Even if you are very well informed on construction issues and home energy efficiency, you will need a team of professionals to help you in your new home or renovation project.
You should try hard to find an architect, a builder and other construction professionals who already have experience in energy-efficient building.
You should not have to pay for their education. Home building and remodeling are littered with pitfalls and difficulties, and the passion and knowledge of designers and building contractors are critical. Hence our strong recommendation: look for knowledgeable building professionals with experience in energy-efficient homes.
Looking for an architect
A good architect is vital to a successful construction project.
In renovation projects he can help you with the painting, the new windows and new appliances, the permits, and more.
In new homes he can help you to evaluate the site, define the size of the windows, the shape of the house, the type of foundation, and so on… Architects are a critical part of any home building project. A good architect can quickly pay for himself in reduced hassles, in more expedited processes, in materials research, in construction cost reductions.
But be aware. Most architects aren't well informed and knowledgeable, or experienced with low-energy homes. They can be very honest, but that’s not enough.
Besides, some architects are very specialized - in planning supervision and consulting, interior design, landscape architecture, construction management, space planning, lighting design - while others aren't.
Ways to find a good architect
Don’t despair if you can’t find a local architect with the knowledge you want. You can always consider an out-of-state architect. Many good architects are willing to take on projects in other parts of the country.
In the US you may contact the local office of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) for a referral. That’s a good starting place. You may also use the Net to find a green architect. Try for instance the US Green Building Council's GreenHomeGuide, or the GreenBuildingBlocks.