From floor plan to completion, thousands of decisions must be made in building a home, and the one driving force behind all is budget. I know there are lucky souls out there that can spend at whim, but I am not one of them. An architect to me sounded pricey, so I had to seriously consider the necessity before making the call. After my partner and I gave it some thought we realized that with our eco-friendly concept and desire to do things right from the ground up, we needed an architect both for the Idea House and that we could refer our clients to in the future.
The very essence of an eco-friendly home is the fact that all components work together holistically to operate in the most efficient manner. A great deal of energy can be wasted simply by how the home faces the sun or where windows are placed. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that we would be starting at a disadvantage if we didn't employ someone with green building experience to oversee our plans.
The architect that we are currently considering has a firm with offices in both Lexington and Louisville, Ky., and considerable experience. Once we see his suggestions and plans in writing, I will be glad to share some of his best tips.
To start, here are a few suggestions he has already made:
Install a solar attic fan to vent the space
Provide sub-slab radon mitigation system with integral exhaust fan vented outdoors
Provide faucet aerators at all sinks and low flow shower heads
These are three easy and not too pricey elements that we will now consider, and both the solar attic fan and the faucet aerators are elements that any current homeowner could install to help their homes become more efficient.
When considering whether or not to employ an architect in your building process, do research in your area and ask reputable builders and friends who have built homes recently who they used and what they thought about their experience.
Also, the price will vary greatly depending on the amount of time the architect will spend on your project. You may find that a simple consultation on existing plans will fit right in your budget. Or, if you have someone draw up the plans from scratch that you have always dreamed about but have never been able to find in a book, it would be worth every penny to have exactly what you want.
And most importantly, make sure that you hire someone who is green minded. Not only will they help your vision come to life, but their suggestions could make your home more efficient and healthier in the process.
Kelly Emerine is the marketing director for Magnolia Farms in Elizabethtown, Ky. Magnolia Farms will be the first eco-friendly development of it's kind in Kentucky. With nine years of experience working in new construction and real estate, she is excited to combine her passion for homes with her interest in non-toxic, eco-friendly living. Kelly graduated from the University of Kentucky and is a proud mother of twin girls, wife, business owner and entrepreneur.