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Green Home Tour: DIY ICF House With Energy Star Rating


A customer service representative builds her energy-efficient dream home with a little help from a builder


I bought the property in Salisbury in 1988 with a future home in mind. It’s an 18-acre lot on the top of a southwest sloping hill. There is a spectacular view to the west, with a beaver pond below and Mt. Kearsarge in the distance. It took almost 19 years to get to the place where I could qualify for a construction loan. In that time, my idea of the ideal home went through an evolution, and lucky for me the process took so long, because I have a wonderful home to show for it. It is safe and efficient, it has many sustainable building practices and products incorporated, and every time I come home I am so grateful to all who had a part and supported me through the process.

The design became apparent over time

I had been doing drawings, looking at plans, and siting the house for years. I was very influenced by the Craftsman style of architecture and sustainable building practices and small house designs. I was thinking that I needed a SIP (structural insulated panel) frame and was looking for a builder. I was visiting my daughter, who is a designer of kitchens and baths, at her showroom. While parking my car, a truck pulled in beside me with SIP written on the door. I greeted the driver, and she explained that she and her husband had just opened their business in the same building and invited me in. To make a long story short, they were working with a builder whose work has been featured in Fine Homebuilding, and he was local. She showed me the article by Al Rossetto describing his home in Vermont, and put me in touch with him. I called Al, drove to see his home in Lancaster, and the project was launched.

DIY isn’t hard with a good mentor

It was a wonderful experience to work with Al. He has tremendous experience and knowledge, and works only with owner/builders. He convinced me that I could be the general contractor and put me in touch with all his trade contractors so that I had an idea of the price of the various steps in the process. I wanted to use local contractors as much as possible, and I was able to do that. I wanted to use sustainable practices and products, and that was Al’s intent as well. I started on March 28, 2007, and was issued my Certificate of Occupancy on March 28, 2008. One year, and I am truly living the dream. The year was filled with challenges and wonder. For more information on this home, see Foam Forms Create an Energy-Efficient Concrete House.

_—Rouleen Williams is a customer service representative for Southwest Airlines in Salisbury, N.H._


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