The Wise change their minds, Fools Never do.

I have been researching more and more about efficient living and Have came to the conclusion that Lynne and I are definitely on the right track. I found some calculators on some of the Sustainable living and energy efficiency websites to calculate some basic costs and expenses for our idea. To recap, I am looking at living in a 850-950 sq foot home, Building it new because I cant buy what I want. By building with 6" exterior walls, using current technology for insulation and over insulating the roof I found that average annual heating costs in the Northern climates like Michigan and Minnesota are around $25.00 per month based on current Propane gas prices. Electrical Cooling would be about the same. This is based on a internal set temperature of 70 Deg F in the home without a setback thermostat.

Adding old technology like siting the home south facing with solar glazing windows to get solar heat gain in the winter months and the cost drops even further for winter heating, increases a bit for summer cooling without adding a longer overhang to shade the windows during summer.

A 2 bed 2 bath home that is about 900 sq feet with lots of modern luxuries like ample storage, skylights, vaulted ceilings, Whole house Audio and Video as well as Home automation and even a Family room that converts into a home theater with a 108" screen and projector are possible. I also discovered that smaller and higher efficiency appliances are available here in the USA. Comppact Appliances here in the USA imports a lot of the common items available everywhere else in the world for the few of us looking to go efficient. By looking at their products I was ableto design a kitchen that was 8 1/2 by 9 feet that had every major appliance as well as a pantry and tons of counter space for full scale baking and cooking activities. Yes I went less luxury and only have 1 dishwasher in the kitchen instead of the typical 2 or 3 you find today in new "executive homes" but I think we can survive by roughing it with only one.

One of the Architects I like the designs of is Ross Chapin that cottage I have modified the design to increase the size to 900sq ft as well as rearrange things and increase usability and efficiency. Adding a 1/2 basement for utilities and a little storage as well as increasing to 2 bedrooms and 2 bath and increasing the wall thickness to 6" roof redesign to get more insulation up there as well as other efficiency changes. Laundry is added to the master bathroom, master closet is reduced in size to get rid of wasted space.

Honestly any small cottage design can become an elegant easy to maintain and low impact low expense home Oozing with elegance if you wanted to. Actually it's easy to add elegance. Solid marble counter tops are far easier to fit in as well as a Whole house crestron control and AV system as the cost of the home is 1/5th the price of most current homes. You can afford real stonework instead of the fake junk they put on the 4500-5000 sq foot homes in the subdivisions out there. Splurge and add real Teak wood trim instead of the low cost stuff the big homes have. etc... Plus you can add skylights all over the place so that lights dont need to be used for most of the day.

I really hope more people realize that the Home building industry and real estate industry are working against us by pushing for bigger homes. smaller is where it is at. they are better, nicer, higher technology and realistic in cost allowing you to use real brick, stone and even real wool carpeting if you desire. Lynne and I are sold, convinced that buying a large home is not only foolish, but just not a smart thing to do.


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