We are the Lewandowski family and we're building a new house from the ground up. Our goal is to build a comfortable and efficient green home that works for our family. We want to prove that building green is the right choice for the environment, our lives and our pocketbook.

We invite you to come follow us during our adventure and learn along with us, how to build and live green.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


A good window is key in building any home.  With this house, we are trying to make sure it's as energy efficient as possible.  This means sealing the envelope of the house keeping air leaks out and heat/air conditioning in.  We checked out all the manufacturers we could think of and we liked Pella the best, but we were not totally convinced.  We used them before and I didn't like the way they tilted in to clean and there were a few issues with the locking mechanism but, the customer service was great so it ended up we were happy.  In our last house we used Eagle.  While we were happy with the windows, they were expensive and the sales rep seemed to care more about his golf game then our business so we decided against them this time.   Our friend Freyja (a landscape designer that you will hear about in the coming weeks) invited us to see a house she worked on in Oak Park.  This beautiful house was full of inspiration for building green.  Tony spent some time talking to the builder (One Watt Construction) asking him so many questions about the house.  He learned a lot about building a passive house and many of their ideas were incorporated into our home.  The windows in this house were spectacular.  Not only did they have the contemporary look we were looking for, they offer a true triple pane. In the end we went with Lowen. 

Our job has been going along well with very few bumps.  Well that is, until the windows arrive.....  Three of them were broken.  That happens.  If the rep would have been on site when they were delivered (like promised) he would have been able to come up with a plan on the spot with the carpenter on how to best solve this problem.  Because he wasn't there, the carpenter had to reject the broken windows and send them back with the truck.  Tony figured out a solution with the rep over the phone later that day and the broken windows were scheduled to be re-delivered and we will wait for the replacements to come in.  The Lowen guys can then pop the broken ones out and pop the new ones in.  Easy.  This protects the inside of the window frame from the weather, keeps the house dry so work can continue inside and allows the carpenters to continue working on the outside.  When the broken windows were re-delivered (again no rep on site as promised) the carpenters put them in as directed but there were no broken windows in them.  This means no protection covering the open space so of course the ran got in. When Tony called the rep he was basically told that it was our carpenters problem and not theirs.  Where's the customer service?

The thing that bothers me the most is the attitude.  We've done this a few times before so we know what service other companies provide.  In this economy you would think the various trades would be offering discounts and things just to get business when in fact, most are not.  They have bills and people to pay so they can't really discount all that much.  So where they SHOULD shine is in the area of customer service.  Word of mouth is the best advertisement.  I hope this isn't Lowen's way of doing business, just bad sales representation.  We are disappointed in they way Assured Corporation has been handling our customer service situation, but we do like the window.  Once this is repaired, I hope we don't have problems in the future because I'm sure we won't get any help from our rep.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Evan's Style

Isn't it fun?  Ok, there is nothing eco about it but it's filled with style and so is Evan.  She's been asking for this fixture for a few years but now with the new house we can finally make it happen.  The kids have always had input in their rooms.  They throw out a "theme" and I make it work.  This time we are pretty much letting them do their own thing; paint color, layout, flooring, the works.  She wants her walls black with an accent wall of hot pink and metallic wallpaper. (We're still looking for that but there are a lot of options.)  Evan is full of creative ideas.  She's big into fashion and loves to sew.  A skill I would love to learn one day.  She may even try to make her own curtains.  I can't wait to see how it all turns out. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Through the Roof

It's really starting to look like a house!
Last week the carpenters framed out the 3rd floor so we should be about ready for the plumber to come in and do his thing (venting). Then comes the roofing. The guys have been very patient with us taking photos, something that is a requirement for LEED. Tony took these last Friday. It's a good thing they are not afraid of heights.