For the past week I have been busy working on the Postgreen Homes Owner’s Manual for the 120k House. This needs to be done by the end of the month and, to be honest, it is a bigger project than I initially anticipated. Virtually every aspect of the house needs to be documented and explained. It also, in my opinion, needs to look pretty and be mildly entertaining. Perhaps this opinion is my downfall.
The owners manual, apart from being a LEED requirement, is an important part of passing our homes on to our buyers. Even without the odder features of our homes, there is plenty of information that needs to be presented with the house. Maintenance procedures, safety features, operational instructions and, to use a term I dislike, best practices should be included with the home every time it changes hands. Hopefully this manual will make it easy to do so.
The sustainable features of the home also take some extra explanation. Building a green home is, in reality, only the beginning of making that home green. A key role in the ongoing positive impact of the home falls on the shoulders of the owner. Educating the owner is almost as important as properly insulating the walls. If the person living in the house spends the summer with the windows open and the AC on high while constantly blow drying their 15 long-haired, show cats, much of the built in efficiency is lost. If they wash their walls with nail polish remover and dampen their copious throw rugs daily while the ventilation unit is set to its lowest setting, they could negatively effect the indoor air quality. The owners manual is one line of defense against these activities.
In addition, we will do a preliminary training session with our buyers and make ourselves available for questions (within reason). Hopefully, this effort will prevent the more drastically detrimental activities a homeowner might engage in. There are no guarantees, but we want the experience of living in our homes to be as positive as possible. This manual should convey much of the information that makes that possible.
So you can see what I’ve been doing, I’ve decided to share my draft table of contents for the manual. Take a look and tell me what you think. Many of the section titles might change and I am sure there are things to add, but I thought you might enjoy a look at this early stage in the process.
I apologize if these are difficult to read. If you have trouble, you can download the PDF version.
So, what am I missing? What else does this manual need? Can I get away with the casual tone? What else should we be doing to educate our buyers?
Throw your answers in the comment bin. We’ll be sure to read them.