Home Remodeling

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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Tips for a Successful Remodel

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010 | Home Remodeling | 2 Comments
Raised Ceiling With Spray Foam Insulation Remodel

Raised Ceiling Remodel With Spray Foam Insulation

Working with an experienced and well-respected builder can help ensure that things go as smoothly as possible.  But before the work begins on your home remodel there are still a few points to clarify with your custom home builder to make sure that everyone is on the same page.

Weekly Check-Ins

Establishing the expectation of holding weekly meetings will keep you up-to-date.  Your home builder has eyes on every aspect of your home remodel.  Spending just a few minutes together each week will keep you in the loop on all progress.

Nominate a Decision Maker

In cases where a critical decision must be made without notice, your builder needs to know which of you to approach, and how to reach you.  Typically, one member of the family has final say in matters of design or even price.  Knowing who that is, will save valuable time and help things to get done right the first time.

Photograph Everything Beforehand

Taking pictures of your entire home’s existing condition before a remodel can ensure that everyone is on the same page after completion.  While going back over things after the fact could uncover a crack or flaw that may or may not have been there previously, the pictures will give everyone a reference point.

Map Things Out

Messes are made when things have no place to go.  The same goes for a construction site.  Designate where delivery trucks should park, where tools can be stored and which areas are off-limits to workers.

Set Standards for Cleanliness

Reputable home builders like Brock will take careful measure to protect areas of the property you may not have considered, like the landscaping.  They will also have end-of-day clean-up procedures and take care in practicing dust-containment procedures.

Keep Children and Pets Safe

A construction site is not where you want to find your child or pet.  Make arrangements to keep entrances to construction zones off-limits for your little loved ones.

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Top Five Reasons for a Bathroom Remodel

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010 | Home Remodeling | No Comments
Natural Stone Shower

Natural Stone Shower

If you’re considering renovating your home, you may want to include that master bath remodel you’ve been dreaming of for years.  Bathroom remodels don’t just deliver the calming, relaxing space you always wanted; they are also surefire ways to add equity to your home.

Smart Investment

Though the housing market is continuing to the mend, bathroom remodels still prove smart investments.  Many homeowners are even choosing to add or remodel bathrooms to their existing home in favor of selling.  After all, the average bathroom remodel can produce a 71% ROI.

Smaller is Better

Smaller homes with smarter use of space are becoming all the rage in home design, making the incorporation of extra bathrooms in your current home an easier feat, as there will be fewer square feet acquired by the new bathrooms.  Even renovating your master bath can be much less stressful if you are less concerned about square footage and more concerned about the use of natural materials and addition of smart storage.

Smaller is Sustainable

Smaller bathrooms require simpler sinks, tubs and fixtures so as not to overwhelm the space.  In terms of tubs, simpler tends to also mean smaller, which will save money and water.  There is also more emphasis on the use of eco-friendly toilets, showerheads and faucets.

Sharing is Caring

Another popular bathroom trend is isolating the toilet in a separate water closet.  This makes the bath and vanity space useful even when the toilet is occupied.

Earth Tones Add Warmth

With the incorporation of more eco-friendly materials throughout the home, earth toned stone flooring is becoming an increasingly popular choice in bathrooms.  Small, sterile bathrooms can feel cold and uninviting, but the use of warm hues and natural stone can make the space feel warm and spa-like, no matter the size.

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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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Home Remodeling and Energy Tax Credits

Monday, July 27th, 2009 | Green Building, Home Remodeling | 3 Comments
Efficient replacement windows in a home remodel can earn energy tax credits.

Energy efficient replacement windows in a home remodel can earn energy tax credits.

Conserving energy through the use of “green” products might not have been at the top of your list a few years ago, but thanks to the 2009 economic stimulus bill the government has made it financially beneficial to homeowners to work toward energy efficiency. Tax credits are available unlike ever before to homeowners who are planning a home remodel with green appliances and practices.

The 2009 economic stimulus bill improves upon pre-existing credits in a big way:

  • 2009 tax credits are now in effect until 2010
  • The 10% tax credit is now 30%
  • Tax credits that were once a specific amount are now converted to 30% of the cost of materials
  • The maximum credit is now $1500 instead of $500 and is for all improvements combined for the 2009-2010 period
  • Certain home improvements, including geothermal heat pumps, solar water heaters, and panels are not subject to the $1500 maximum

Asheville remodeling contractors such as Brock Builders can perform a home energy audit to outline the areas that will benefit most from installing energy-efficient appliances and insulation systems. By installing a variety of energy-efficient items from the following categories, you may be eligible to claim a tax credit of 30 percent:

  • Biomass stoves
  • Exterior doors, skylights and windows
  • HVAC
  • Roofing (metal and asphalt)
  • Storm doors and windows
  • Water heaters (nonsolar)

Tax credits are also available at 30% of the cost, with no upper limit through 2016 (for existing homes and new construction) for the following categories:

  • Fuel cells
  • Geothermal heat pumps
  • Solar panels
  • Solar water heaters
  • Small wind energy systems

The new tax credit does have a discrepancy, however, when it comes to windows. Energy Star windows purchased before June 1, 2009 are eligible for the tax credit of 30%, but not all Energy Star windows purchased after June 1 will qualify. To meet the requirements for the tax credit after June 1, the windows in your remodel must be super-efficient windows with a U-factor and solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) less than or equal to .30. According to Energy Star’s website, most of their windows will not meet the requirements for the tax credit. These confusing standards are being reviewed by the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA), who are urging Congress to reconcile the stimulus bill standards with Energy Star criteria.

In order to qualify for the tax credit, all products must have a signed statement from the manufacturer certifying the product meets the standards for the tax credit. The Manufacturer Certification Statement isn’t required to send in with your tax return but must accompany your receipts and records. It is recommended by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) to save all receipts with the contact information of each manufacturer, the make and model of the product, and the manufacturer’s statement that the product meets the tax credit standards.

Whether you plan to do a basement, bath or kitchen remodel, hiring a general contractor familiar with these tax credits ensures your home remodel is earning the highest credits possible, the proper appliances and products are purchased and installed, and the specific records you need are organized. When helping the environment while saving money, everybody wins.

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