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If you’re building a custom home, there’s no reason to hold back. This is your dream palace, your sanctuary, the place you share with family. It needs to be perfect and that includes making it perfectly sustainable.

If you want to maximize sustainability in your custom home, hire a residential structural engineer, first thing! Structural engineering is a critical part of the custom home building process and shouldn’t be left as an afterthought. Starting with a structural engineer can help make your dreams come true.

What does a structural engineer do?

A residential structural engineer ensures that a home’s structure, it’s backbone, will withstand maximum forces from snow loads, monsoon winds, seismic activity, and support the general design of the home. They do this by analyzing the design, location, and materials planned for the custom home. Custom home plans need an engineer’s approval before work can begin. 

Why should I hire a structural engineer first?

Many architectural plans do not come ready for a stamp of approval from an engineer. The structural engineer will analyze the plans and calculate the safety of the structure as it is planned. They then may make recommendations for design or material changes before approving the plans. If you’re looking to design your new custom home, we have in-house designers who can work with our engineering staff to make sure your design is efficient and cost effective.

When you start with a structural engineer, you can avoid costly design changes because the design is built around the structure. This expands the possibilities of design! The structural engineers at PSE Consulting Engineers are also masters at sustainability and can take your design to the next level.

How can a structural engineer make my home sustainable?

A structural engineer can add sustainability to your design in a few different ways, including the use of materials, choice of building practices, the intelligence of design, and the cost-efficiency. 


Sustainability in homebuilding starts with your choice of materials. With everything from shipping containers and tire bales to rammed earth and ICFs, there’s no limit to your sustainable material choices. Each of these materials has advantages and drawbacks. A structural engineer will be able to help you choose the best material for your particular design dreams. 

Building Practices

Along with green materials come green building practices. A green building practice is something that maximizes efficiency and use of materials during the building process. This could mean building with fewer workers or needing less heavy machinery which would disturb the property’s landscape. Sustainable building practices can also be high-tech, such as the way SIP homes are digitally designed to produce minimal wasted materials during construction.

Intelligent Design

The great thing about a custom home is that you can design it to be anything you want—including designing for sustainability. Projects such as treehouses take into account the natural landscape, allowing you to build an organic home into the treetops in a sustainable way. From the positioning of windows for thermal efficiency to the shape of the rooms for maximum circulation, a structural engineer can design intelligently for sustainability. 

Cost Efficiency

Sustainability = efficiency, and that includes the cost savings. A sustainable home can be more economical to build due to reduced construction waste or labor needed. Sustainability also includes cost savings you can see for years to come. From energy-efficient insulation to incorporating solar panels, a structural engineer can save you money on your utility bills.

Build the Sustainable Home of Your Dreams

There’s no reason to settle for less than you want. Start your custom home design with a structural engineer from PSE Consulting Engineers. Our experienced team will work with you to determine the best way to add maximum sustainability to your home. Contact us today!