If you haven't heard of GreenForm yet, chances are you will soon. In just a few years, it's grown from a few friends with a roofing company to a full-fledged construction, roofing and solar business with around a dozen full-time employees and multiple subcontractors.
"We're unlimited general contractors, and we try to do all of our building projects with a green emphasis, from the type of wood to insulation to windows that are energy efficient," said Fred Holder, president and one of the owners of GreenForm. "We push solar a lot."
And one of GreenForm's current projects, a house on Missionary Ridge, encompasses just about everything the company is qualified to do.
Owner Paul Hoffmann wanted to convert to solar energy, but the orientation of the house wasn't compatible, so GreenForm planned to install a pole-mounted solar system on the grounds. Like many of the company's projects, this one snowballed as the owner and GreenForm's employees worked together to figure out what the best approach would be, said D.J. Shelton, vice president of operations and one of GreenForm's owners. Now, they're building a garage with a roof-mounted solar system and an attached outdoor kitchen that will match the architecture of the original house, built in 1949.
Hoffman said he's very impressed with the work so far.
"I did research on a couple of places, but GreenForm was very professional and got me signed up with the TVA solar program," he said. "They're very knowledgeable, low-maintenance and easy to work with. I just felt very comfortable with them."
And the GreenForm team, in turn, has been enjoying the house's challenges.
"This project gives us the chance to do a little bit of everything that we do: the construction side and the solar side," said Shelton. "We are, in essence, doing a groundup build, changing the roofline, putting on a new roof and also doing a roof-mounted solar system on the garage roof and a ground-mounted solar system."
Those are several distinct projects, but GreenForm can handle it. And that, Shelton said, is what sets GreenForm apart from your standard construction company or roofing company or solar company.
"We can do all of it," he said. "We have the capability to do anything you want in the realm of construction or renewable energy. This cuts down the project time, and you only have one point of contact instead of your contractor, who's got to deal with the framers and the roofers and the solar guys. That cuts down on miscommunication, and one person is accountable for everything."
GreenForm's humble beginnings trace back to Chattanooga, where the owners are from and where its 30,000-squarefoot headquarters is located (it's outgrown three others).
"We'd all known each other for a while and got into this and decided to go about it a little differently than just being a guy with a truck and a hammer," Shelton said.
"We wanted to go about it as a business, steadily growing and developing and moving into different things."
GreenForm began as just a roofing business, but that soon changed.
"We kept having customers we were working with asking us to do different styles of projects that didn't really fall under the roofing company," said Shelton. "So we got our general contracting licenses, and right now we're licensed in seven states, both residential and commercial, with unlimited license."
In fact, GreenForm frequently takes on projects all over the Southeast: Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, North Carolina, Arkansas, and Mississippi. Earlier this year, the company worked on the New American Home project in Las Vegas.
GreenForm jumped at the opportunity to get into solar installation about two and a half years ago, Shelton said.
"It's something that we wanted to do from the start, but it's very expensive to get into," he said. "We made a strategic partnership with a guy here in town who had a bunch of the equipment. That allowed us to buy direct from him, and he buys directly from the manufacturer - so we cut out all the middlemen, and it makes us way more affordable than anyone else. The national average is about $5 per watt for solar, and we start out around $2.50 with like-minded quality materials."
And once finished, the Missionary Ridge home, with 22,000 watts of solar power, will take full advantage of those perks.
GreenForm is located at 2301 E. 28th St. in Chattanooga. Call 423-531-0222 or visit mygreenform.com to learn more about the company's services.