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9 Steps to Building an Eco-Friendly Addition

Master carpenter creates an energy-smart garage and workloft to accommodate two home businesses and the family car.
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The Wilson family hopes a Deep Energy Retrofit (DER) of their 70-year-old home will drastically reduce their power bills. As part of the major project, they have to demolish their old garage, plagued with energy-wasting leaks, and build a new energy efficient one.

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Step #1: Demolish the existing structure

Jeff recycled all of the aluminum siding, transferred some usable lumber to a farm house he owns out in the country, and sent windows and doors to a construction resale firm in town. "Regrettably, we had to put the rest in a dumpster and send it to a landfill," Jeff says.

This is a reality for many homeowners in communities where construction-waste recycling is not the norm. "I encourage people to check their local construction waste situation. It's different everywhere," Jeff says. "Doesn't pay to truck the stuff hundreds of miles to recycle it, though."

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Step #2: Raise the roof

Jeff built up — then out. He began by raising the roof of the home and maintaining that roof pitch in the new addition. That created more headroom to what was a cramped upstairs office space above his garage (the old door was only four feet tall). Now, the space has lofty 13-foot ceilings.

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Step #3: Lay the foundation

The old cement garage foundation was heaving and cracked, so it had to be replaced.

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