Here you will find a few reasons to consider hiring us for some consulting work before you are ready to break ground.
"I have my completed design, how can we make it 'green'?" My heart falls when I hear this question, and I hear it fairly often. The answer is "We are happy to do everything we can, but....."
The most cost-effective and best performing aspect of any green home is the passive solar design. To get the most from our abundant sun and cool evenings the design must be built around the way the solar system works, it can't be considered at the end. The thermal envelope design is also critical but is more easily addressed at the end. If cost-effective design is an important consideration, early consultation is by far the most productive.
Strawbale walls, H.R.V.s, grey water planters, trombe walls, thermal mass assemblies, advanced thermal envelopes, thermal bypass prevention, solar sunrooms and greenhouses can be worked in to some designs after the fact though often it increases cost more than if they were taken into account from the beginning.
Other systems such as rain catchment, grey water, solar hydronic heating, photovoltaic electric, O.V.E framing details, data loggers, and non-toxic materials can usually be integrated without much difficulty.
"How can we decrease the cost to build this design?" Again our feedback will depend on when you ask us this question. During the early stages of a design it is easy to identify aspects of the design that will ramp up the cost without providing added value. Once the design is complete there are fewer options to consider. There are thousands of choices about how to construct a home, we meticulously track the cost of all of our building assemblies and are experts in the field of general construction as well as sustainable building. We would be happy to work with you and your designer to give you our feedback on what we see.
"How much will it cost?" Honestly not very much considering how much money it is possible to save. We charge $75 per hour depending on the scope of work, 3-6 hours is all most projects really need. If we are under contract to build the house you will receive a 50% discount on these rates.
We understand that most professional designers are reluctant to bring in outside consultants as too many cooks can spoil the broth. Just know that, in all honesty, we are very good collaborative team players and will not make the design process more difficult. If you would only like our feedback on one particular aspect of the design we will limit our scope to just that particular area. We never criticize someone else's ideas in an attempt to make ourselves look better.