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Property Evaluation

Since we currently have four customers looking for property, I took the opportunity to update an article I wrote. Before purchasing property for the construction of a new home, there are several characteristics to consider regarding the viability as a suitable building lot. Perhaps the most important aspect is the market value. We can only provide our opinion on the value, however we can help you with the information that you may need to confirm your decision.

The article describes four main categories to consider: regulations, site development, solar orientation and sustainability. Click the following link to gain access to the document:
Property Evaluation

Estimating is an art

At times, estimating can be as much an art as it is a science. In its simplest form, an estimate is a list of all costs associated with a project. A thorough estimate might also list everything that it doesn’t include. Since the most common estimating error is omission, the ability to communicate valuable information can be challenging. As a tool to provide information, an estimate can have different forms. Read More>>

New AC Technology
Old ideas combined with new material technologies may provide huge energy savings from a different type of air-conditioning system.

A typical air conditioner cools the air and dehumidifies it all at once, but not in a controlled way. The limit to how much drying can be achieved depends on how much water condenses on the evaporator coils as the air passes through. This so-called "wet-bulb limit" is the reason typical evaporative coolers either can't cool things down enough or can't create a truly comfortable space when there is a lot of heat and humidity in the air.

By contrast, DEVAP can provide cooling in any climate. The first stage wrings out all the moisture in the air. Doing so lowers the effective temperature limit the indirect evaporative cooler can achieve. It has a wet-bulb effectiveness of 125% — a huge boon compared to most current technology that has tried to get as close as it can to 100%. Read more>>

When Economics Trumps Good Sense

As a home builder, I spend way too much time worrying about construction costs. Price is of course, the most common criteria used when a builder is selected for a project. The purchase of a custom home is different from any other buying experience. I wish we could base the decision process on value, function and performance, with an understanding that costs are important, but not the driving force of our decisions. Too often economics trump good sense and decisions are made that conflict with the best interest of the buyer.

Every single component of a home involves a potential cost versus value decision. There is a “cheapest way” or a “better way” to do everything. Sometimes they are the same, but often the buyer isn’t given the better choice. In an effort to appear less expensive, many builders go the cheapest way because the buyer really doesn’t understand the difference. This increases the chances of being selected as their builder and creates an opportunity to increase profits with change orders, when the buyer asks for the better way. Read more>>

Green vs. Sustainable

Perhaps you've heard the term Sustainable used in conversation about Green construction. Like Energy-Efficiency or Water Conservation, Sustainable Construction is an aspect of many Green homes. But a home doesn't have to be green in order for it to be Sustainable.
Sustainable Construction refers to the aspects of a home that contribute to its long-term use. Products used within a home that have a long lifespan are sustainable. Likewise a product or feature is sustainable if it requires less maintenance or if can be recycled at the end of its life.

Sustainable construction focuses on minimizing the impact that buildings have on the environment with a key emphasis on durability and longevity. If a home is built to last a long time, additional resources won’t be needed for repair or remodeling. Sustainability saves money and reduces the time spent on maintenance; side benefits that everyone likes.

It’s Not the Heat; It’s the Humidity
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My wife declares that she is burning up!

She is fanning herself with a magazine and obviously uncomfortable. However, the thermostat on the wall tells me that the temperature is the same as always for this time of the evening. The T-stat is programmable and the settings haven't been changed. How can she possibly be so hot?

To console her I drop the temperature two degrees, only to be shaking my head 20 minutes later when I see she has covered herself with a small blanket. My initial assumption is that her personal thermostat is broken. Read more>>