Sustainable design is defined as "green" building design, construction and operation. Green buildings have four main characteristics:

Healthy, Safe and Comfortable

Energy Efficient

Resource Efficient

Affordable, Durable, and Maintainable

Did you know...

Typical building construction, use, and demolition, as well as the manufacturing of building materials, contribute significantly to environmental problems. In the United States, building accounts for:

Electricity consumption:
Total energy use:
Greenhouse gas emissions:
Raw material use:
Waste output:
Potable water consumption:

A typical 1700 sq ft. wood frame home requires the equivalent of clear cutting one acre of forest.

Design Basics

Choose a site that makes it easy to fulfill your objectives in your climate. Access your needs carefully, so you can right size your home and plan for future needs. Orient your home for the most benefit from the sun and breezes and remember to place and size windows well. Design generous overhangs and include a covered porch. Keep it simple by reducing costs and problems. Now you are ready to build!

Recommended Sustainable Materials

We do not sell any of the products below; however, they are recommendations based on our research.


  • Typical Wood Framing w/ Icynene/Soy-based Insulation (waste)
  • Smart Panels (precision factory assembly)
  • SIP's (Structural Insulated Panels)
  • ICF or Insulated Concrete Forms (difficult for additions including windows & doors


  • Vinyl - Energy Star


  • Fiberglass - Energy Star


  • Metal w/ Roof Vents, Soffit Vents & Solar Attic Fans (if using Icynene insulation, roof vents & attic fans not needed)

    Exterior Wall Finish

  • Masonry
  • "Hardi" Siding


  • No V.O.C. or Low V.O.C. Point


  • Stained Concrete
  • Renewable Materials - ie: Bamboo, Cork
  • Recycled Materials - ie: Rubber
  • Natural Materials - ie: Linoleum

    Water Conservation & Heating

  • Rain Water Collection
  • Grey Water Treatment
  • Solar Water Heaters w/ Marathon Tanks
  • On Demand Tank-less Water Heater (gas)
  • Recirculation
  • Low Flush Toilets
  • Low-flow Shower Heads
  • In-line Heaters in Jacuzzi & Air Tubs


  • Energy Star Fixtures
  • Fluorescent Bulbs

    A/C (Consider home insulation type when calculating tonnage: If using Icynene reduce A/C tonnage)

  • Mnimum 13 SEER


  • Photovoltaic Panels (technology changing rapidly - suggest waiting 1-2 years)
  • Attic Fans
  • Tubular Skylights


  • Energy Star


  • Native Drought Resistant Plants
  • Topsoil Containing 25% Compost
  • Shade Trees Close to House (focus on West, East and South)
  • Mulch Plant Beds to Block Out Weeds and Maintain Soil Moisture around Roots