Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Picking a builder

My first comment on picking a builder is "yuck." This is not a task I enjoy and it is probably one of the biggest house decisions we will make. We met with one builder so far (more are scheduled) and then afterwards came up with this list of what we are looking for in a builder. Much like the architects, we will just post who we finally decide on.

What we want in a builder (in order):

1. Honest with personal integrity.

2. Interested in our vision of a "green home." This begs the question of what does green mean to us...
Minimize the impact of our home on our microcosm of 15 acres as well as on the broader scope. Earth friendly materials, maximize natural sources of energy, minimize construction and long term energy waste, build the room we need and not (much) more, and strive for excellent indoor air quality and low chemical use (low off gassing, waxed floors, no/minimum carpet, low VOC paints, etc).
3. Be willing to do something different. We are already embracing our "one room thick home" which isn't exactly typical. We are willing to sacrifice indoor luxuries (fancy fixtures, fancy lighting, commercial grade kitchen appliances, granite counter tops, paved driveway etc) in order to put as many systems for the long haul in place (solar, geothermal (?) metal roof, radiant floor heating...) as we can afford. We would like to be creative with our interior design and use recycled or unusual materials that are interesting and have minimum impact. Perhaps rustic modern chic type of feel? What that means we aren't quite sure.

4. Guide us through different green options. At the very minimum be willing to research these and provide their thoughts on their merits and down falls in an open minded fashion. For example, SIP vs. ICF vs. conventional building options.

5. We have to stay on budget. Isn't this the bane of all home builders? This should really be number 2 because without this we are SOL.

Wish us luck.


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