(Enter Murv-- this is his part of the story) For an alternative minded builder with a focus on cold climate construction thinking had to be twisted 180 degrees. Central Texas is primarily a hot humid environment so construction techniques would entail keeping things cool as opposed to warm. We settled on SIPs , (structural insulated panels) http://www.ehsystemsllc.com/
This is the place! It took a wile to choose where we wanted to build-- 7 acres-- so many choices-- but ultimatley this is the best place based on wind, where the sun is during the day, level ground, higest point on the land, lots of shade... I never know all the things you have to think about before you just start...
We decided to do pier and beam for the foundation. We used ICFs (insulated concrete forms) http://www.amazongridwall.com/ for the insulation value, recycled content, and they seemed to be user friendly.
for the wall, floor, and roof system. The panelized system would prove to be a great choice for one person working with hand tools and a few battery operated tools(no electricity).