This is the first article of a three-part series.

For years, the homeowners of an 85 year-old Makiki home had been actively planning to rebuild and visited many builders’ open house projects. At the BIA Home Building and Remodeling Show in 2009, the couple was intrigued with a “quiet room” which Graham Builders featured in their booth, and they signed up to attend the company’s free monthly “Building Your Home for Life” seminar. This was especially attractive to the homeowners since their home was situated downwind less than 50 feet from the H-1 freeway.


“We knew Graham Builders was a design+build company and wanted to learn the ideal way to get started on building a brand new home,” said the homeowners. “We found Graham Builders’ seminar to be a very complete and informative review of the steps necessary to start our intricate project. The presentation contained easy-to-understand, valuable information and it was done without a hard sell. We’ve attended other builders’ seminars where the approach was focused on their building capabilities and introducing their vendors, which seemed too ‘salesy’ to us.”

“Given the home’s close proximity to the freeway, noise abatement was a primary concern” said Evan Fujimoto, Graham Builders president. “Working closely with the homeowners, we designed an attractive CMU (hollow tile) wall facing the freeway to reduce sound penetration. The windows on that wall are smaller and QuietRock, a special noise-reducing drywall, is also being used. A single 5/8′ sheet is equivalent to eight sheets of normal gypsum board.”

Another major consideration was making the new home as energy-efficient as possible. Due to the high dust and soot environment next to the freeway, windows will be kept closed most of the time and air conditioning will be used to cool the house. A light grey “cool roof” will deflect the sun’s rays and minimize heat transfer through the roof into the house, and heat-reflective Cool-Wall exterior paints will dramatically reduce wall temperatures as well. Passive day-lighting also plays an integral part of the home’s planning with obscure glass clerestory windows that flood the great room with natural light, reducing the need for lights during the day. Other green features include insulation in the walls and ceilings, gas tankless water heaters, and a photovoltaic system to offset the electrical demand from the air conditioning.


“After attending the BIA Home Building and Remodeling Show, we became aware of ‘green’ home elements,” said the couple. “Building design and materials have become more environmentally sensitive so we found it natural to incorporate green elements in our home as well.”

This story is Part 1 of 3 that will follow the Makiki homeowners in their design+build journey, to share their experience in building a new home with Graham Builders. In November we’ll check in with the homeowners and report on the construction process. The final, completed project will be unveiled in December. You won’t want to miss it.

For more than 20 years, Graham Builders, Hawaii’s premier design+build firm, has worked with homeowners to design and build or renovate their dream homes and is ready to help you with your home construction project. Homeowners interested in learning more can attend Graham Builders’ upcoming “Building Your Home for Life” seminar on Wednesday, Oct. 19 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Honolulu Country Club. Seminars are free, but reservations are required.


For a full schedule of 2011 monthly seminars or to register, visit or call 593-2808.

CONTACT: 593-2808


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