Can I replicate your construction techniques?
What is your average timeline schedule for a house to be built?
Does Make It Right act as a general contractor on its projects?
Does Make It Right use volunteers?
Can I volunteer with MAKE IT RIGHT?
How much do your houses cost per square foot?
How do you control construction costs?
How do you maintain quality control?
Do you recycle construction waste?
Is there a list of materials that Make It Right uses?
What materials are donated?
Can I submit products to be considered in your homes?
Do you get discounts for materials?
Are your houses solar powered?
Why don’t you do solar thermal?
What types of construction have you used for your houses? Do you have a favorite?
What type of insulation do you use?
What are your R-values?
What type of HVAC system do you use?
What kind of windows do you use?
What is Verve?
Why do you use cementitious fiber board instead of wood?
Do you use any PVC in the house?
Do you do graywater collection?
Do you design the landscape for the houses?
What is pervious concrete?
What is Cradle to Cradle?
Have you thought about doing the Living Building Challenge?
Do homeowners choose the design of their homes and the paint colors?
Why are your New Orleans homes so high off the ground?
Why are houses built on piles?
How deep are the piles in the ground?
Why not use CMU piles?
Are the houses built to be hurricane proof?
How are the windows protected in a hurricane?
Why do some homes have elevators and some do not?
Why do some houses have fences and some do not?

Can I replicate your construction techniques?

Yes. Our goal is to change the way buildings are built. By sharing what we’ve learned about green building in our Library and Laboratory, we hope homeowners and builders everywhere will adopt more sustainable practices in affordable residential construction. Because our homes and buildings are built to perform well in specific climates and typographies, please consult a licensed professional proficient with your region.

What is your average timeline schedule for a house to be built?

Our homes in New Orleans take 12 weeks on average to complete. Our multi-family buildings in Newark and Kansas City take about a year to complete.

Does Make It Right act as a general contractor on its projects?

No. Make It Right is committed to hiring and training local workers in green building practices. For this reason, we hire local general contractors and laborers to build our homes. We train them in green building methods and they are able to spread their skills in sustainable construction with the larger community. Make It Right serves as the site superintendent, ordering all materials, scheduling timelines, ensuring quality control and handling homeowner maintenance.

Does Make It Right use volunteers?

Make It Right is committed to hiring and training local workers in green building practices. Because of this commitment, we don’t use volunteers for daily construction work. We do sometimes ask for help with landscaping, gardening and light maintenance around our construction sites. If you would like to be notified of upcoming volunteer opportunities in New Orleans or Kansas City, please see our volunteer page.

Can I volunteer with MAKE IT RIGHT?

See our Volunteer page.

How much do your houses cost per square foot?

Currently our costs are between $220 – $130 per square foot.

How do you control construction costs?

We control construction costs through a line item bid process and by purchasing all materials ourselves. We also work to standardize designs and construction methods to keep costs low.

How do you maintain quality control?

Make It Right, our general contractors and architects work together to ensure our homeowners live in high-quality, healthy homes. We manage quality control through walkthroughs, documented updates and forms signed off by all managing parties.

Do you recycle construction waste?

Yes – we recycle all our wood waste, recyclable plastic and cardboard.

Is there a list of materials that Make It Right uses?

Here’s a snapshot of our materials we are currently using.

What materials are donated?

Generous corporate partners provided the paint, carpet, water heaters and countertops for our work in New Orleans. Many of our corporate partners are also contributing to our work in Newark and Kansas City.

Can I submit products to be considered in your homes?

Absolutely. Find out more here.
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Do you get discounts for materials?

Yes. We purchase materials tax-free and order ourselves to avoid the general contractors’ markup.

Are your houses solar powered?

Yes. Read more in our Library entry on solar. And check out Make It Right Solar’s website

Why don’t you do solar thermal?

We use Noritz tankless water heaters. A solar thermal system would be redundant and we often need the roof space for our solar panels

What types of construction have you used for your houses? Do you have a favorite?

We’ve experimented with several types of residential construction including stick framing, modular, steel studs, OSB SIP and metal SIP. Currently, we are using OSB SIP because it is quick and easy to install and because the tight envelope OSB SIP creates helps us reduce energy costs for homeowners. Our OSB SIPs are built in 3D and cut by computer-controlled machinery, limiting errors in panel construction.

What type of insulation do you use?

See our Library entry on Insulation to read more.

What are your R-values?

OSB SIP:
4.5” Walls: R-17
6.5” Walls: R-25
8.25” Roofs: R-33
Floors R-13
Stick frame:
Exterior walls: R-13
Floors: R-13
Roofs: R-30

To learn more about R-Values see our Library page.

What type of HVAC system do you use?

We use Unico high velocity systems.

To learn more about HVAC Systems see our Library page.

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What kind of windows do you use?

Currently we are using Marvin All Ultrex Windows.

What is Verve?

Verve is a wireless switching interface that allows you to reduce wiring by 50% and control switching by on demand programming.

To learn more about Verve see our Library page.

Why do you use cementitious fiber board instead of wood?

Cemetitious fiber board is more durable than wood, resists termites, mold and rot and has a fire rating.

To learn more about Siding see our Library page.

Do you use any PVC in the house?

Because of PVC’s negative impact on the environment and human health, we use alternatives to PVC whenever possible. Our water supply pipes are made of PEX and our cleanouts, exhaust pipes, and waste supply pipes are ABS.

To learn more about Plumbing see our Library page.

Do you do graywater collection?

On our homes in New Orleans, we initially installed rainwater collection cisterns for homeowners to use washing their cars and watering their lawns. We were asked by the city to stop installing cisterns; New Orleans has laws spanning back to the 1800’s that prohibit retaining water that can promote mosquito growth. Once these laws are modernized, we would like to return to graywater collection.

To learn more about Plumbing see our Library page.

Do you design the landscape for the houses?

Yes.

To learn more about Native Landscapes see our Library page.

What is pervious concrete?

Pervious concrete is a concrete mixture with a high percentage of aggregate that allows water to flow through the surface.

To learn more about Pervious Concrete see our Library page.

What is Cradle to Cradle?

Cradle to Cradle® is a unique approach to design and science, created by architect William McDonough and chemist Dr. Michael Braungart and described in their book Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things.

To learn more about Cradle to Cradle® see our Library page.

Have you thought about doing the Living Building Challenge?

We admire the goals of Living Building Challenge, but we cannot meet them and keep our homes affordable for communities in need.

Do homeowners choose the design of their homes and the paint colors?

Yes. Our New Orleans homeowners choose the home that best suits their needs and style from 21 different home designs. Homeowners also pick the exterior and interior paint colors, their floor finishes (carpet, wood or tile) and countertops.

Why are your New Orleans homes so high off the ground?

To learn more about Elevation see our Library page.

Why are houses built on piles?

Soil conditions in the Lower 9th Ward necessitate piles.

To learn more about Foundations see our Library page.

How deep are the piles in the ground?

Piles are driven 30-40 feet into the ground using vibratory pile driver.

To learn more about Foundations see our Library page.

Why not use CMU piles?

Our current foundation method is the most affordable for our housing types.

To learn more about Foundations see our Library page.

Are the houses built to be hurricane proof?

Our houses are built to withstand 130 mph winds and elevated outside of the flood zone.

How are the windows protected in a hurricane?

We employ reusable hurricane fabric made of Kevlar, also used in bullet-proof vests, to protect our windows and doors during a hurricane. Hurricane fabric is a safer and more sustainable solution than boarding up windows and doors with plywood.

Why do some homes have elevators and some do not?

We install exterior elevators on some homes for disabled or elderly homeowners.

Why do some houses have fences and some do not?

Make It Right does not install fences around our homes. Some homeowners have installed them, but our policy to keep the neighborhood as open as possible.