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Clean is theTrend in Healthy Home Building

By HHI Staff

The current home building buzzwords of green and healthy are certainly important but not new to veteran builder Mark L. Hixson. Hixson, who owns Earthcraft Construction Inc., said he began to hear the terms green and healthy in about 1998. He’d been tuned in much longer than that.

 

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"Green building has its own inherent architecture, reflecting the Earth itself.

It is a synthesis of natural elements and good design."

 

-   Mark L. Hixson, Earthcraft Construction Inc.

 

“I’ve always been oriented to more green construction in building homes. I’ve always had an inclination towards it,” said Hixson, who is influenced by nature. Although in early years, he admits it was more about architecture than energy efficiency. “Green building has its own inherent architecture reflecting the earth itself. It is the synthesis of natural elements and good design.”

But for those interested in the construction of a new home, Hixson says the building buzzwords of green and healthy are going to mean the same thing. In fact, the newest of terms he uses is “clean,” as in building a clean home.

“The next phrase we are going to hear very often is ‘clean home,’ ” Hixson said. Clean homes are a natural progression in an industry that began to build much tighter, more energy efficient homes. “In the last 12 years, what the housing industry did was build homes so tight we trapped in the old, unhealthy products used to build the houses.” Building a “clean” home means building a home that is not only energy efficient and green; but one which uses the best of building practices so living in the home is healthy.

One concrete example of a clean build idea is to eliminate the two dirtiest things in the house – the duct work and the crawl space.

Ducts are probably the worst. Just 3 to 4 years after being put in, they are filthy,” he said. But, there is a solution. “Building a slab on grade eliminates the crawl space where ducts are generally located. Then we use the latest technology of a ductless system. Problem solved.”

The biggest question Hixson receives about green and healthy home building relates to cost. Everyone wants to know if it is more expensive. The answer is not as simple as yes or no.

“While building a green home, in most cases, is more expensive, it is possible to prioritize and offset that cost,” he said. Hixson added that using a design-build process, where the builder is also the designer of the home, means expenses can be prioritized throughout the design process so the cost of being green can be offset with good decisions in other areas.

Four Tips for Building a Green, Healthy Home

  1. Combine research with intuition in choosing your contractor. Not only should you listen to word of mouth references in choosing a contractor but research what expertise they offer and what techniques they will use. Along with references and research, trust your instincts. Since you will be working closely with them for a year, be sure you are comfortable and have a good personality match.
  2. Respect the process. Know up front that you are going to be frustrated with regulations, and know that isn’t just with green building. It is with any construction project. Keep your mind open to the fact that building is a process and remember your builder will get things done.
  3. Be a team player. Work as a team with your builder. The moment you stop being a team, it is not to your advantage. 
  4. Establish trust but verify. As the homeowner, make sure you understand how the financial process will proceed before ever starting the build. There should be a monthly process set in place. You should see paid bills. You should receive a lien release. In addition, homeowners must completely understand and take responsibility for what they want in the house. Be clear about your wants and needs in the house and be clear up front about what you are asking your builder to do.

Tips courtesy of Ron Hixson, veteran design-builder and owner of Earthcraft Construction Inc.

 

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Clean is theTrend in Healthy Home Building:  Created on June 24th, 2014.  Last Modified on June 24th, 2014

 

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