Dave Berry once said that the easiest way to cover a subject was with a question and answer format. He said it worked best when he made up both the questions and answers so having no shame in using other’s ideas I’m going to go with Dave’s.
Question: What size should my home be?
Answer: The size you can live with. Truth is we can all get by with a very small space. I spent 8 years sharing a dorm room, (sometimes with 2 other roommates) and we survived. Then the last year of undergraduate school I married and moved into a basement apartment that felt even smaller than the dorm room. The bath was about 4 feet square and in a corner of the living room, yet managed to have the 3 most important fixtures you expect in such a room. So small can be done, but is that the best? Not necessarily. We need to have environments that keep us balanced. A place we want to go, where we can be comfortable, that we enjoy. So what will provide that for you? I have a friend that makes his decisions on cost per square foot (I’m trying to convert him and I’m making some headway). So for him a box is (was) just fine, and if that is your need stick to it. But most of us want something that is pleasing to our style; colors we find enjoyable and rooms that are just right. We have to balance our finite dollars, all the household member’s wishes, what the building jurisdictions require, and figure out how all this will come together. I don’t have a formula for the best size but your home should be small enough to be affordable yet large enough to be enjoyable. Yep, we really want you to enjoy your home, not just live there.
Question: You haven’t helped me very much here. Can’t you give me better guidelines on the size of home I need?
Answer: Maybe a little, but not much. However, we can show you one of our many plans or design a custom home for you that will meet your needs. (Sorry, slipped into a commercial there.) We want neighbors that are enjoying themselves, not neighbors that are unhappy in a restrictive box, I remember too well touring high-rise buildings in Czechoslovakia in 1966 which were adequate, but not enjoyable. Drive through one of our many neighborhoods that we have built over the last 60 + years and notice how the homes are varied in size, shape, color. (Oops, another commercial, but I am glad that we plan the placement of each home so that there is variety.)
KINDA SMALL COMMERCIAL – WHEN BUILDING A HOME WITH US WE GIVE YOU A DETAILED PRICE OUT THAT SHOWS WHERE EACH DOLLAR GOES SO YOU CAN MAKE THE CHOICES TO BALANCE OUT YOUR NEEDS. AND WE HAVE A SALES PERSON, A HOME DESIGNER, AND AN INTERIOR DESIGNER ON STAFF THAT ARE HERE TO HELP YOU. WHAT’S MORE THEY’RE VERY NICE AND NOT PUSHY.
Question: What is the most important thing I can do to make my home energy efficient?
Answer: Put on a sweater, turn down the thermostat in the winter and up in the summer, turn off the lights when not needed, keep the music low (okay, that may not help but my old ears are getting fragile). Now playing the part of your strict aunt with the wavering voice “Well dear, if you’re serious about him you need to let him know.” i.e. You are the biggest player in how big or small your utility bill is. There are many more things that will help control your energy costs and we’ll get to those later, but the hard truth is your lifestyle has the most impact. You know, hypermiling versus drag racing.
Question: So what are the building things that can make my home energy efficient?
Answer: Stay tuned.
May you find the home you envision.