June 3rd, 2008
Below I posted my intentions to start a web site narrowing the available stock plans to ones that generally fit in the categories of sustainable and green. Both words are now official (to me at least) buzz words that are rapidly loosing their meaning due to so many people associating their products with “green” and “sustainable”. It is like the word “bungalow”. Do a Google search for bungalow plans and the same old multi-gabled stuff (being polite here) shows up, just relabeled.
While I do have specific goals for these new plans, as well as modifying some of the existing plans, I would very much appreciate hearing from people as to what they expect in this specific category of house plans. I am not going to simply relabel plans. I am especially interested in what spec builders are after. I would specifically like to know what your market would like, basically what constitutes a sellable product for you.
Would passive solar be a plus? (ie: solar green houses or “sun space”, solar mass walls, direct gain etc?)
Would a dedicated room for alternative mechanicals be important? (ie; would you be installing renewable energy products… solar water heating, photovoltaics or wind equipment?)
Would you install active solar panels to generate electricity?
Do you need assistance specifying sustainable products?
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If you need to attach something you can email me via the form/email link above and I will reply with a different address. If I put my “real” address in this blog I would be spammed to death over night. The spam robots are relentless.
thank you for your assistance.
November 28th, 2007
I would like to announce that I am starting a sister web site www.sustainablehouseplans.com. It most likely will be a while before I actually get the site online, but I am starting to shift my time from developing plans for this site, to designing plans for the new site. I would not mention it here, but the day after I registered the site name (yesterday), I needed to give out the new link to ASU, and this is what that link will open for the present time. So, if you linked here from there, sorry, but I’m not really here. However, I do have another site, and please visit that (www.thompsonplans.com)… and keep reading. The new link (sustainablehouseplans.com) will start showing up on a new web site related to a plan I donated to The NC State Energy Office and the Appalachian State University Energy Center. It was built by a Habitat affiliate in Hickory,NC and was the first Zero Energy Home (ZEH) built in North Carolina. My new plans will not necessarily be geared for the affordable housing market, but will maintain an Arts and Crafts feel with nice porches and warm detailing.
My interest has long been designing homes that are connected with the environment. Unfortunately, in the early 1980′s that was not what many of my clients were interested in. Despite my living and working out of a passive solar house that I built in Atlanta, very few clients had any interest in investing funds for solar features. I also loved the Arts and Crafts character, and since that is what my clients wanted, that is what I did. This web site grew out of that work.
Today we live in a different world. Everyday more people are becoming aware of the shortsightedness of using fossil fuels. “Green” is now the buzz word in advertising and marketing new homes. But, for the most part, this just implies product selection, and does not necessarily address the energy consumption issues to any great extent. I am starting the new site by reworking many of the existing house plans I have, and incorporate passive and active solar functionality. My intention for these new plans is to incorporate thermal mass storage as a fundamental heat source, along with room designated for photovoltaic systems. Some will incorporate attached solar greenhouses. All plans will have 2×6 wall construction, as well as other environmentally sound construction details.
If you have linked here from another site through the www.sustainablehouseplans.com link, please look around, and if any of the plans work for you, and you are also interested in solar considerations, email me. The new plans will be specifically oriented to work with the sun.
July 24th, 2007
Photos are now posted for Dianne’s studio.
If anyone has interest in this studio as a stock house plan, let me know. While it does have the flavor of a bungalow or craftsman style house plan, it is a just one room workshop. Much of the detailing was done as I got to that point in the construction, so to make a stock house plan out of it, would require some work since much of the detailing was not drawn out (except on the lumber:) However, this is the most fun to do, so I would like to if the interest is there.
June 2nd, 2007
Far from an eternal question, yet a situation threatening the American landscape for generations. The sad reality is some of the ugliest residential architecture of all time is what we have to view as we speed down the interstate. With each house having countless steep gables stacked on top of each other, one can feel they are being accosted by a rip saw blade. I am not a fan of the current state of the housing market, where the majority of homes being built are from the same basic few stock plan ideas. Most stock plans attempt to see how many gables they can “incorporate” into space. They look like a miniature mountain range. Unfortunately (especially for the future generations) the stock plan industry and the internet is facilitating this decline of aesthetics. “Form follows function”, made famous by Louis Sullivan is now “form follows ridges”. So, for the vast majority of stock plans, I say just say no.
Designing a home that that will provide the most for the people living in it, will most likely demand individual planning. Even on a fifty foot wide lot, there are site factors worth considering, not to mention the unique qualities of the people living there. However, we all know that takes many hours to do, and done by someone who knows what do look for, which makes it cost prohibitive for most people. But, that’s the truth.
This opinion is just that. It in no way represents the management or staff of this company.