You took my budget test in the beginning of the blog.  Then you spoke about your land needs in the last chapter.  If you are still moving forward with your green home project, then there is probably something to it.

Now let’s talk about your needs.  Your budget pages created a great guide for starting conversations about your needs.  Chances are, without much painful thought or argument you were able to fill out the entire checklist.

If you are working on this project with a partner then go ahead and grab your checklists from Chapters 3 through 5.  Fill out the corresponding pages to find out what portions of the project you both already agree on.  If it is just you building the project then this exercise will be easy.  You just need to make sure you adhere to your budget and stick to your choices from your budget worksheet.



Need Comparison



Enter corresponding numerical values from budget worksheet


You              Partner








Subfloor Joist


Foundation Wall


Finished Basement Percentage


Foundation Budget Average       ________   __________











Main Floor


Enter corresponding numerical values from budget worksheet


Percentage of Conventional Construction


Wall System Construction










Main Floor Budget Average            ______       ______


Second Floor


Loft Area Percentage


Exterior Siding








Wall System


Flooring Material


Roof Finish


Second Floor Budget Average         ______       ______

Now let’s take a look at how Tom and his wife Eva’s worksheets turned out.  Then I will show you how to analyze the information you have so far.


Tom’s Need Comparrison



Enter corresponding numerical values from budget worksheet


Tom               Eva


Land                                        1                          1


Driveway/Accessibility            2                         2


Engineering                              2                          3


Slab/Crawlspace/Basement     5                          5


Subfloor Joist                          1                          5

Foundation Wall                      3                          2


Finished Basement Percentage 4                          3


Foundation Budget Average     __3____   ____3______


When we analyze this section, we see that all the categories are relatively similar.  The most important agreeable point, the budget, is identical.  One glaring difference is the subfloor joist material.  After Tom spoke with his wife about this section of the home, they realized that her answer of 5 was caused by confusion about the actual material.  She assumed a green home would need concrete or steel, but quickly agreed that the more common conventional subfloor would suffice for the basement area.

Compromise like this should be common as we move from this portion on.  Overall the numbers are close enough and the similarities in the two worksheets are many.  We can feel comfortable that parties understand the foundation portion of the home and are in agreement on more than a majority of the major items.  Now let’s look at the main floor of the home.











Main Floor


Enter corresponding numerical values from budget worksheet.

Tom   Eva


Sinks                                                       3        3


Percentage Conventional Construction   3                  2


Wall System Construction                       3        3


Flooring                                                  1        2


Siding                                                     4         4


Fireplaces                                                1         2


Porches                                                  2         3


Ceiling                                                    5         5


Main Floor Budget Average              ___3___      __3___


Upon reviewing this section it is promising to see that the budget is still very similar.  Any major discrepancies need to be further investigated.  After discussing the differences in some of their numbers, Tom agreed that carpet was probably not the best choice for a tiny house.  He and Eva now plan to go with his wife’s choice of wood flooring.

On the porches they resolved to take a closer look in the next chapter of the blog when they begin the actual design of the home.  They also talked about a fireplace.  Due to the fact that a wood burning fireplace can be a major expense they agreed to investigate it further.  For now they are not going to pursue one. The major items of the main floor are in agreement thus far.  Now they move on to the second floor of the home, and so should you.


Second Floor


Tom    Eva


Loft Area Percentage                 1      2


Exterior Siding                                  1      3


Fireplaces                                         1      1


Porches                                             1      1


Sinks                                                1      1


Wall System                                      1      3


Flooring Material                               4      2


Roof Finish                                       3      5


Second Floor Budget Average     __2_     _2___


This section’s results were very similar in regards to budget, but when we take a closer look we realize that a few key areas have differences.

Eva wants a larger loft area, concrete board siding, wood floors, and a cedar shake roof.  Tom has created his budget sheet looking for a smaller loft, vinyl shake gables, a conventionally built gable system and a metal roof.  They both agree that nothing on the list is a deal breaker.  From the information they have, they can see that they both like the cedar shake look.  Tom has the shake look on the gable.  Eva has them on the roof.  A compromise can be found.

One of them wants an exotic hardwood and the other would like a regular milled hardwood.  This is another easy compromise.  They both like the look of a wood floor.  This is a decision that can be made later in the project when they see how their plan progresses.

Now take a look at both of your budget checklist floor by floor.  If your budgets are similar then there is hope.  If you see more than six extremely large contrasts, or your budgets on a single floor are off by more than two numerical values this is something you will need to work out with your construction partner.  Do this before moving onto the design stage.  Remember we are laying out the most important aspects of the project.  The more we can agree on and understand now the smoother the entire process will go.

Also double-check to make sure the major contrast scores are not because of indifference or misunderstanding.  On the first day of a project, many people (including me) would fail to understand exactly what a subfloor joist system is, or what is the proper material to use.  This provides a good opportunity to educate yourself further and talk as a team to make sure the base of your project is on solid ground.

So what does the checklist tell us?  All the number values that are identical are items that are already agreed upon.  You can go ahead place them on your need list.  This is assuming your budget and emergency savings numbers are still feasible.  Any items that have a slightly differing score can be talked through and negotiated.  Perhaps on items that are similar like Tom’s and Eva’s cedar shakes and flooring there is a common ground.

See what you can find compromise on.  Working as a team will be important throughout the entire process.  You need to perfect the decision making process now before you invite anyone else into the project.

Another item that you already know is the number of sinks.  This number will tell you the amount of bathrooms.  All you need to do is subtract one from the total number of sinks.  That is your number of bathrooms.  The only exception would be if you have a laundry sink or more than one kitchen.

Let’s take what we know and place it in the worksheet below as you begin to form your need list.


Number of Bathrooms :

Number of Bedrooms:

Foundation Square Footage:

Main Floor Square Footage:

Porch and Deck Square Footage:


Wall System:



Here is an example of Tom and Eva’s Need skeleton at this point in the process:


Number of Bathrooms:  1 Full 2 Halfs

Number of Bedrooms:  2

Foundation Square Footage:  1,100

Main Floor Square Footage:  1,100

Second Floor Square Footage:  200

Porch Square Footage:  200-600

Flooring:  Wood

Wall System:  Structural Insulated


Fireplaces: None


This makes up your basic set of needs.  Armed with this, your land, and your budget you are ready to start designing your own plan, find an existing plan, or hire someone to design a plan for you.  We will be constantly adding to this sheet throughout the design phase we are about to begin.  Be sure to keep your need list handy.  The need list and other worksheets can all be printed free of charge from
















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