After much research, we have decided to build our retirement home in Federicksburg, Texas. We wanted a design which is as energy efficient as we can afford. Regrettably, passive solar design, even in central to south Texas, is still not affordable or understood well by most builders. In fact, it is still so "trendy" that if you mention it, the prices start going up immediately. Escpecially if you are wanting to build in an area where the building industry is fairly healthy and the builders do not need to take on special projects in order to make a living. We did, however, find another option: Real People Homes.
This company has developed a method for building which is supposed to reduce the construction costs and provide an energy efficient home. Framing is steel, insulation is styrofoam and all window and door openings, plumbing and electrical runs are built into the walls at the factory. The walls are then shipped to the site and erected on the foundation. Finishing is is generally stucco. This method of building is supposed to yeild higher R-factors than standard construction and allow for construction times which are one quarter of normal. So we decided on a Real People Home.