Asheville Builder and Energy Efficiencies, Green Building with ICF’s for foundations

Asheville Builder and Energy Efficiencies, Green Building with ICF’s for foundations

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.[1] The forms are interlocking modular units that are dry-stacked (without mortar) and filled with concrete.

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Get your Roof Ready for Winter

thiemkeyFor many American families, homeownership brings a sense of stability, accomplishment and peace of mind. Owning a home also means being responsible for its upkeep, in order to make sure it is a safe, comfortable sanctuary for your family to enjoy. As the winter months approach, the first measure of protection for a home against rain and snow in many parts of the country is the roof.

These tips from GAF (www.gaf.com), a New Jersey-based roofing manufacturer, offers advice to home owners for how to get your roof ready for the cold winter. 

  1. Start off by checking the roof framing structure to make sure it is not compromised.  Visually scan the roof for any sagging or uneven areas. If you do see an area that looks uneven, this may mean damage to the roof deck below the shingles.
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Lower Operating Costs Mean New-Home Buyers Can Afford More House

shared from NHBA.org A newly published study from NAHB’s Economics and Housing Policy Group looks at how operating costs vary depending on the age of the home, using data that has recently become available from the American Housing Survey (funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau). Basic findings include operating costs (fuels, other utilities, maintenance, property taxes and insurance) that average $6,900 a year, $3.77 per square foot, and 4.24 percent of the home’s value.   However, some of these numbers vary significantly depending on how old the home is.  For example, operating costs as a fraction of value decline regularly as the structure becomes newer, from nearly 5 percent of the home’s value for structures built before 1960 to just under 3 percent for homes built after 2008. The implication of the difference in operating costs is that buyers can purchase a higher-priced home  and achieve the same annual operating costs if the home is newer.  The article provides an example that takes mortgage payments and income tax savings for a typical buyer of a $200,000 new home into account.  The example shows that, if annual costs during the first year of ownership are the constraint, this buyer can afford to pay $37,655—or 23 percent—more for a new house than for one built before 1960. The difference is a little more than enough to cover the price of an extra full bathroom.  For more information, including an explanation of the details underlying the calculations, see the complete study, available online.

Fireplace Safety Tips

Fireplaces, whether they are wood-burning or gas, are both fashionable and functional additions to many homes. Families gather around decorated hearths for holiday celebrations as they build lifelong memories. During the cooler winter months, fireplaces, wood stoves and other fuel-fired appliances are often used as primary heat sources in homes. But sadly, fireplace safety can be neglected, sometimes with tragic results. Everyone has seen the news stories about homes burned to the ground and lives lost due to improperly disposed-of fireplace ashes. According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), heating fires account for 36 percent of residential home fires in rural areas every year. Here are some tips to make sure your fireplace remains a safe, enjoyable feature of your family’s home:  Have your chimney thoroughly cleaned once a year. Flammable residue that accumulates in the flue can lead to fires in the chimney, and cracks or gaps in the flue can decrease the draft required both for combustion and to carry toxic gases away from your home. You can find a certified chimney specialist at csia.org. Use either a metal mesh screen or glass doors—or both—as a barrier between the fireplace and hearth. If you have glass doors, leave them open while burning a fire so that the fire receives enough air to ensure complete combustion and keeps creosote from building up in the chimney. Always keep the mesh screen closed when a fire is burning to keep embers or sparks from getting into the room.  Never use flammable liquids to start a fire, or burn cardboard boxes, trash or debris in your fireplace. Use only seasoned hardwood, non-seasoned (or green) wood tends to smoke more and burn less efficiently, and can leave significantly more resin and soot in your chimney. Never burn any part of fir or pine trees in a fireplace. The sap can explode, and the needles can ignite quickly which could send sparks into the room or into the chimney where creosote deposits could catch fire. Never leave a fire unattended, and make sure the fire is completely out before going to bed or leaving the house. Douse and saturate ashes with water, and never empty ash directly into a trash can. Place completely cooled ashes in a tightly covered metal container and keep the container at least 10 feet away from any building.  Cover the top of your chimney with a mesh screen spark arrester, and keep the roof clear of leaves, pine needles and other debris. Also cut away any branches that are hanging above the chimney.   You can find more fire safety tips on USFA’s website at usfa.fema.gov.    Taking these steps will help to ensure that the time you spend around your fireplace is enjoyable, and your family and home is safe.