I’ve spent the last 25 years educating myself and practicing sustainable, energy efficient, high-performance, universal design, resilient design and building practices. I do not design homes that don’t follow these guidelines.
Other than this website, here is my go to list of FREE websites I recommend my clients to educate themselves BEFORE they hire a design professional:
- Design with Passive Solar principles
- Design a Zero Energy Ready Home.
- Design with Universal Design priciples.
- Design with local Resilience principles against tornados, hurricanes, fire, flood, earthquakes, snow, etc.
- Build as tight and well-sealed building envelope as possible, this solves 90% of your efficiency and maintenance problems. Follow the Energy Star Checklist for air sealing homes.
- Always install above code levels of insulation. If you don’t believe me, read the Big Texas Freeze blog in February 2021, on the GreenBuildingAdvisor.com
- Install Energy Star appliances, HAVC system, lighting, plumbing and water conservation.
- Install continuous ventilation. Use ERVs or HRVs.
- Install efficient windows and doors.
- Use materials with NO or LOW Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs); like paints, glues, wood products, finishes, etc.
- Consider a FEMA room and upgrading wind load designs.
- Consider using renewables, and maybe electricity storage or a back-up gas generator.
- Consider rain water collection for landscape and emergencies.
- Hire an EXPERIENCED Residential Designer or Architect.
- Hire an EXPERIENCED HERS Rater to verify your jobsite.
DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT
These are common things you must not allow in you next home:
- SEALING AND CONDITIONING AN ATTIC WITH 6” OPEN CELL FOAM ONLY. This is a horribly common practice in the industry to save money, but gives you a higher risk for moisture in the sheathing, followed by possible mold, rot and health issues.
- Install LESS THAN prescriptive levels of insulation. The laws of Physics do not care about Performance or Alternative Codes; and your house will have a higher chance of failing in emergencies.
- Install HVAC and duct system in ventilated attics.
- Build homes with ventilated crawl spaces, unless you completely seal and insulate the floor.
- Install gas stoves or ranges. They contribute to bad indoor air quality. Buy INDUCTION.
- Install open-flame fireplaces, like wood-burning or gas. They contribute to bad indoor air quality.
OTHER GREAT WEBSITES
Here are other websites to go for FREE information about good building practices:
Energy & Environmental Building Alliance