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Thoughts and Suggestions on How to Start a Project

Starting Thoughts:

Image of blueprintsThose of us who have projects to be designed and built can be broken down into two basic groups: 1) The ones who have the money to do a project don't have the time to plan and do it right and 2) The ones who can take the time to plan and build things right don't have the money. Although these statements are made partly in jest there are elements of truth to them.

However, there is another quote that comes to mind that also is relevant here: "If all you have is a hammer then everything starts to look like a nail". We live in a world where there is a barrage of information coming at us from all directions and it seems that much of it is simply intended to fill time or sell us something. Therefore, when we have a project to be done that can have consequences if designed or constructed incorrectly, we often turn to assistance from reliable sources. The problem for many of us is, "How do we locate reliable sources?"

The vast majority of us start by asking friends, acquaintances, family members and peers in our professional networks how to start our project(s). In doing this we get a spectrum of answers, suggestions and opinions that may be of little actual value for us.

So How Should A Project Be Started?

There are certain initial steps involved in every project that help delineate the best path to follow. These steps will be broken down into links with brief descriptions that lead into the next series of steps or options available. The decisions involved as to what steps to take or paths to follow are yours, as the owner of the project.

Here are some of the very first steps with links to answers to follow:

Is your project residential or commercial in nature?

Is it new construction or is it a retrofit/remodel project?

Is the funding secured or is financing needed?

What are the restrictions and/or requirements you will encounter, as in:

  • Zoning
  • Building Codes
  • Energy Codes
  • ADA - Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Homeland Security - Personal Security
  • Durability - Resilience (Disaster Resistant Construction)
  • National Energy Efficiency Certification Programs
  • National Green/Sustainable Certification Programs
  • Renewable Energy Systems
  • Other Features/Considerations:
    • Green Roofs
    • Electric Vehicle Charging
    • Natural or Edible Landscaping
    • Water Conservation (Rainwater Catchment Systems)

 This list can go on and on but the simple answer to all of these questions and more can be answered by two words: Design Charrettes


Featured Project: Affordable Residential Retrofit on Tracy Avenue in KCMO

Here are some hard, yet real life, questions to answer:

Image of home on Tracy avenue in kansas city missouriWhat can be done about the foreclosed, abandoned and/or dilapidated homes, apartment buildings and other residential structures?

How can a person go about getting a residential retrofit that is effective yet economical?

Stay tuned while we answer these questions and more...

Actually and seriously, if a person has money or is able to obtain financing then the aspect of taking on a residential retrofit project is normally not overly daunting. 

However, if a person has been negatively affected by the recent downturn in the economy (and many people have) then what methods or options do they have to make their primary residence more comfortable, safe, healthy and energy efficient?

  • Are green (sustainable) products and technologies affordable?
  • What energy improvements make economic sense?
  • How can I get financing and will my utility savings cover my loan payments?

Historic green dot org logo

HistoricGreen.org has been perplexed by these very same questions but is in a position to determine the answers.

Are you interested in learning more about how HistoricGreen.org will use this affordable residential retrofit to learn about the pros and cons of these improvements? Please click on the following link to access the article:

Affordable Residential Retrofit on Tracy Avenue in Kansas City, MO

 (Photos taken by Ken Riead - Used with permission)

Featured Project: Keeping the Water Flowing During Emergencies

The ongoing availability of fresh, clean water is a growing concern all over the world.

In the western USA, severe water shortages are looming on the horizon, along with the smoke from all the seemingly endless fires.

Public Water Supply of Jackson County MO image of sign

In the midwest the concern about availability of water during and after a disaster is more prevalent. Most people are aware that it takes energy to move water through the pipes and deliver it to your tap. If the energy stops then so does the flow of water. Not good...

  • Perhaps it makes sense to explore various options to maintain power for the headquarters to keep the water flowing?
  • Maybe a ground-source heat pump might be cost-effective?
  • Adding a natural gas backup generator might also be a good idea and could be added to the upgrades as well.
  • Looks like there might be enough open land to install a large solar array...?
  • Perhaps this could be a demonstration project to show others how to prepare for potential disaster?

We should investigate this further, don't you think?

Please click the link below to get more information.

Keeping the Water Flowing During Emergencies

 (Photos taken by Ken Riead - Used with permission)

Public Water Supply of Jackson County MO image of front

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