Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Net Zero 100%

Meritage Homes, one of the nation's biggest builders has committed to building Net Zero Homes as their new building model.  In some communities this is mostly true.  They'll build about 75% better than code and give the homeowner the option to solarize the home to net zero.  But this is not a complaint.  For a large production builder to have found a net zero sweet spot raises the bar pretty high.  So high in fact that many builders will either have to follow suit or get out.


How about you?  Think you're good enough to net zero or will you keep playing with your old deflated ball?  Need some help?  Contact Istockhouseplans for plans that can help you achieve Net Zero Energy Use.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tiny Housing Advantages

In the spirit of laziness (or perhaps minimalism) we thought we'd share this blog post with you. It epitomizes everything we feel about why small homes are the way to go.

Tiny Housing Advantages

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Builder vs. Homeowner

In our final installment we bring you the Builder vs. the Homeowner.  Oh sure, we could bring in building officials, subcontractors, neighbors, bankers, etc.  But this series of three neatly sums up what we work with the most.  Hopefully the point has not been taken that everyone's an imbecile.  Rather you should understand that communication is the key to a successful home build where everyone is happy.

That or everyone learning to design and build their own homes (cf . http://www.homehumor.com/introduction.shtml).

Homeowner: "We'd like to have you build a house for us.  You come highly recommended and we've seen some of your other stuff.  We have a pretty specific list of things we would like for trim, cabinets, etc.  Other than that we'll leave it to you."

Builder: "I generally build to three different packages of trim.  If you'd like something else we can discuss that.  Do you have plans?"

H: "Well we had a designer draw up these..."

B: (perusing plans) "Hmmm...  You could save a lot of money if you installed slider windows instead of double-hungs.  And the roof will be cheaper if you drop it to a 5:12 pitch.  And what's this note?  24" o.c. studs?  Can't do that, the house will fall down.  Besides, it costs more."

H: "Wait, it costs more to install less wood?"

B: "Oh sure, there's all sorts of other things you have to do instead.  And I can't insulate the attic 'cuz your shingles will fail.  It's alright if the furnace is in a cold attic."

H: "Well, you're the professional..."

What then happens is that the homeowner moves into a house that they're never truly happy with.  They notice the little things.  And they live there for 5 years and then do a complete remodel.

Alternate ending!

H: "Well thanks for your opinions, we'll call you."  (we know what that line means)

Future homeowner interviews several other builders and finds one who is happy to build a home for the owners, the way they want.  Double hung windows, knotty pine trim, and walls with studs 24" o.c.  Builder also recommends a heat pump and the homeowners never look back.

Hey homeowner!  If you approach a builder about building a house, please remember one thing.  It's your house!  Don't let anybody change your mind about what you want.  The remodel 5 years down the road costs more than implementing all the things you want the first time around.  Istockhouseplans hopes your dream home gets built the way you like the first time around.