Terms of Wisdom

It’s always nice to take a step back and look at the general progress you’ve made on a project. Reflecting on how my plans are unfolding and what’s going to happen next is usually something I try to do a few times throughout any project I’m working on, because reflection helps me focus on what I have done well, what I can do better, and how I can do my best work on what’s to come.

So far, my wife and I have made steady progress in our quest to build this new eco-friendly, comfortable home. We’ve cleared the land and have poured the foundation for the structure. As the concrete dries, my team is beginning to deliver lumber and other materials to the job site so that we can get going on the framing portion of our construction process.

Overall, I’m pretty satisfied with the way things are going so far. In this episode, I go over some terms and concepts that are important as we go forward in our project - namely, sustainability, engineered materials, certification, and beneficial landscaping.

Sustainability is an umbrella term that encompasses a variety of enhancements builders can make when building a new home or renovating an existing one. Engineered floor systems, advanced wall construction, high efficiency HVAC, and construction site recycling all fall under that category. Decisions I make at every junction of my project contribute to the overall sustainability of the home I am building.

As far achieving that sustainability, engineered materials can help lower my new home’s carbon footprint. Examples include an engineered flooring system, which can reduce pressure on the world’s forests by using composite materials. Spray foam insulation is another good example of an engineered material - it completely fills a home’s cavities and lower heating and cooling costs. The insulation I am using for my project is recycled insulation, which chalks up to a win-win for my project and the environment.

Certifications can show others that your project is environmentally sound. There are also a number of government incentives available for LEED, Energy Star and other certifications that can help make your project cost-effective. You can learn more about the HERS energy rating system and certifications here.

We haven’t quite decided what we will do for landscaping yet, but I do want to take advantage of some of Connecticut’s local flora in order to help my 2.2 acre parcel blend into the surrounding landscape and continue to provide ecosystem services to the other plants and animals that live nearby. Beneficial landscaping will certainly improve the forest landscape near my parcel and improve the health of our land.

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