Well, the best thing to do is to hire DANNY FORSTER Design Studio. They really know what theyâ€™re doing over there. But, okay, if you canâ€™t hire me as your personal DESIGNER, which is the best way to go? Start with the simple stuff. Whereâ€™s the sun? Where are the windows? AND will my house be hot or cold as a result of these environmental and circumstantial factors. In other words, look to see if there are low-cost, passive strategies to help mitigate issues that would otherwise get picked up by heating and air conditioning systems. And then look at the materialsâ€”Whereâ€™s the wood and siding coming from? Is it traveling a great distance to get to your project? Are there local providers that can get you certified lumber? There are wonderful companies providing sustainable and affordable options for almost every material you need.
If you want to go further, you should consider whether a geothermal system is an option for your site. It takes longer to recoup an investment in solar panels, but if thatâ€™s not an issue, consider them as well.
Finally, all kidding aside, you should really consider hiring an architect. They will cost 10 percent of your budget or more, but they should be able to save you at least that amount with careful planning, careful spending, and . . . how do I put this gently? . . . by not making all the mistakes an amateur would make.