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Conceptual Estimating and Unit Costs
A conceptual estimate is often needed for the purpose of planning a project. Accurate cost information is necessary to determine whether a project is viable. Cost-per-square-foot is the most common technique but can be misleading and inaccurate. Unit cost comparisons from historical records are the best format.

A unit cost is the cost for a component of the home broken down into a measurable quantity. Some examples of costs that can be computed by a unit include: an interior door;
  • floor tile by the square foot;
  • carpet by the square yard;
  • crown molding by the lineal foot;
  • concrete slab by the square foot;
  • attic insulation by the square foot of air-conditioned space;
  • cabinets by the lineal foot and,
  • counter tops by the square foot.
We can provide a conceptual estimate for you comprising a unit cost comparison of ten homes we've built previously; each selected to represent the size, style and quality levels similar to your future home. The comparison utilizes the unit costs of well over 100 cost categories. It's actually not that difficult to produce since we've been fine-tuning our process for several years now. Please don't hesitate to ask for your complimentary conceptual cost estimate with no further obligation required.
More information on estimating...

Water Heater Decisions
There are many different options to consider before choosing a water heater for a new home. Make sure your builder allows you to be involved in the decision. The type of water heater, its energy source and location, all have to be determined, and each aspect affects the performance and cost of the other characteristics.

The variety of water heaters now includes, conventional tank-style, tankless, solar, hybrid and heat pump. If natural gas is available then a tankless unit is worth considering but, there are pros and cons and every “expert” has an opinion.

Regardless of the type, the location will control how long it takes for hot water to reach its destination. Waiting for hot water wastes time, water and money. Tankless heaters are a good choice for multiple locations, but of course that will increase the initial cost.

If you opt for single heater, you may want to consider a hot water circulation system that continuously pumps hot water throughout the house making it readily available. This adds some to the initial cost but saves the time and water elements of a standard piping setup. The circulation system needs to be well-planned or the initial and use cost could offset any potential savings.

All Southern Homes Need Dehumidification
Ventilation and Dehumidification are critical talking points, especially here in Florida. Until recently they were discussed little, but the way we build homes is changing and they are now important issues.

A well-insulated home will maintain its temperature during moderate times of the year. As a result, the air-conditioning system will not operate very much. Typical thermostats only measure air temperature, but humidity, air movement and air quality all affect our comfort. Cooking, showers, and even breathing raise the humidity level in the home.
When the humidity level is too high, moisture ceases to evaporate from our skin making us feel clammy and sticky. Even light breezes lose their refreshing feel. High humidity levels support the growth of mold and mildew, and allow the air we breath to carry more impurities not present at lower levels.

Here in Florida during the spring and fall, without the use of air-conditioning, humidity levels will rise in the home causing uncomfortable and potentially even unhealthy conditions. Efficient dehumidification without the added expense of operating the AC or heating system, is the answer to lowering humidity levels and increasing comfort. We have several interesting articles available for view in our Building Science collection if you want to learn more.

To summarize: more insulation + tighter construction = less AC & more humidity. In an upcoming article I’ll discuss ventilation and its role in the southern home.
Until next time...
Keith Groninger - MBC CBC CGP LEED-GA
321-439-1047 cell

Groninger Custom Homes, Inc.
2708 Phillips Park Court
Winter Park, FL 32789
321-352-5202 office
321-445-5566 fax

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