A time-detailed blog about our house project from start to finish. We are building a modern, green, energy efficient and healthy home in Austin, TX, in the heart of the hill country!
4 bed/3 bath 2419 sf or 225 sq m southwest contemporary style SIP home built on a 3 acre or 121 hectometer sq lot in austin's south lake travis area in the hill country designed by Ted Mengers of Pyranak Design Group.
So maybe you're curious or really need some tips on the whole "owner-builder" building process, but maybe you want to get with the Green kick and learn about eco-friendly, healthy or energy efficient features and methods that are in use today. You've come to the right place!
We want to implement the latest and best green design principles in the most cost-effective and/or affordable way. We are in the process of building our home in Austin, Texas (one of the hottest places in the U.S.) and feel we will be a good test case being in such a warm climate where we live in energy-sucking, air-conditioned abodes.
Our plan is to become LEED-H rated Platinum!
Here are the green design features we hope to have for our home:
- Rainwater collection
- Structural Insulated Panel (SIP) walls and roof
and check out these videos: SIPs video 1 (short), SIPs video 2 (longer)
- Geothermal cooling/heating
- All LED and compact flourescent light bulbs
- Low-slope roof lined styrofoam wedges and single-ply membrane
- PVs (Solar panels)
- Organic veg./fruit garden in the roof garden
- Natural air-purification by house plants
- Stained concrete floors with fly ash
- Bamboo flooring
- Space efficient design
- House orientation to sun
- No VOC paints (solvent-free, no volatile organic compounds)
- Graywater, no longer doing due to cost ineffectiveness, see the reason here on the 4th comment.
- Compost use
- Low-flow, high efficiency, large pipe/fast flush Swedish toilets
- Dual, low e, argon gas filled fiberglass windows
- All Energy Star, high efficiency appliances
- Use of recycled materials (for our concrete countertops and garage)
- Xeriscaping (does not require additional irrigation, using native plants/no lawn)
- Eco-smarte chlorine-free pool sanitation
We want to do a lot ourselves (DIY) and are trying our hardest to minimize costs without compromising quality. Also, we didn't think we would be owner-builders, but it saves a ton of money and you get to control cost, choice and quality a lot more, which we wanted to do. It's not an easy feat, but we are up for the challenge! Please visit us again to see our progress.
"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it."
- Upton Sinclair
"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."
- Albert Einstein