architects, cleveland, washington, sustainability, residential designWe have all heard of all the many fabulous and ingenious ideas that have been developed over the years for conserving energy consumption or ways of generating energy through renewable resources for both new and existing homes. Far too often it is soon discovered, however, these options are usually expensive and out of our budgetary parameters.

From its inception, a main goal of mine was to build an environmentally friendly home that I could afford and be so basic in its concepts that it could be used as a housing model for anywhere on our planet.

Previous writings have illustrated step-by-step methods of conserving and generating energy for my home’s operations just by taking advantage of what our planet already offers for free. Now I am going to discuss the way it is constructed, in a manner that is only slightly more expensive than conventional construction. The reason is it IS local conventional construction, only with a twist.

The construction methodology wood framing with a concrete “basement”, conventional to the Cleveland area. The only “twist” is the framing of my home is “beefed-up” a little to provide additional insulation. Instead of using 2” X 4”’s for the walls, I used 2” X 6”’s and so on.

It’s dimensioning is modular, incorporating standard sizes of conventional, “off the shelf” equipment and materials that are locally available. It’s construction techniques are also based on locally accepted building practices and methods. Customization of equipment, materials, and construction practices has been eliminated.

The selection of materials is also a subject that has been addressed. The exterior and interior finishes are aesthetically pleasing, renewable, recyclable, conventional, regional, and durable. The inherent quantities of each minimize the need for additional interior finishes, protective coatings, and virtually eliminates the need for maintenance.

By using what our planet has naturally offered and the most basic of construction methods, my home will greatly reduce waste, operational, and maintenance cost and do so within prevailing economic norms.

As an aside, The City of Cleveland has a 10-year real estate tax abatement program that will more than offset the cost of solar and wind equipment. In essence, when I build my house, receive my tax abatement, install my alternate energy systems, I will pay the same monthly mortgage payment as someone who did not build in Cleveland and I will never have to pay for my utilities ever again. Never.