Green Building is not expensive, it is not unusual, and it should not be considered a unique approach. Green Building should be done by all builders, demanded by all clients, standard for all neighborhoods. It is though unfortunately not the typical in Harrisonburg. It is taking hold, it is growing stronger, and you can now see it being built, but for every green home, there are many others that are not focused on energy efficiency, durability, and health.
In Crossroads Farm, we have a home under construction. The builder came to the project already familiar with ‘green’ building so change was not needed. It was refreshing to have a team that was already on the same page. My client wanted to work with us because we understand energy-efficient, durable, healthy design and a selected builder that can deliver it.
We designed this high performance home for a client that has been a friend for several years. It has been a fun project to work on and now that it is taking shape, fun to see the results of all our design work. This is not the first green home I have designed, after all, I have been doing this since getting out of graduate school in 2003. However, this is the first green home I have done in Harrisonburg and with this builder. Some of the things that are standards in other markets are brand new here. They are tested and I know they work, but being new here, there is always discussion. So working with the builder already familiar with green building has been great, I have learned some new things and I think he has learned some new things. The project is well on its way to being one of the most efficient homes in Crossroads Farm. It will not stand out as different when it is done. In fact, it is designed to work with the site as much as possible and blend into the vegetated background, so literally will not stand out on the site. The home owners will see the difference in their electric bills, in the durability of the home, and in the indoor air quality. Visitors probably will not notice, but the clean air inside the home will revive them and give them energy. It will reduce allergy season for my clients. It will be an oasis for them to rest and relax. Green Building is not only about conservation, it is about healthy design. Working with a contractor that understands that there are ‘other’ ways of doing things makes this possible.
So let me know what you think about our work. If you want a tour of the home, just let me know, I am certainly proud of what we are creating. If you have questions about ‘green’ construction, feel free to send me your questions.
It is very important that you involve someone who understands building science in your decision to build or renovate your home. Don’t accept “because that is the way we always do it” as an answer as we have learned lessons about why we should not do some things. This home under construction in Crossroads Farm was designed to be a high performance project. There are little items that change in design that make a huge difference for the construction and it takes a slight learning curve to get it just right. Most builders are not spending their time learning about the latest thinking in building science, but rather working hard to keep up with their current projects. A building scientist spends a tremendous amount of time researching and understanding how buildings work. As an architect that is focused on building science, I am able to use the knowledge gained through research to help you live healthier and more energy-efficient.
Looking through the neighborhood at Crossroads Farm you can quickly see that this neighborhood is all about views. The home that we designed and that is now under construction situated in an ideal place to provide the home owners with access to the views, but also the privacy that is lacking in many of the home sites. The selection of the lot was critical to the success of creating this oasis within a golf course community. With a nature preserve behind the home and a slope to the street in front, only invited guests to the rear ‘party area’ get the full pleasure of experiencing the home. While many of the homes in this community are impressive, I believe this one goes beyond the normal in offering curb appeal and functionality combined with privacy and a sense of place.
Update on blog from April:
Ground breaking is scheduled this week for a high performance home in Crossroads Farm. The home is being built by Aaron Yoder of A. M. Yoder and Co. If you have questions about this project or if you want a home with very low energy bills, give me a call!
The design process is a process of conversations between the architect and owner. We use multiple tools to help pull the space together into the dream home. This rendering was done to help identify color selections on the home. Please forgive the landscaping in the model.
The site work and foundation process is slow with little to see. However, the framing process, with an efficient design, is quick and you can see the start of your project really taking shape.
One of the most common comments when I meet someone new and they ask me what I do for a living is “I wanted to be an architect when I was a kid.” I find it very interesting that so many people wanted to be architects and so many took another route for various reasons. One of the big ones I am sure is that most architectural schools are designed specifically to weed out those that don’t LOVE architecture. It is a tough major and limits your ability to do other things – party, hang out, sleep… Anyway, I also wonder how many people who wanted to be an architect understand what we do. So here is a description of a typical day in the life of an architect – at least as typical as a day can be with so many varied projects.
6:00 am wake up, get the kids up, get ready for work, fix breakfast
7:00 am leave the house headed to drop my youngest off at Pre-school
7:30 am drop off at Pre-school
7:45 am stop at Post Office on the way in hoping for a fat envelope full of money – hasn’t come yet, but still hoping.
8:00 am arrive at the office
8:00 am – 10:00 am catch up on emails from the last two days. Focus on emails from existing clients, then onto potential new clients.
10:00 am review drawings for renovation job in Vienna to see what has been done while I was out the last two days (in Charlottesville running from meeting to meeting)
11:30 am leave for client meeting in Nelson County
1:00 pm Walk through existing house to review scope of work, discuss with contractor, talk about process with new client.
2:00 pm leave Nelson County for meeting in Ft. Defiance
3:00 pm walk job site for high performance home under construction. Answer questions for contractor. Review execution for compliance with design intent.
3:30 pm leave job site in Ft. Defiance going to job site in Crossroads Farm
4:00 pm arrive at job site in Crossroads Farm, look at progress made over the last few days. Hoping for some dry weather so this job can get going.
4:15 pm leave job site
4:30 pm arrive at EMHS to surprise wife and pick up daughter
5:00 pm arrive at home after a long day in the car
5:15 pm make dinner for the family, eat dinner, talk about favorite parts of our day.
6:30 pm get kids ready for bed, read story, sing song, say prayer, tuck them in
7:30 pm finally done with everything and can get back to work, check social media sites, tweet something worth reading, check blog stats (wow, that many people read my blog?)
8:00 pm stop playing on-line and actually get back to work. Make changes to the Vienna Renovation drawings, work out structural issues so that I can coordinate with partner in the morning, think through design issues that the builder might encounter
10:00 pm go to bed, tomorrow is a long day!