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Recent College Grad Builds Texas' First Platinum-rated Home
by Katy Purviance on 02/23/10 @ 11:46:42 am
Categories: Articles | 326 words | 1981 views

I just read this article in Natural Home Magazine by Robyn Griggs Lawrence about recent college grad Heather Ferrier and the house she built. It’s pretty awesome. I want to build a house.

Recent College Grad Builds a House

Mission Accomplished: A Superefficient Texas Home

With little money, recent college graduate Heather Ferrier wasn’t the likeliest candidate to build the greenest house in Texas.

Heather Ferrier grew up around green building. Her father, Don Ferrier, was crafting earth-sheltered homes in the Dallas/Fort Worth area in 1982. Heather began helping out around the construction company’s offices at age 9. When she graduated from college and later became general manager of Ferrier Construction, Heather wanted to build a deep green house. Not only did she crave a sunny, healthy place to live, but she was determined to show the world it could be done on a budget.

Because of mortgage stipulations and real estate minimum size requirements, Heather found she would have to build a roughly 2,000-square-foot house. That left her with a modest budget of $115 per square foot—and she wanted a house with some flair. “Most clients have much larger budgets, needless to say,” she says.

Her accomplishment is astounding. Her 2,028-square-foot passive solar home, built for $235,000, is the first home in Texas (the third in the United States) to get the U.S. Green Building Council’s highest Platinum ranking. It’s a prototype for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Building America program; was named the 2007 Dallas Builders’ Best Green Home; and won the Gold Energy Value Housing Award, which honors the nation’s energy-efficient elite. Nearly 4,000 people have toured the home.

“Heather wanted to dispel people’s grumblings that only the elite can afford a green home,” Don Ferrier says. Her goal of using the home as an educational tool has worked. “This house has really hit a nerve locally and nationally,” Heather says. “It’s caught the attention of a lot of people.”

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places where you could probably learn more about designing and building in just a few days than I did after a year of grad school

Know of some others I can add here? Let me know. Have you already visited some of these places...or planning on it? Let me know and I will feature your story and your photos here!

I am starting a new kind of architecture school. Unlike most architecture schools, you wouldn't have to submit GRE scores or good grades or letters of recommendation. You wouldn't have to put the rest of your life on hold for 3 to 5 years. You wouldn't have to accrue tens of thousands of dollars in debt. At my architecture school, anyone could come for a few weeks and learn how to build a house with their own two hands. My teachers would take skills and concepts from some of these other workshops I've listed above... except classes would be held year-round to make it easy to fit into your schedule. I would have a number of different campuses around the country that would teach building designs appropriate to the local climate. And I need your help. Can you donate land for a campus? Can you dotate books for a library? Can you teach a workshop? Can you provide start-up capital? Let me know.

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