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There are many great door & window product lines to choose from. The most important consideration is the glass package and style. I recommend consulting with a few glass companies and door/window contractors to help with the decision. You need to choose your doors and windows based on location - cliamate zone. Marvin is top of the line, but it is extremely expensive, just like Renewal by Andersen. I recommend looking at Milgard, Jeld-Win and Andersen (not Renewal). Good Luck!
Murray Lampert Design, Build, Remodel
Solar shingles are expensive and unproven. I recommend Sun Power photo voltaic solar. An average home is $20,000 to $30,000 and the return on investment is 4 to 6 years on a 25 plus year system.
Ask for references and speak to past clients to find out if the architect can design within budget. Find out if the architect has experience doing residential remodeling. Get a complete price for the entire design development and construction document package including consultants i.e. engineering, permit processing etc. Don't pay a retainer until you check hiring an archictect against a design - build firm who will handle the entire process for one fee.
When interviewing contractors, check online reviews and call references to make sure the company has a track record for being on budget. After vetting the contractor, with detailed plans and specifications you don't have to worry about change orders unless you make changes. I usually suggetst to homeowners to have a 5% - 10% contingencydepending on the size of the project, not for change orders, but for addtions or upgrades they may want.
I am assuming your home is ducted and has a forced air system. If you you only have 1 furnace and 1 condenser, it my be more energy effecient to expend to two units. I recommend Lennox. You can also look at installing spilt units like these made by Fujitsu:
These are designed so that you can cool a room/rooms individually. I suggest calling a few licensed HVAC contractors and get 3 quotes.
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