Ecology of the Built Environment

Building homes with ecology in mind means giving our planet a warm, eco-friendly hug!…

It’s about creating comfortable spaces using sustainable materials and energy-efficient tech. Let’s be good stewards of the environment, leaving a greener world for future generations. Together, we’ll build a harmonious and sustainable abode that brings joy to our hearts and the planet!

Personal Philosophies

If we build things of timeless beauty from an architectural standpoint, folks are less likely to destroy beautiful things. In contrast of we make ugly structures someone is much more like to not care for it or simply tear it down after it is not “useful” anymore.

From a structural standpoint if we make a hardy structure, not wasteful, but something that is built right it can last for 100-200 years. Longevity resulting from these first two points equates to less future material used for the replacement house and less junk in our landfills from the teardown. It is estimate that 40% of landfill usage is from the built environment. We must do our best to help that load.

We all want our houses to cost less to operate. Building envelope tightness and the efficiency of the equipment is paramount. In the majority of our structures we currently use spray foam insulation in the walls and roof underbelly creating a full and tight building envelope. Additionally, we seal and condition any unfinished basements and crawl spaces. This combination stops warm/cold air from entering the building, allows us to control humidity, and in turn allows us to operate our HVAC equipment in less drastic environments aiding in its efficiency. We always try to use the most efficient HVAC equipment available. Building tightness, keeping the elements out, and efficient equipment equates to lower energy bills and a decrease impact on the environment as a whole. The obvious uses of solar gain, appropriate roof overhangs, water economy are always incorporated as best we can.

Solar can be done for financial reasons or just because you simply want to use less carbon-based energy forms. Battery storage capacities have come a long quite a bit but are still costly. The needs of the solar array and potential battery storage are greatly influenced by the scaled demands of the building. In any case any energy created on site decreases demand on the greater grid. Geothermal HVAC systems offer tremendous savings due to efficiency, but the drilling of vertical wells is costly. In both cases, of solar and geothermal, the cost of the systems is based on front end cost, life cycle cost and possible federal and state tax credits. These credits change for year to year, per political motivations unfortunately. Bottom line is there are some great progresses being made in the renewable industries and the cost and efficiency of these systems makes them more and more desirable.

Another subject that has many nuances. The bottom line is wood is king…still. Wood gathers and stores carbon, creates oxygen, and when harvested grows back; all with very little energy needed along that path. Cement, steel, and asphalt base products consume depleting resources, and many require mass energy to create. Cement based siding may require less maintenance, but it requires significant resources to manufacture, further has zero character compared to the beautiful color dynamics of real wood. As we work our way through the specification process we will discuss all materials and the pros and cons of each; trim, doors species, siding, roofing, paint and stain products. The intent of these conversations will be based in ecology, maintenance, and cost.