Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Our project estimate - do you really want to know?

I have created a spreadsheet of our house construction costs for those to see. It's still just a ballpark estimate, but you can see where we are putting our money into (Note: IKEA kitchen and bathrooms vs. rainwater collection, geothermal HVAC, swimming pool and SIPs).

The total comes out to $527K, but note that includes our soft costs, lot and swimming pool. We may decide to swallow designer fees (pay it out of our own pocket), as we are trying to get close to $500K as much as possible.
(4/3/08 - updating our budget right now)
I will update this when we get real numbers in and see if this number rises or falls!

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

That's really great of you to share the detail. Looking through the budget sort of affirmed my belief that everyone is a little different in where they want to spend their money.

The one thing that jumped out at me was the cost of the rainwater collection system. I gather it's this expensive because you plan to reprocess the water and use it indoors.

Would it make sense to just direct the rainwater to the grey water system and use it in the garden? I would think that would cut this expense a lot and still allow you to recycle the water.

I guess it depends on how much watering you plan to do. I know water is pretty expensive in Austin, and being a gardener, I hate to see all the parched yards when I visit.

-----
Bob

Jan & Myleen said...

Yeah, some people want to spend the money in Italian marble and others in IKEA kitchens :-). If you notice our appliances are pretty high-end, but our kitchen (which can easily be replaced) costs about $3000. Anyway, yes, the rainwater collection system replaces the well for us, as we will use it for our housing needs. Just the 20,000 gallon tank alone costs about $13,000 and we have to add installation and delivery so we are guestimating it at $20,000.

We don't have a lawn, as we will xeriscape for the most part. For the roof garden, we'll have a separate rain barrel for the plants/vegetation there, and graywater for anything that may require water surrounding the house.

Anonymous said...

That clears it up. I didn't realize you were using your rainwater as your primary water supply.

I'm still intrigued by your choice of toilets. You seem to have found a better price since you wrote about them earlier. I would worry a little about getting them repaired. Do they use standard parts?

----
Bob

Jan & Myleen said...

Update on graywater... we can't use it :-(, or we really CAN but it didn't become cost effective because if we plumb for a separate graywater system, we have to pay for a second septic system for the graywater, which can only come from our laundry machine in Texas. Since we don't wash clothes everyday, this would be very very little water, in which case doesn't justify buying another septic unit just for graywater. Besides that, since we're xeriscaping, our lawn should not require irrigation. Hope that makes sense.

Also, regarding Swedish toilets, Jan has complained long and hard about the American toilets here because of their wasteful water usage (although I know there are low flow options), but especially because of the toilet design. The opening leading from the toilet to the septic pipe is tiny compared to the Swedish opening, and therefore gets clogged very easily. Not only that, but the water levels are kept higher in American toilets and when flushed wastes even more water. In Swedish toilets, the water level is very low and standard toilets are 2 L (.5 gallon) to 4 L (1 gallon) per flush. Swedish people don't even know what a plunger is (Jan asked all his friends what that is in Swedish, but there's no such word for a toilet plunger!). They last a long time, but unfortunately, if a part breaks down, you will have to special order it from the Swedish toilet distributor. Check out
http://www.ifo-usa.com/
for ordering parts, the toilet system, etc. The cheapest one they have is probably $400, so there are more reasonable ones. If ever you go to Sweden, check out. :-)

Anonymous said...

That's disappointing about the grey water system. Saying you need a septic system for it is really saying they are treating it like black water. I like to think we are clever and forward-looking because we specified a grey water system in New Mexico. Truth is our builder always puts in a small grey water system, and the additional cost is only $1,000.

I am not crazy about the small water spot of the european toilets, but I understand the frustration with some American toilets. We've been very impressed with the Japanese brand, Toto. It's widely available and parts are standard, but if you like the small water spot, ifo may be the way to go.

----
Bob

Jan & Myleen said...

Yeah, Toto is great, as we used to have one which was a heck of a lot better than the American toilets.

Regarding graywater, for us here, it would cost approx. $3000 more with the plumber, and then however much (probably $5000 or more) for the separate septic tank. One thing the septic tank guy mentioned was that even with laundry washwater, if a future homeowner had cancer, that homeowner's washwater needs to be treated because of the person's chemo treatments which can get into the water. I didn't think of that, but I guess it's good to be aware of it!

Anonymous said...

Well I don't know about chemotherapy (and hope I don't have to know later). Do you have a sense of why a separate septic system is required? The overflow from ours just goes to our regular septic.

Anonymous said...

Actually if you get reasonably drought-tolerant landscaping, you probably won't miss the grey water system. We're in the chihuahuan desert, and grey water is an important priority (even the cactus grow better with a little supplemental water).

Jan & Myleen said...

I suppose the separate septic would be used to treat the graywater directly, even before going to the storage tank. I think the idea being that the water needs to be treated before being used to the outside. We were also thinking of doing the graywater storage tank with overflow going to our septic line, but then the additional cost of the extra septic to treat graywater did not make this a viable option for us. We don't wash clothes enough to justify the extra plumbing and septic tank.

Hope that answers your question!

Anonymous said...

It's interesting that the regulations are so different from state to state.

---
Bob

Jan & Myleen said...

I've updated the budget, and it's now in the 540's :-I.... unfortunately, costs are more, but we'll be finetuning this in the coming month.

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