9 Mistakes to Avoid When Designing Your Healthy and Sustainable Home That Will Save You Money

By: Kate HambletOctober 26, 2023

Building your home is an exciting endeavor, but it can quickly turn into a financial nightmare if you’re not adequately prepared. Many people underestimate the complexities of the home design process, which can lead to costly mistakes later in the project. 

To help you navigate this journey successfully and save money, I’ve compiled a list of nine common mistakes to avoid while designing your wellness-focused and sustainable renovation or new home build. Designing your forever home to suit your family's goals and values should be an amazing experience, and these tips will help you get things right and enjoy the process.

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1. Not Educating Yourself on the Process

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is not taking the time to educate yourself on the entire home design process from zoning regulations to design considerations.  Before you start, make sure you familiarize yourself with and understand all the necessary steps, timeframes, and needs that are a part of the process. Research the zoning laws in your area, familiarize yourself with building codes, and learn about the design process. Knowledge is power, and being informed from the start can prevent costly errors later on.

Download my free guide that walks you through each step of the design process.

2. Failing to Define Your Goals and Intentions

Without a clear vision, you’re bound to make misguided decisions throughout the design and construction phases. Define your goals, purpose statement, and values early in the process. Outlining what you want to accomplish with your house will help guide your choices and ensure that your home aligns with your vision.

3. Choosing the Wrong Builder

Selecting the right builder is crucial to the success of your project. A quality builder who understands your goals and preferences can save you money in the long run. Most builders are still not aware of healthy and sustainable building techniques so it will require extra work to find a contractor that's in alignment with your values. Take your time to research and interview potential builders. Check their track record, review previous projects, and ask for references before deciding.

4. Neglecting Land Research

Whether you’re building on a new plot of land or renovating an existing property, conducting thorough land research is essential. A site analysis before you buy the land is crucial to make sure the site can provide healthy and sustainable features such as access to south-facing sun for passive solar heating. Investigate soil quality, check for wetlands, assess zoning restrictions, and understand any covenants that may apply. Failing to do so can result in unexpected delays and expenses.

5. Dismissing Sustainable and Healthy Design Strategies

Just because sustainable and healthy design strategies seem expensive upfront, do not dismiss them! While they may have a higher initial cost, the long-term benefits far outweigh the investment. Sustainable features can save you money on energy bills, offer more durable materials, and contribute to a healthier living environment (which can save you money on health expenses in the future).

6. Ignoring Orientation

The orientation of your home plays a significant role in energy efficiency and comfort. Failing to consider this aspect can lead to higher heating and cooling costs. Make sure your home is designed to take advantage of natural light and climate conditions in your area.  This means designing the shape of your home to allow for lots of access to southern sun (if you live in the northern hemisphere), along with suitable design strategies to protect the home from overheating in the summer.  This allows for passive heating in the winter, solar panel potential, and natural daylight coming into your home throughout the day.

7. Rushing the Layout

Designing the layout of your home is a critical step. Take the time to get it right in the design phase first, as moving walls during construction is far costlier. Ensure that each room functions as intended and consider factors such as traffic flow, lines of sight, and storage.

8. Overlooking Furniture in the Floor Plans

Including furniture in your floor plans is a practical step that can save you money. It helps you visualize the space and ensure that rooms are adequately sized. Measure your furniture and place it in your floor plans to avoid costly changes during construction.

9. Budget Mismatch

Lastly, one of the most common mistakes is not aligning your budget with your desires. Understand your budget constraints from the very beginning and have a realistic expectation of construction costs. This prevents you from overspending or having to redo your design due to budget limitations.

Final Thoughts:

Building your healthy and sustainable home is a significant undertaking, but it doesn’t have to be a financial burden. By avoiding these nine common mistakes and being well-prepared for the home-building process, you can save money and ensure that your new home reflects your vision and values. Remember, the key to a successful project is knowledge, careful planning, and choosing the right partners to be a part of your journey.

***Looking for more guidance?***

Introducing the Healthy Home Design Toolkit.

 The healthy home design toolkit is an online program filled with video lessons, spreadsheets, checklists, and guides designed to take you from feeling overwhelmed, unprepared, and lost...

to empowered, educated, excited, and prepared so you can create the perfect healthy home that meets your family’s goals and values.

With the Toolkit, You'll Have The Tools You Need To...

  • Make educated decisions about the home planning process
  • Create a functional and comfortable home layout 
  • Select healthy and sustainable material options
  • Decide what building methods to choose
  • Confidently share your decisions with your contractor and/or design team!

Learn more here.

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