5 things to think about during the planning stage

In our last episode, you got a chance to see some of the 2.2 acre lot that my wife and I will be building our eco-friendly home on. We’re lucky to be building our home in Eastern Connecticut, where we’ll get to experience the New England climate - wet springs and hot summers, followed by beautiful foliage in the fall and cold winters to top it all off.

The New England climate is only one element that we’ll have to take into consideration while we plan out the details for our eco-friendly home. When we sit down with the architect to make some decisions about the design and details of our house,  there are a few items that we’ll keep in mind, items that every prospective homeowner/builder should think about before building.

In our last episode, you got a chance to see some of the 2.2 acre lot that my wife and I will be building our eco-friendly home on. We’re lucky to be building our home in Eastern Connecticut, where we’ll get to experience the New England climate - wet springs and hot summers, followed by beautiful foliage in the fall and cold winters to top it all off.

The New England climate is only one element that we’ll have to take into consideration while we plan out the details for our eco-friendly home. When we sit down with the architect to make some decisions about the design and details of our house,  there are a few items that we’ll keep in mind, items that every prospective homeowner/builder should think about before building:

Every part of our process matters, from the planning stages to the day we walk into our new home. We’ll pay attention to every detail along the way, to ensure that the home is as comfortable and environmentally friendly as possible. This is especially important when it comes to how we’ll use the features of our land to boost our energy savings and make our home more comfortable.

Details like the orientation of the house really count for something in terms of energy savings or reducing our overall carbon footprint. We plan to install photovoltaic solar panels on a portion of the roof, and we want our home to really take advantage of the sun. So, we plan to position our home accordingly. If you have a little acreage to work with, like we do, then you’ll have some flexibility in terms of the home’s positioning.

We’re mindful of the home’s natural surroundings. We’re building our home on a hill near the banks of the Connecticut River, so we’ll be protected from some natural hazards like flooding. But other natural features, like the rocky soils of Connecticut, could prove to be a liability as we move forward. Removing ledge, or large boulders from our property, can be expensive.

We also have a lot of large trees on our property. The neighborhood that we’re building in is forested and hasn’t been cut over for quite some time, so the forest has assumed old-growth characteristics. We plan to leave as many of these large trees as we can, to protect wildlife and retain the land’s characteristics.

There’s a lot of history on our land. On our 2.2 acre parcel, we’re lucky to have some of New England’s colonial history at our doorstep. A large, historic stone wall runs through the center of our property, the kind that colonial-era farmers used to build at the edge of their farming plots. We plan to preserve or repurpose as much of it as we can, so that we can enjoy its beauty.

I know that as long as we use the right professionals and have control of the process, that we can put together the right ingredients for our recipe of success in this project.

As the planning stage of our project gets underway, I’d really like to hear from you about your experiences when it comes to some of the items I’ve listed. Did you take advantage of the natural features of your land? What did you keep in mind that helped you the most? Let us know!


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  • That’s a good point, Jay. The land that we’ll be building on is in the rocky state of Connecticut, so we’ll be on the lookout for “ledge”, or large boulders that could impede a septic system or a geothermal loop field. A geothermal system would be a good compliment to the photo-voltaic solar panels, which we are also considering. If we went with a geothermal system, where do you recommend placing it? Is it better to have it close to the house, or away from it?
  • Hi Dave, While you’re getting ready to layout where the house is going on the property, consider the laying out where you would put a geothermal loop field. This will help you to use land under the driveways, and even under the house early on, preserving the rest of the property as much as possible; what do you think?