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Sustainable Building Techniques for Your Home: An Interview with Brent Hughes of Majestic Peaks Custom Homes

By Brent Hughes

Please tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

Lindal Cedar Homes has been offering high-performance post and beam custom homes for over 70 years now. Lindal Homes are always on the cutting edge of the latest technology resulting in beautiful architecturally pleasing Modern and Classic homes. Our post and beam system easily accommodates large expanses of glass--both for passive solar gain and to "bring the outdoors in." We can literally deliver the materials to build our custom home design 'anywhere in the world'.

Can you briefly explain what a certified LEED building is?

LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices.

What are some key questions for a future "green" homeowner to ask before the design process begins?

Key questions include:

  • site orientation of home to take advantage of passive solar gain--and to reduce solar gain in summer months
  • to what level of "green" design are you willing to go--and budget for--i.e. solar voltaic systems are wonderful and the budget should be understood upfront
  • understand all options available to meet "green" definitions--from renewable resources to reforestation programs and sustainable sources

How popular are sustainable and energy-efficient homes? What are some of the top benefits for homeowners?

Every homeowner is interested in a high-performance, energy-efficient, well-thought-through home. They may not have to budget to include some of the more costly components such as photo voltaic and they may not even care to have the home necessarily documented and certified--but they still want the same performance a LEED Certified or NAHB Green Certified Home offers.

What are the most commonly used sustainable features in homes?

Sustainable features include framing materials from suppliers tied to reforestation programs as well as high-performance windows. Next, insulation is probably the single most important consideration in a high-performance home. Closed cell spray foam insulation offers the best performance and is particularly important to be used in the beam and rafter roof construction.

Passive solar design is a key ingredient to a self-heating home. Photo hot water and photovoltaic are major considerations for a sustainable home. These are the big ticket items, but it does not stop there. Consideration for all finishes right down to low VOC paint products and formaldehyde free finishes full fill the requirements of a green built home.

What are some of the biggest challenges when it comes to designing and building environmentally conscious homes?

The biggest challenge to environmentally conscious homes is "budget." To add in all of the ingredients available from today's technology, sometimes these options may not fit the budget requirements from the owner. It is very important to approach each and every home on a design/build approach so that the budget can be balanced perfectly for the client to achieve the min size and function required for the home owners and incorporate as much of the green options to fulfill the homeowners desire to be "green."

How do the costs of building and maintaining an eco-friendly home compare with those of a typical home?

An eco-friendly home can be done without any increase in construction costs if done correctly. To include all options available in the industry the costs can increase--with the consideration that these premium costs will be returned over a period of time with lowered utility costs. I find that along with modern design which has returned (and we have a lot to offer here), you can actually reduce the costs of the homes with the introduction of low maintenance exterior siding products--and simple clean interiors.

What's the best way for people to get in contact with your company?

The best way to get in touch with us is to email us at Info@MajesticPeaks.com or to check out our website at www.MajesticPeaks.com or www.Lindal.com/MajesticPeaks. We also always welcome a phone call at 970-240-9250 should anyone wish to discuss their dream home ideas in more detail.

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About The Author

Brent is a Civil Engineer, and a graduate of the University of Manitoba.

Phone: 970-240-9250

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