It makes sense to build smart! What we build for you will give you a return on your investment with significantly lower utility bills, as well as transferable discounts on your power bills for the life of the home. This example of building smart represents ultimate value for our clients and is why we have partnered with Energy Star to make every home certified. Enjoy the posts below to see our promises turn into action.
Submitted by Sean D Sullivan, President, Living Stone Construction Inc.
Few things in life can be as exciting — and equally daunting — as building a new house. Throughout the design and construction process, there are multitudes of decisions to consider that will affect the final cost.
“Final cost.” It’s a phrase we associate with the sum total of all the labor and material costs that go into building a new house. But in reality, the final cost of your new house will continues to tally up long after you move in. Perhaps we should think of it as your home’s ongoing cost.
Of course there will be maintenance, taxes, neighborhood association fees and the like, but the main contributor to your home’s ongoing cost will be its consumption of energy. With that in mind, here are six practical ways to help minimize the future ongoing costs of your new house before it’s even built.
1. Choose High-Performance Windows and Solar Screens
One of the most effective ways to cut your home’s energy consumption is to install high-performance windows. Be sure to select windows with spectrally selective glazing or qualified films that “bounce
Listen to Sean share why ICF’s are so beneficial in energy efficiencies and green building. Insulating Concrete Form (ICF) is a system of formwork for concrete that stays in place as permanent building insulation for energy-efficient, cast-in-place, reinforced concrete walls, floors, and roofs. The forms are interlocking modular units that are dry-stacked (without mortar) and filled with concrete.
Geothermal heat pumps (GHPs), sometimes referred to as GeoExchange, earth-coupled, ground-source, or water-source heat pumps, have been in use since the late 1940s. They use the constant temperature of the earth as the exchange medium instead of the outside air temperature. This allows the system to reach fairly high efficiencies (300% to 600%) on the coldest winter nights, compared to 175% to 250% for air-source heat pumps on cool days.
Although many parts of the country experience seasonal temperature extremes — from scorching heat in the summer to sub-zero cold in the winter—a few feet below the earth’s surface the ground remains at a relatively constant temperature. Depending on latitude, ground temperatures range from 45°F (7°C) to 75°F (21°C). Like a cave, this ground temperature is warmer than the air above it during the winter and cooler than the air in the summer. The GHP takes advantage of this by exchanging heat with the earth through a ground heat exchanger.
The rapid growth of green building means that new home owners can take advantage of the lower operating and maintenance costs that come with these energy- and resource-efficient homes.
But for the 120 million existing homes in the United States, remodeling is the only way for home owners to incorporate green practices. NAHB Remodelers offers the following suggestions to home owners who want to increase their home’s efficiency, decrease costs and take advantage of the other benefits that green offers.
All of our homes are certified Energy Star vs 3. We hire a 3rd party, independent energy rater to help us at the very beginning of design to ensure we are building our clients a healthy, energy star, green home. Our Energy Rater continues to work with us throughout the building process. She is at this job today for a blower door test, along with the building inspector and the heating and cooling contractor. For more information about our standard of building green and the why please click here.
From “learning” thermostats to energy saving smartphone apps, it has never been easier to monitor and control your home’s energy use. While we all love doing our part to help the environment, the real draw here is how these simple green solutions will help you save money by keeping those monthly energy bills low. Here are just some of many easy home energy-monitoring tools that can help your home run as efficiently as possible.
With the dog days of summer fast approaching, many homeowners worry they won’t be able to keep their homes comfortable without their energy bills going through the roof. Luckily, innovations in smart thermostat technology can help you keep your house cool and refreshing without breaking the bank.
Nest Labs offers the Nest Learning Thermostat. This sleek, minimally designed wall thermostat can be adjusted manually in your home or wirelessly from any location through your computer or smartphone. Each time you adjust the thermostat, Nest learns about your temperature preferences and daily life. It then uses this information to help you keep your home at a consistently comfortable temperature while simultaneously saving money on energy costs. For example, it learns to automatically adjust the temperature when you’re away at work, asleep at night or when the weather unexpectedly changes.
Other similar programmable thermostats include the Ecobee Smart Thermostat, the Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat, and the Venstar ColorTouch Thermostat.
“The energy efficiency of the house has made it very comfortable through some very extreme weather and our energy bills have been remarkably low. I cannot believe how well we did on energy costs every month. The energy star rating of the home has really paid off. Truly, I haven’t had energy costs this low in 20 years.” Gary Holstein
Every home we build is Energy Star Certified. Why?
With ENERGY STAR, you know you are making the right decision—for your wallet, for your family, and for the environment—bringing these important benefits:
Lower Utility Bills
By using less energy for heating, cooling, and water heating, ENERGY STAR certified homes deliver approximately 20% savings on annual utility bills. Over the 7 to 8 years that a typical family lives in a home, you can save thousands of dollars in maintenance cost.
ENERGY STAR. It’s the little label with the big message: Better is Better.
Living Stone is proud to offer new homes that have earned the ENERGY STAR® label. The ENERGY STAR label means that your new home has been designed and built to standards well above other homes in the market today. It means better quality, better comfort, and better durability. It also means that your new home is a better value for today, and a better investment for tomorrow. The ENERGY STAR label gives you the peace of mind that your home has undergone a better process for inspections, testing, and verification to ensure that it meets strict requirements set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). ENERGY STAR certified homes are better because they are designed and built to provide homeowners:
Peace of Mind. The result of a home that’s built better.
Today’s home owners and buyers are looking for ways to incorporate home technologies that increase the long-term value of their house but also provide convenience, safety and comfort. Energy management is a highly-desired feature in both newly-built and existing homes, along with multi-zone heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems and lighting controls. Not only are these features easy-to-use, but they also provide energy-efficiency.
By incorporating the following technologies, home owners can save money on their utility bills:
- Automated HVAC systems can maintain a more energy-efficient temperature while the home owners are away at work, but switch to a more comfortable temperature prior to their arrival home. Zones can also be created to heat or cool only the areas most used by the occupants, keeping other areas, such as guest bedrooms, shut down until they are needed. They also can combat the problem of heat rising, keeping upper floors cooler in the summer without freezing the lower floors in a home. According to Energy Star, a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy, programmable thermostats can save consumers about $180 per year in energy costs.