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Best Practices



This all-electric home includes slab-on-grade construction, double-stud walls, and a truss roof.

As soon as my contractor’s license came in the mail, I broke ground on a superinsulated, all-electric, net-zero house—my personal first, and the first one in my village of Spring Green, Wis. (population 1641; climate zone 6).

我对自己的计划充满信心,但对我的审查能力和监督分包商的能力感到不安,我需要执行它。我在制图板上度过了最后35年。我的工作现场经验仅限于快速冲刺,可以与客户见面并检查进度。我设计了数百个定制房屋,与可再生能源和自然建筑社区中的人们建立了宝贵的联系,并通过阅读文章来扩大我对产品,材料和能量智能构建细节的了解Fine Homebuilding,,,,轻型杂志,,,,and Green Building Advisor, and by attending the annual Midwest Renewable Energy Association Energy Fair. But I needed the right building team on board.

Rear exterior
壁板安装在杜邦的排水管上,包括水平覆盖的詹姆斯·哈迪手工艺纤维水泥板,上面有垂直的白松木船板 - 可用于其可生物降解的含量。

这house would be a demonstration home showing how to build with more sustainable, healthful materials, how to reduce waste, and how to maximize space in a modest footprint. It would be affordable and replicable. The informal open floor plan and modern sensibility, combined with rustic good looks and easy access to outdoor living, would appeal to retirees and young families alike.

An outdoor seating area is screened from neighbors and the hot sun but open to breezes and bucolic views. Photo by Amber Westerman.


Showing the house would help me walk the walk, not just continue to talk the talk, as I tried to steer my business away from conventional construction and outdated design solutions and…

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  1. 约翰·斯特劳斯||#1

    Bravo在一个漂亮的项目中,与5000平方英尺的“绿色家庭”和同样可怕的“ Barndominium”相反,该项目可能会产生真正的影响。

  2. 专家成员
    Malcolm Taylor||#2

    I'm reluctant to bring this up as this is a very nice and I think admirable project, but there is something way off about the hours of labour listed for the various tasks.


    1. 安东尼奥·奥利弗(Antonio Oliver)||#3


    2. Amber Westerman||#4

      Thank you, Malcolm. My purpose in sharing my quite possibly out-of-whack DIY hours is to give other aspiring owner-builders a realistic accounting of my experience. I did all the mudding and taping and painting but hadn't picked up my tools in over 20 years. I didn't have stilts or scaffolding---instead I dragged a step ladder along the length of a seam. Dumb maybe, but this is the way of some weekend warriors! My house is a solid demonstration of airtightness and low carbon footprint building---but not meant to be the paradigm of how to run a construction business. I had a blast doing it and I encourage other homeowners to give it a try (if their circumstances allow). Amber

    3. GBA编辑
      Kiley Jacques||#7


  3. 专家成员


  4. 尼克·达布里齐奥||#6

    Very nice work and design! Good luck...Mortgage rates are climbing back up towards historical norms (6-7% for 30 year mortgages), property tax and utility burdens are increasing (at the same time Trump's 2017 tax changes now limit SALT deductions), and inflation in material costs is the highest it has been in a generation. Thus the affordability of the typical suburban US home is becoming untenable for all but a chosen few. Thus, projects like this offer an alternative to the gargantuan "modern" home that middle class people may aspire to.....

  5. dackdotcom||#8

    Love the floor plan. Love Poem Homes. I have a lot of blog reading to look forward to. I was going to say I'd ditch the loft, but it's pretty ingenious:。我想知道琥珀会想到增加屋顶沥青以使该空间更加宜居。

    1. Amber Westerman||#9

      Thank you dackdotcom. The loft's main purpose was simply to "warm up" the space and provide a low ceiling upon entry into the house ala Frank Lloyd Wright. It also allowed me to keep the loft's floor joists open because the plumbing & electrical runs are on TOP of the floor (under the bench). A third purpose was to provide just a little bit of bulk storage in the attic-like spaces above each bathroom. It was only later (COVID) that I decided to tuck my office into one of the attic spaces and add the futon bench for sleepover guests. Yes, a taller wall and/or a steeper roof pitch would solve the problem of walking hunch-backed to work each day ;) Amber

    2. 专家成员
      Malcolm Taylor||#10


      琥珀解释说在你的链接,阁楼只有possible in its present form because it is not classified by the building code as habitable space. If the roof height is increased that triggers a series of additional requirements based on its use - like the necessity to include a railing, and if used for sleeping, an alternate means of egress etc. Incorporating these storage lofts into the living areas of the house without meeting these additional requirements makes them non-conforming from a code perspective.

      1. dackdotcom||#11


        1. 专家成员
          Malcolm Taylor||#12


          My own feeling is that's a good aim from the start. As in Amber's case, these storage lofts almost invariably morph into living spaces, and with that come the attendant problems of non-conformance and liability.

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