While the most accurate method for obtaining the cost to build a sun-inspired home is to ask the proposed builder(s) to do an estimate from a Review Set, often an approximate cost range is first desired.  We’ve added some tips for budgeting at the bottom of our Construction Costs page on our web site. We wish it were possible to give you some s.f. costs, but the variables of your local labor pricing and the interior finishes that you choose would make those estimates inaccurate.

As with any consultant, if you pay the builder for his or her time, then you should receive a better estimate. Those type of planning fees are typically money well spent. When building a new home, the total planning fees should approximately equal the 6-7% realtor’s fee built into the price of an existing home and these can be financed in with the loan. For example, in addition to the house plans and architectural fees,  other planning fees might include one or more of the following: surveying, soil testing for both septic percolation and soil bearing, structural engineering, construction estimating, building permits, home energy rating and interior design.  An experienced builder is the main ally in obtaining these other services and Sun Plans can also provide opinions.

The builder will at least have to price to code minimum insulation values. An overview of the IECC insulation minimums by Climate Zone can be found in the link on the map to the right.  This is a good general guide although specific code requirements in your area may vary.  Our Custom Energy Specs typically exceed these since as a rule we aim for the newer 2011 Energy Star requirements as a minimum. Our specs also address the SHGC (solar heat gain coefficient) of the south-facing windows in detail to allow in the winter sun.

And what if you find out you cannot build the plans that you just purchased?  You can credit that Review Set to the Construction Prints of another design.  Even if you’ve already purchased the Construction Prints or CAD Files, Sun Plans allows a substantial credit on “blueprints” of another Sun Plan through our Clunker Trade-In!  (See all Specials)

In summary, if someone can afford to build a new home at all (this is between the home owner and their bank or financial adviser), then they can afford to build a Sun Plan. Or as some may say in relation to the reduced operating costs, they cannot afford NOT build a sun-inspired home.

As with any large undertaking, it’s best to plan for unknowns so a contingency fund of at least 5% is recommended when building any home.  Allowing a time cushion of a few months is also appropriate due to unforeseen circumstances which is the nature of construction.  Rushed projects can not only be more prone to mistakes, but also more costly.