"A home design without proper user or homeowner analysis is inadequate and erroneous."
After sustainable site planning is done to determine the optimal usage of the building lot, we (the designer, builder, and homeowner) can now focus on implementing a sustainable home design that will be suitable for the lot, environment, and homeowner.
Information gathered from the site analysis and homeowners criteria is used to shape and mold the flow and functionality of the homes floor plan design. In addition, other factors must be considered to create an efficient design by eliminating wasted floor space, designing to standard material sizes, and specifing green products and materials on the plans.
Eliminate wasted floor space
Green house plans are easy to recognized by its efficient floor plan design. A green home design makes use of every square foot of the home. Do you want to save money on construction and energy bills over the life of your home? Then your floor plans should be given special attention. Are you obtaining 100% usable space on the floor plan design? If not, try turning that wasted square footage into usable living space or eliminate it all together. If your floor plans are littered with dead pockets, poor traffic flow and function, you are literally throwing money out the window. Assume that at a cost of $120 per square foot to build, you can easily concede thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars in construction cost on useless floor space. House plans that have too much space and not enough thought put into the design process, waste thousands of dollars in building cost that carries over into the maintenance and operating cost over the life of the home.
Design using standard material sizes
If your home is designed in ratios that are complementary to standard sizes of construction materials, this greatly reduces the amount of waste collected on the construction job site and in a land fill.
Specify "Green" products and materials on the plans
Last but equally important is providing "green" specifications. It is incumbent upon the designer to clearly identify items on the custom house plans with the use of notes and schedules to provide a guidance and directions for the contractor to follow and develop a sustainable home. Green house plans should have specs based on the following criteria:
* Products made with recycled, salvaged, or agricultural waste
* Products that conserve natural resources
* Products free of toxic or other emissions
* Products that conserve energy and/or water
* Products that contribute to a healthy and safe environment
To keep in the spirit of Green design and build, these specifications should include as many local products and materials as possible. Using these guidelines as a foundation, you will be on your way to building a environmentally friendly home that is sustainable and healthy.