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Aloha everyone. I'm a newly converted addict to this website and to green building

Aloha everyone. I'm a newly converted addict to this website and to green building. I live in Hawaii, more specifically, the island of Maui, and I'm trying to find some info on how a high-performance home would look like here in Hawaii?

I guess more info that pertains to the type of weather in which I live. For example, we typically have the same weather year round, it rains pretty often here, hurricanes and tsunamis are threats, plus the salt water from the ocean, termites, etc. Any and all info pertaining to Hawaii would be awesome. Thanks again. I find myself reading a lot about things that we dont do here in Hawaii, such as heating our homes, lol. I dont mean to laugh at that but only homes that live higher in elevation may have a fireplace. Heating your home here is almost nonexistent. If we get cold here, we put on clothes, lol, and shut the windows. We do have a pretty breezy climate with trade winds coming out of the NE typically. Winds from the South bring the humidity which can make life uncomfortable, lol. Again, I know other places deal with far worst things and that's why they build homes in those places a certain way. I just wish there was a place I can go to to read about building a high performance home specifically here in my backyard. Thanks again everyone.

Asked by Isaiah Kamalii-Ligsay
Posted Jul 5, 2014 4:45 PM ET
Edited Jul 6, 2014 5:37 AM ET


6 Answers

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Almost all homes in Hawaii are already high-performance homes, if you define high-performance to mean low-energy. You are blessed to live in a climate that does not require space conditioning.

Since there is no need to heat your home, the only question is whether to include air conditioning. If you're happy living without air conditioning, you are all set.

If your house has no heating system and no air conditioning, you don't really have to worry about insulation -- unless you live in a location that gets uncomfortably hot, in which case you might want to include insulation or a radiant barrier in your roof assembly to limit overheating.

I imagine that it makes sense to design your house for good natural ventilation, with generous windows and doors that allow for cross-ventilation.

If you want to lower your consumption of electricity, choose energy-efficient appliances, and specify CFL or LED lighting. Consider installing a PV array on your roof or in your yard.

Finally, if you want your house to be green, you probably want to minimize the environmental impact of your home. The means it's important to keep your house as small as possible, to limit the footprint of the house and the quantity of materials needed to build it.

Answered by Martin Holladay
Posted Jul 6, 2014 6:16 AM ET


Rub it in Isaiah... My t-shirts and shorts are already packed in a carry on. Have green high performance knowledge will travel.

As to learning about building in Hawaii try stopping in on a few homes being built. I do and always find something to interest me good bad and ugly. Ask around to find out who is building homes as you desire. If they don't exist I'm moving.

Answered by aj builder, Upstate NY Zone 6a
Posted Jul 6, 2014 9:37 AM ET


Thank you Martin for the response. I really appreciate having the ability to leverage your knowledge and experience through this site. That alone is worth the subscription.
Thank you for expressing that point of view to me. As much as I read on this site, I never connected the dots, which makes me feel very foolish. So with the absence of heating and cooling mechanical equipment, we're already ahead of the curve from an energy use stand point. Ok check. Some insulation vs non-insulated with a radiant barrier to prevent overheating, check. That leads me to think that having a super insulated home in Hawaii would make it a comfortable home being that the sun's heat wouldnt infiltrate the building in the first place. At what point do you think a home in Hawaii would have too much insulation? I guess i could look up what the code is for hawaii to get what is required for a home here and then go from there.

Answered by Isaiah Kamalii-Ligsay
Posted Jul 6, 2014 2:52 PM ET


Sorry Aj Builder, lol, I didnt mean to do that. But upstate NY is beautiful from the pictures I see. There are a couple of established companies here, at least ones that pop up on google search for building homes in hawaii, that have/offer packaged homes, for example, honsador.com and hpmhawaii.com. Infact, could you guys review these companies? I mean, for a newby like me looking into building a home in the near future, I know nothing about home construction and all of its complexities. After reading a lot of material on this site, at least I know where to go to get information but it would give me peace of mind knowing that the people at GBA acknowledge endorse recommend affiliate with these companies in our local area or any area around the united states. Im sure im not the only one. Thank you.

Answered by Isaiah Kamalii-Ligsay
Posted Jul 6, 2014 3:21 PM ET


There's a Hawaiian chapter of the US Green Building Council - probably a good place to start. http://www.usgbchawaii.org/

Answered by Dan Kolbert
Posted Jul 6, 2014 7:02 PM ET


Thank you very much Dan. I've been perusing their sites and have found a lot more information. Thank you again, now I've got a lot more material to read.

Answered by Isaiah Kamalii-Ligsay
Posted Jul 6, 2014 9:20 PM ET

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