What to expect when working with Living Structures
Not every project calls for all the energy and resource-efficient features we’d like to use (see “Our Vision” for those). But there are basic standards that we use on every job, that make us much different than most building contractors.
- Comfort in compact spaces: One of the most essential ingredients in green building is to not build more than you really need. We have years of experience designing small spaces for the comfort and utility for their residents. We’ll encourage you to make the most of your present space, and add just the right amount of additional space when needed, rather than extravagant additions that will take more energy to build and operate.
- Passive heating and cooling: Good design is the best green building tool. We will work with you to maximize heat gain from the sun in the winter when you really need it, while excluding the sun’s heat in the summer when you don’t. We can also help you take advantage of breezes to cool your home in summer, minimizing the use of air conditioners and fans.
- Reducing waste: We take care to recover all recyclable wood. Any untreated wood with no paint or stain that is removed from existing structures or generated in our own construction is taken to a landscaping company that turns it into high-quality mulch for yards and gardens. We also recycle as much of our metal waste as possible, and dispose of paint through a paint recycling center.
- Your health, and ours: We don’t want to expose your family and pets to indoor air pollutants, and we don’t want to expose ourselves, either! We go out of our way to track down materials without VOC’s, formaldehyde, and other common construction chemicals. We also go to great lengths to protect your living space, as well as ourselves, from the fine dust that is always created on construction projects.
- Sustainable materials: Whenever possible, we choose materials with recycled content, such as the recycled plastic landscape timbers we recently installed in a pre-school playground. We also prefer to use FSC certified sustainably harvested wood in all applications.
- Energy-efficient fixtures: We always install the most energy-efficient bath and kitchen fans, light fixtures, and other features that we can. Proper lighting and ventilation are essential to your health and enjoyment of your home, but we’d also like them to cost you less and reduce your energy consumption as well.
These are basic building principles that we think should be the barest minimum for all builders. But you’d be surprised how many people are still building without regard for these principles!
For more cutting-edge green building features and techniques, see the section called “Our Vision”.