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Dale Cox Architects has found that not only are eco-friendly building practices better for the environment, they also tend to be more time- and cost-effective for the homeowner. The firm’s many green building initiatives include:

3-D Modeling

Every project is entered into a 3-D modeling (or BIM, Building Information Modeling) program to show the precise dimensions and placement for the home’s structure—to include floors, walls, roofing and windows—as well as the plumbing and mechanical and electrical systems. 3-D modeling answers all questions about the structure before going into the field, allowing the construction process to proceed more smoothly and efficiently.

Equipment & Appliances

Ground source heat pumps utilize a hydronic system to naturally pull heat from the earth. This system is far more efficient than traditional heating systems and runs solely on electricity. While the system costs slightly more upfront, most homeowners see a 50% reduction in heating and cooling costs, with paybacks noticeable in about four to five years. Tax rebates are currently available. The firm also uses many other eco-friendly appliances, such as low-flow showerheads, faucets and toilets, as well as LED and fluorescent lighting.

CAD CAM and Pre-Cut Construction

By utilizing the latest design and manufacturing technology, CAD CAM construction allows the architectural, engineering and build team the ability to completely model every structural component, whether wood or steel, for the house in a virtual environment, eliminating onsite construction errors prior to pre-cutting any materials. From the framing of the walls to the roofing, almost every aspect of a home can be factory pre-cut. Pre-cut homes are more cost effective, as they can be constructed much faster, sometimes in a matter of days, and all the necessary materials are built into the original price, leaving little room for human error or surprise costs. Factory pre-cut and fabrication also minimizes onsite waste and results in a tighter, more precise and efficient building.


Cross-laminated timbers (CLTs) and interlocking cross-laminated timbers (ICLTs) are exciting new products that are engineered as solid wood walls. CLTs and ICLTs are as strong as concrete, though much lighter. These panels are fire resistant and exhibit tremendous seismic performance and thermal mass heating storage; they have even been shown to have positive health benefits. Taken a step further, ICLTs utilize tongue and groove and dove-tailed joinery rather than chemical-heavy glues and adhesives, which eliminates any potential off-gassing. ICLTs are being produced from sustainably harvested forests as well as from dead-standing trees; the building material sequesters carbon that would normally be released, resulting in an extremely low environmental footprint.

Additional Initiatives

Material choices also include the use of manufactured lumber as well as reclaimed timbers, siding and stone, all sourced from within 500 miles. Other green building initiatives include over-insulating buildings, installing dual-pane windows and using a Life Finish exterior stain that never needs reapplied.