The planning stage of our homebuilding process

I finally had time to take a break from the undertakings of planning out the particulars of our new eco-friendly home, and think about our progress and some things to keep in mind going forward. So far, we’ve selected a 2.2 acre lot in Eastern Connecticut where we plan to build, and we’ve consulted with an architect firm, Point One Architects, who are beginning to draft blueprints and 3D models.

The planning stage of our homebuilding process is a series of conversations more than anything else. I’ve spoken with the architects about nearly everything — the features of our land, what the home will look like, and the potential for its inner workings. My meetings with the professionals who are helping us build our home are something I enjoy the most — each time I’ve built a home, there are takeaways on both sides that stretch beyond walking through a brand new front door.

Since I like to participate as much as I can in the homebuilding process, one of the big takeaways for me is learning new approaches, techniques, and listening to the professionals I work with tell me about their experiences. Whether it’s the building inspector, the land surveyor, a general contractor or other licensed professional, I always remember to treat our meetings as a learning experience.

If you’re like me, you’ll want to have a firm understanding of what the terms “comfort” and “renewables” mean to you before you start your project. If you’ve ever been inside a building where the temperature feels perfect and the air quality is good, then you’ve begun to understand indoor comfort. Since I know what I want the inside of my home to feel like, I can set expectations with any licensed professional who I end up working with.

Building a custom home means that you have a great deal more control over the process. I plan to balance indoor comfort with renewables — appliances and systems powered by alternative energy that will reduce the overall energy consumption of my home. For this project, we'll also incorporate energy-saving features into the wall construction and skeleton of the structure.

We have a lot to accomplish going forward — if you’ve been at this stage in your homebuilding process, my wife and I would like to hear from you. We haven’t yet completely decided which eco-friendly materials and components we plan to use, but we’d love it if you shared your experiences and tips.

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