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New homes are built to save energy, and a primary component of that goal is insulation. The definition of insulation, however, is rapidly expanding as homebuyers and energy codes demand even better energy-use performance from new homes.
Today, there are far more options than those rolls of fiberglass you see on the shelves of big-box home improvement stores. While “batt” insulation remains an inexpensive yet effective option, other materials have emerged that help optimize thermal value in new structures or when replacing conventional insulation.More
Improving home energy efficiency and building more sustainable housing is no longer a trend — it’s mainstream. As a professional builder, we feel it’s important to keep up on emerging technologies that may soon help our clients save money, improve comfort and reduce our impact on the environment.
In the spirit of learning about these new technologies, we profile a rising star in the world of heating and air conditioning: Geothermal (or “ground-source”) heating and cooling systems. Simply, a geothermal system uses the temperature of the ground to condition the air that is distributed through the house using conventional ductwork.More
Creating a backyard gathering space that works hard and looks great.
Outdoor kitchens are hot. In a 2012 survey by Professional Builder magazine, a fourth of the respondents named outdoor kitchens as one of their top selling features. There’s no shortage of ideas for these spaces, as a simple online search will show, but the best ones have some important things in common: they’re easy to use, work well in less than ideal weather conditions, and are outfitted with thoughtfully chosen appliances and materials. Here are some things to consider when designing your ultimate outdoor kitchen.More
Thoughtful planning will help homeowners get the most from this popular amenity.
Home theaters were all the rage ten years ago. These rooms were designed for passively watching TV and movies, and were acoustically separated from the rest of the house. While some homeowners still want home theaters, most now opt for a media room that doubles as a game room. Getting the most from these spaces requires careful planning.More
Sustainable construction is nothing mysterious. Its most important aspects are some of the same things that define a quality builder.
Green homes, also called sustainable homes, are more affordable than ever. Last year, for instance, a nationwide McGraw Hill study of builders and remodelers found that going green adds an average of just 7% in cost to a project, compared to 11% six years previously. We can often offset all or part of this added cost with State and Federal tax credits and energy use savings.More
A complete set of plans and specs will eliminate problems and help ensure a smooth project.
Never underestimate the importance of good plans and specifications to a successful new home build. These crucial documents need to be fully completed in order to generate a realistic price, schedule, and contract. Too often, however, they’re left undone.
The plans are the visual representation of the finished home, showing what it will look like when complete. More
After a 40-year hiatus, solar energy is cool again. But for those who remember bulky aluminum frames awkwardly balanced on the roof, the current look, use, performance, and value of today’s solar energy systems has changed dramatically.
As a professional builder, we keep a sharp eye on products and systems that are getting the public’s attention so we can intelligently advise our homebuyer clients about their validity and proper use. Today’s solar energy systems — for both domestic hot water and electricity — have made significant strides that, in the right circumstances, can reduce a homeowner’s monthly energy bills.More