over time as my dad’s home projects graduated to “flipping” investment properties and the major renovation of the family home. Again, being involved in these experiences both directly and indirectly influenced my interest in building.
In 1989, after graduating from the University of Colorado in Boulder, I spent the better part of a year building a home outside the small town of Telluride, Colorado. The home incorporated a passive solar orientation with extended overhangs, in-floor heating, and the use of reclaimed and site milled materials. Looking back on this experience I realized I learned not only invaluable carpentry and building skills, but I had built my first “green” home.
My building career then took a significant detour when I spent the next few years living and teaching English in Japan and traveling throughout Asia. After returning to the States I continued teaching at Regis University in Denver, before a move to San Francisco in 1996 began my career in higher-education publishing. For several years I worked in the areas of marketing communications and project management, advertising, and sales for both small and large academic publishing companies, including McGraw-Hill, Addison-Wesley/Benjamin Cummings, and Stanford University Press.
In 2003 my family and I fled the outrageous housing market of the Silicon Valley, and sought refuge in Chapel Hill. This move allowed us to slow down, to live more deliberately, and for my wife and I to spend more time with our two young children. Shortly after arriving in North Carolina (and after a bit of soul-searching) I rekindled my interest in home building and sought to combine it with my lifelong respect and love for the environment. I spent two years honing my carpentry skills while working for a builder who salvaged and renovated Victorian homes and mill houses in Hillsborough, NC, all the while pursuing my interest in the growing field of “green” building.
It was this pursuit that led me to a meeting of the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA ) where I met Paul Konove, one of the area’s foremost builders of homes using solar technology and sustainable building practices. After touring one of Paul’s homes during the annual NCSEA Solar Home Tour, I quickly realized the type of home I wanted to build – one that melds great design with state of the art green building construction strategies.
As Site Manager at Carolina Country Builders, my main responsibility is to be on site daily to coordinate and oversee all construction activities. I supervise all stages of construction to ensure not only building code compliance and quality craftsmanship but that our Green goals are being met. I pay particular attention to framing, moisture control, insulation, and HVAC, and train subcontractors when necessary on the latest building science methods and materials. I also schedule subcontractors, purchase materials, manage labor, and act as lead carpenter whenever possible.