Your Home is the place where you want to relax and enjoy the comfort of quality construction and energy efficiency.
Your Home and Your Energy Bills are major costs so insist on the best of both.
I have held two major jobs in my life. One was managing a large utility for over thirty years and the other was a builder of quality Villa and Single Family dream-homes. During that time period I concentrated on putting my utility and energy background into designing and building quality-homes that were balanced in their construction for maximum living comfort. I
incorporated proper air sealing,
cooling and heating,
low flow toilets
designed for your landscape plans,
energy star appliances,
quality windows and doors for maximum beauty and insulating abilities. These are the things that every owner deserves. Yes some will cost more but many of the items listed are based on quality construction and the attitude of your builder towards quality and efficiency. The cost of the other components will pay you back in comfort and lower energy costs.
When you are choosing a builder, architect or other professional service for construction it is your responsibility to lay out your expectations in writing. Do not leave the importance of having an environmentally efficient home with quality components to a verbal discussion or a simple list. Be specific in the models you want, the energy bills you are looking to pay and the long term reliability of your new home and all of its components.
• Ask for references and homes you can see that are just starting, partially done and completed.
• Copy of Bonds, License, and Insurance as well as copies from all sub-contractors to be used on the job.
• List of materials to be used and the manufacturers
• Written warranty for energy efficiency
• Notification for inspections by you at points where air sealing, insulation, vapor sealing and other crucial mile markers occur so you may walk with the Builder to review. Once they are covered up it is hard to fix a problem.
• Check with Better Business Bureau for any issues.
• Obtain a contract with every component to be used in construction. This includes furnace, air unit, ventilation fans, light fixtures, insulation types, sealers, doors, windows, siding, roofing, concrete rating by pound, irrigation components, appliances make and model and energy estimate to run, etc.
If these components are not what you want you need to make that clear at the start. It is fair to you and the builder to work out the issues and make sure you are getting what you want.
Landscape Design: Insist on working with someone who is qualified to layout your landscape plans. Be specific in colors, blooming times, locations, and overall desired look. Get a copy of the design and make sure it is colored and gives you the clear view of the final product. With today’s computer capabilities you should see exactly what you will end up with. Make sure you stress water conservation so that your irrigation matches your plant choices. Of course be reasonable and choose plants for your Geographic area or plan to be frustrated when they do not grow to expectations.
If you are a do it yourself person on landscape I recommend visiting
Architect: If your budget and your design warrant an Architect then make sure to:
• Look at numerous designs
• Look at homes that are already built and talk to owner
• Explain your vision
• If your design is not something you see in the portfolio it may be wise to seek another choice of architects who design closer to what you have in mind.
• Ask for references
• Check Better Business Bureau
• Make sure that your builder choice and your architect meet and understand the working relationship and what you are expecting of them as a team.
If you are considering Alternative Energy sources you want to make sure you look closely at all of the technology. Some is very costly, some very reasonable and cost does not go directly with efficiency. Draw up an energy plan and see what fits your plan. Some ideas are:
Solar or Wind
Solar Water Heaters
Solar Attic Fans
When Your Home is complete and before you close run a
Home Energy Audit
to make sure that everything is in order. This simple process will ensure that your home will meet your expectations and will identify any issues that need fixed before you close.
Next is Build Your Home and Enjoy it to the Fullest.