Green Building

Why Green Your Home Remodel?

Thursday, April 8th, 2010 | Green Building, Home Remodeling | No Comments
Brock HealthyBuilt Home

Brock Builders HealthyBuilt Home

While remodeling your existing home as opposed to buying a new one may save you money and produce exactly what you want, incorporating green features and practices into the process may generate an even higher ROI.

A great place to start is to consult a custom home builder who also has experience in building green and HealthyBuilt Homes.  At Brock Builders we are often able to incorporate green features with little change to the budget, but that also save the homeowner money over time.

Popularity Means Better Pricing

Many home remodeling fads cycle out rather quickly, but “greening” a remodel is a trend that’s here to stay.  Popularity is so widespread in fact, that incorporating green features into your home will cost you less today than ever.  Plus added incentives like government tax credits, longer product life-spans and long-term reductions in energy use are converting more homeowners every day.

Greater Availability and Design Options

With increased availability also comes a wider range of design options.  In the past, green home features may have been thought of as “thrifty” or aesthetically unappealing, but today green home features can be luxurious, stylish, even cutting edge.  And in the Asheville area, all levels of green remodels are taking place.

Community Benefit

If you are still unsure of whether or not your home remodel should be a little greener, consider the community impact.  Using greener practices doesn’t just benefit your family, but also the builders, painters and all contractors who are hired to help make your dream home a reality.

Brock Builders has green home building and remodeling experience, plus the Certification to remodel older homes that may contain lead paint that became required by law earlier this year.  Please contact us if you would like to discuss the options for “greening” your home.

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Wood Flooring Options for Custom Homes

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010 | Custom Home Construction, Green Building | No Comments

Wood Flooring OptionsWood flooring is a long running favorite among home owners.  But with choices ranging in price, look and eco-friendliness, it helps to understand the basics.  The first step you should take is consulting your custom home builder who will already have a strong understanding of what fits your home and budget.

Cost

While lower priced wood flooring materials have gained popularity in these economic times, it’s important to understand not only what you’re paying up front, but how a material will handle the test of time.

Some homeowners may want a flooring choice that has a low up-front cost and are not concerned with how it will wear in 10 years, like a low grade number one or two oak.  However, most homeowners prefer to invest a little more up front for a product that’s going last, such as a Brazilian cherry.

Green Factor

Green wood flooring like bamboo is appealing, but for it to truly be eco-friendly, this renewable wood source must be local, not shipped across an ocean from Thailand.  If you want a green wood flooring option, talk to your certified green builder who can help you find out what’s available locally.

Use

In newer homes, the floor plans are typically more open, making wood throughout a great choice.  But wood flooring in kitchens and bathrooms will likely be damaged by water and wear over time, making cork and engineered wood products may be a better choice.

Again, this is where your home builder may be able to help, as he will have a greater understanding of a room’s use matched with an aesthetically appealing floor.

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Green Landscaping Adds Great Value

Thursday, March 4th, 2010 | Green Building | No Comments
Native Rhododendron Calendulaceum

Native Rhododendron Calendulaceum

One of the easiest and too often overlooked ways to add green-value to your HealthyBuilt home build is through the incorporation of native and organic landscaping.  The use of native, drought-resistant plants is quickly becoming a best-practice for saving money and doing your part for saving the planet.

Better Plants

The shift from reliance upon chemicals for healthy, beautiful greenery towards the use of processes that more closely resemble what nature intended will actually help to harness the plants’ naturally defenses and result in stronger, healthier plants.

Better Value

The use of native species and good planning to incorporate the plants into the space you’re working with can help cut down on unnecessary time and financial expenditure for maintenance.

You may even wind up saving money in ways you never expected—proper placement of the right trees can actually help reduce cooling and heating costs!  So in short, well thought out landscaping means less work, less money and less waste winding up on its way to the landfill.

Better ROI

Another great reason to invest in a healthy, green landscape is the ROI you will see in the form of added value to the home.  Typically, the full cost of landscaping, if not more, can be recouped at resale.  As a rule of thumb in the real estate market, the right landscaping can easily translate into a 10% increase in property value.

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Get Tax Credits for Solar Hot Water Heaters

Tax Credits for Solar Hot Water Heaters

Tax Credits for Solar Hot Water Heaters

Long, hot baths don’t have to be a waste of energy.  Solar hot water systems can heat the water for your kitchen or bath without running up your electric or gas bill.

In fact, many homeowners are now replacing traditional hot water heaters with solar powered systems, proving to be a revolution in green building.  Solar water heaters use collection plates and highly insulated storage tanks to harness the power of the sun, thereby reducing carbon footprints and saving money on energy bills.

Systems are categorized as either active or passive.  Active systems circulate the water within the tank using pumps or coils.  While passive systems rely on gravity and the water’s natural temperature based circulation.  An experienced green builder can advise you as to which system fits with your solar water heating needs.  Some factors to be considered include your home site, local building codes, and the size of your family.

Whichever system you choose, the benefits can be astounding.  According to some statistics, solar water heating systems can reduce your monthly utility bill, essentially paying for itself in less than five years.  Your home builder can also help you to comply with federal tax credit regulations regarding a new solar hot water heating system to further help in covering the costs of the unit and installation.  Federal tax credits will pay for up to 30% of the cost of installation of an energy star solar water heating system, but only if the system is installed before the deadline of December 31, 2016.

It’s important to contact your green building specialist as soon as possible to discuss the solar heating options for your home to start saving money and energy.  Whether you’re building a new construction or updating the system in your existing homes, it’s a win-win situation for all homeowners.

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Smart Home Automation Systems

Custom home by Brock Builders

Custom home by Brock Builders

Do you like the idea of coming home to the lights properly illuminated, a favorite song playing and the air or heat turned to a desirable temperature? What about the ability to open the front door with a keypad lock or fingerprint and no longer needing to fumble for keys? Home automation, better known as smart homes, make this and much more, possible.

Smart homes have the ability to simplify our daily lives into one of freedom and convenience. When building a custom home or undergoing a home remodel, it is important to work with a qualified general contractor who understands home automation. While you may only have the need for a basic package, such as a lighting system, it is still recommended to use a general contractor to assist with the wiring and installation.

What exactly is smart home automation?

A smart home is not just a home of the future, but rather an integrated way to wire a home to a network that controls all of the functions at once. Whether you prefer to use a remote control or wireless access is dependent upon the amount of home automation you wish to have. The heart of the smart home system is the network, which feeds from one main source of wiring and eliminates the need for several components, such as DVD, CD player and lights that are individually controlled.

Home automation systems are available in easy-to-use kits that allow the homeowner the freedom to install timers and wireless gadgets with the ease of a remote. The remote often controls appliances such as lighting, HVAC, and stereos. True home automation, however, is a much more complex system yet features many benefits and simplifies day-to-day activities.

Energy savings are just one of the many benefits of having an automated home, as the homes are typically more efficient. Some home automation systems heat and cool based on the time of day, while others adjust the temperature when someone is physically in the home. The networks can also automatically tell appliances to reduce function levels or go to “sleep,” thus lowering electric bills.

For those only wanting to program the home’s lights and HVAC, smart home technology is not as expensive as one may think. But for those looking for a more complex automated home, there are several exciting advances in wireless home automation and home automation electronics. A few new examples include:

  • Programming your thermostat, oven and music from the Internet when not even in the home
  • Illuminating the home with light before pulling in the driveway, or out of town to simulate someone is home
  • A set of security cameras tied into the lighting system and doorbell
  • Having a video feed of your favorite television station and making it visible in every room of the home you enter…and more!

Whatever you envision in a home of the future, chances are likely that it can be done. As technology and imagination continue to grow, smart homes will hopefully one day work in complete harmony to improve our daily functions.