A Green Gab Podcast – Recorded Live at the St. Louis Home & Garden Show
Hibbs Homes is a custom home building company building high performance (a.k.a. green) homes in the St. Louis metropolitan area. While high performance and green building have gained a considerable following over the years, Kim states “you want the people who buy your homes and build with you to be happy – happy from a customer service standpoint and that comes along with building them a better home from a performance standpoint and that’s really what it’s all about.” Kim’s motto… “Do the right thing.”
Doing the right thing is a way of life for Kim Hibbs of Hibbs Homes – whether its building homes, being involved with the home building industry or just living life. Kim started his career in television and radio and had a 20-year career with media. Then he discovered his passion for home building and Hibbs Homes was born. He serves the home building industry and St. Louis community through his years of active involvement with the Home Builders Association of St. Louis, including serving as President in 2016 and chair of Advanced Building Systems and Technology Council (formerly the Green Building Council) and Custom Home Building Council.
What Peaked Your Interest in High Performance Green Home Building?
Hibbs Homes has been building high performance homes pretty much most of their history. Soon after Kim started building homes, he became active the STL Home Builders Association (HBA) and happened up the Green Building Council and the principles were incorporated into the homes Hibbs Homes builds.
While high performance homes are becoming increasingly more popular, Kim really wants the people who build and buy their homes to be happy. Happy from a customer service standpoint, and that comes with building them a better home from a performance standpoint. That’s really what it’s all about. 90 percent of the time Hibbs Homes are verified to some green or energy-efficient home certification program, whether it’s Energy Star, National Green Building Standard, or the HERS Index. While some clients don’t want that verification, their home still embodies the same building practices as other homes built by Hibbs Homes. Those building practices result in a home which is more efficient, more durable, more comfortable and has better indoor air quality all with lower maintenance.
“It’s just the right way to build a home mostly for our clients, mostly for the homeowner, but quite frankly I do feel better about the homes we build and the quality of the homes we build.” – Kim Hibbs
The Myth that High Performance Green Homes Cost More
One of the most common myths with green or high-performance homes is that they are more expensive. We’ve learned that it’s not. More importantly, the things that people really want out of their homes require a little extra love and that’s what people get with the green high-performance homes – that extra attention to detail, the extra care that’s put into the choices that for the home. Kim works with his clients to help them understand the most important decisions about their home. Especially for building the structure itself, since this is the only chance they get to do it right. People can change flooring, cabinetry, countertops, plumbing fixtures, and lights but can’t change how the wall was built (at least not without a lot of expense and challenge).
When remodeling or replacing things in a home – appliances, lights, plumbing and so on – get a little more knowledge and make a decision that up-levels just a little. There are some great choices out there and if a big or whole house remodel isn’t in the plans, those smaller choices in a home add up.
This whole idea of Green and High Performance is not just about environmental friendliness or the health, safety, comfort for homes. It’s also about Sustainability which means carrying it on into the future so our kids and our grandkids still have the home building industry and really great things in their homes to benefit them.
Thinking About Building a Custom Home?
Building a custom home is a different process from building a home with a subdivision builder (a.k.a. production builder). The custom home building process is a partnership between the home buyer and the builder. The strategies and steps here will help get the custom home building process started.
Contact your local Home Builders Association (HBA) or Building Industry Association (BIA) for a list of builders who are members. Many HBA/BIAs have this search on their websites. Members want the education and resources that’s available by being part of these organizations. Call the HBA/BIA and often they will be able to point you in the direction of 2 or 3 builders.
Custom homes are typically priced with one of two pricing models – Cost Plus or Fixed Cost. Cost Plus is “open book” where all costs are detailed and marked up a percentage. Fixed Cost is a flat cost to build a home, much like buying a subdivision home or an existing home. While there’s no right or wrong way, some people like to have more control over the costs. One downside to Cost Plus for the home buyer is more cost exposure for material price changes or unexpected items. With Fixed Cost, the builder provides a price and what will be built and it’s up to the builder to figure out any price changes of materials.
For a High-Performance or Green home or features, talk to potential builders to be sure they can really help you understand how to build a High-Performance home. Talk with some of their past clients and look at some of their homes. If a builder is not willing to let you contact their past clients or show you through a past client’s home, go the other direction. Especially in the custom field. To build a custom home, it’s important to put your team together and it’s so much better when everyone’s working together.
Kim’s Motto – “Do the right thing”
Visit the Green Gab Facebook page to see the Facebook Live of Podcast Recording with Kim Hibbs.
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