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Free Green Makes making Green Home Designs Free for Everyone.

Free Green brings green building to midrange homes with free database of green house designs, with recommended products and vendors

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Online Database of Green House Plans

FreeGreen believe there is pent up demand for eco-design in the middle market. And to test the theory, they are giving away green house plans online, free of charge.

"At FreeGreen, our team of engineers and designers works with industry-leading product manufacturers to present you with different combinations of products, materials, and vendors. We also provide 3-dimensional images, energy simulations, and written descriptions to help you find the right fit for your lifestyle. Ultimately you and your builder will choose the products and materials that are right for your house. We just hope that our designs help you build the home you want."

Plans in the online database are searchable by a number of criteria, including square footage, bedroom count, lot size, and architectural style. Users can also search specifically for plans that incorporate green features such as zero energy systems, geothermal, green roofs, radiant heating, recycled materials, structured insulated panels (SIPs), insulated concrete forms (ICFs), and so on. Each plan is reviewed and vetted by a licensed architect prior to release. The company is currently developing a formal “technical review board” to include outside architects and building scientists.

FreeGreen Business Revenue Model

Unlike traditional purveyors of house plans, who may charge $750 to $2,000 per set of construction documents, FreeGreen’s business model works like this:

Plans are given away gratis to anyone with an Internet connection, and FreeGreen charges green vendors and retailers a slotting/performance fee in exchange for specifying their goods and services.

Users can view product performance ratings from third-party certifiers such as NAHB and LEED, and the use of sponsored products is not mandated.

In addition to free stock plans, FreeGreen also offers design customization and consultations (for a fee) to help buyers address real world site constraints once a location has been selected for building.

FreeGreen CEO David Wax explains, “Our job is to specify products that will fit well with our designs and achieve a certain energy performance,” he explains. “If you swap them out in the field, we can’t stop you, although the house may not perform in accordance with our energy models. We are very explicit about how each plan is supposed to be oriented and executed to achieve the energy performance we predict.”

Consumer and Builder Green House Plans

Although FreeGreen’s inaugural interface is geared more toward consumers, Wax says the company plans to introduce a “Builder Line” of plans in August with specifications tailored to the trade.

From Custom Building to Mainstream Green Building Services

Wax is one of five principals who co-founded FreeGreen as a spin-off of an earlier start-up, Zero Energy Design, an architecture firm specializing in upscale custom green architecture.

FreeGreen's house plans business presents a much bigger pipeline than a custom architectural firm provides to move green into the mainstream.

The demand for entry level and move-up sustainable homes] is there, Wax says. The problem has been that until now there was no access.

The founders have been working together solely on residential green design and construction projects for more than five years. During that time together they have designed and constructed (with their own hands) a national award-winning off-grid home, designed solar-powered green homes ranging in size from 700 to 7,000 square feet, conducted residential energy modeling for Fortune 500 companies, and consulted to heads of state on various foreign energy policies.

Free Green

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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