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Wanted: O.C. green contractor

DadsbathA reader named Kimberly sent me this e-mail:

Hi, I just read an old article of yours in the L.A. Times about green remodeling. I was wondering if you have any referrals for green contractors to do a remodel in Orange County.

Here’s the deal: The Times doesn’t want me making referrals to contractors. But YOU could. So I’ll throw this out there: Do you know of any good green remodeling contractors in O.C.? If so, please comment below.

Just for fun, I did a simple Google search on these terms: “Orange County,” green, remodel and contractor.

One of the first websites to pop up was for Dad’s Construction in Lake Forest.

Here’s how I evaluated this website to determine if this is a good green contractor:

• The website gives the company’s contractor’s license number as 802617. I plug that number into the Contractors State License Board and discover the license was issued some years ago, not last month. That’s a good sign. I see the president of the company is Daniel Arnold Derkum (thus the company’s name: DAD’s) and that the company carries the proper bonding and workers’ compensation insurance. I also did not see any complaints or suspensions of this license. All good.

• Next, I read through the testimonials. These are flowery but generally worthless. Anyone could have written these. What I’m looking for are names so I can contact these folks and ask a few questions, or at least determine if these are real people. The only full name I find is Gordon Sykes of Lake Forest. A Google search on his name confirms that he is a real person, as evidenced by the Lake Forest Homeowners Assn. Village News, which announces that Gordon’s home won “House of the Quarter” in 2004 for “high standards of excellence.” That kind of client bodes well for this remodeling company.

• Also, I see in the testimonials (which I start to trust as authentic) that clients refer to Dan often, and this is a good sign. That means the owner is involved in the company, and that this is not just a front for some scam artist. And I notice all the words on the site are spelled correctly. Good.

• Finally, I see that this company is a member of all kinds of good organizations: the National Assn. of the Remodeling Industry, the U.S. Green Building Council, the American Institute of Architects, and others. I see that Dan is a Certified Green Building Professional through the Build It Green rating system. And there is a lot of intelligent green building information on the site. This company is obviously deeply into the green building industry.

After all that, I take a look at photos of the projects the company has done. They look nice (a bathroom is pictured above).

To me, this looks like a good green remodeling company. I’ve never heard of this company or written about it or talked with anyone who has used Dad’s. But if I were looking for a good green contractor in Orange County, this is the kind of company I would call for a chat.

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