Meet the Architect

Anyone who’s building a custom home knows that an architect is a cornerstone to any custom building project. Even if you’re designing a home yourself, an architect can provide invaluable advice and a second set of eyes and ears for your plans.

In our case, we’ve been consulting with an architectural firm from the very beginning. I’m pretty knowledgeable about some portions of the building process, but I’ve decided to trust an architect to plan out the logistics of what I’m trying to accomplish with this home. We’re trying to build something that’s as energy efficient as possible, without sacrificing comfort - we'll need the help of a network of knowledgeable experts, of which the architect one of the most important.

Finding the right architect for your project is like finding the “shoe that fits” - not every architect is going to be right for every project. In our case, we’ve decided to consult with Rick Staub and Greg Echtman of Point One Architects. They’re based out of Old Lyme, CT and their firm has a lot of experience building custom homes, particularly energy-efficient homes with tight building envelopes and other energy-saving features.

We’ll be working with them throughout the course of the blog to really nail down some of the details of our new home. Not only will they help us determine which environmentally friendly features to incorporate into our new home, but they’ll also help us with some of the other more general home building questions like how many floors we want, where we want the master bedroom, and other things like that. I’m excited to share these details with you all and we’ll post updates as our home’s plan progresses.

Building an eco-friendly home truly starts from the ground up, and that’s why we’re designing the whole home from scratch with the help of Rick and Greg. As we get going with our architectural firm, I’d like to get a better idea of what to expect - what was your architect experience like? Be sure to share it with us on our blog.

While they’re working on the plans for our home, I will be looking into some of the financial incentives that are available for someone like me who’s planning an energy-efficient home building project. Keep an eye on our blog for some information on that topic.


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  • Has there been any discussion of building to the PASSIVE HOUSE standard? This requires very airtight construction (0.6 ACH/50), super-insulation that reduces HVAC energy use to a specific value per sq ft, and overall energy use also limited to a specific value/sf. To do this you will have to do a lot of energy modeling with the Passive House planning tool and because the house is so airtight, it will need a heat-recovery ventilator that will refresh the air constantly. The air-tightness requirement will require blower door testing during and at the end of construction. Very comfortable and very low energy use. There are several now in CT. Two I know of won the CT Net Zero Energy Home Challenge for 2 years running.