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Features of an Energy Efficient Home

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One thing to consider when buying a home is its energy efficiency. An energy-efficient home is designed to lower energy consumption and costs without compromising comfort. If you’re searching for new homes for sale, find a sustainable one that will allow you to enjoy both economic and environmental benefits. Read on to learn the key features of an energy-efficient home to look out for when house hunting.

Door and Window Insulation

According to the US Department of Energy, about of home heating and cooling energy consumption results from heat loss and gain through windows. With proper insulation, you can reduce this heat transfer and increase your home’s energy efficiency. Here’s how insulated windows and doors make a home more energy-efficient:

Heating and Cooling Efficiency

Proper insulation seals gaps and cracks on windows and doors. This prevents hot air from entering your home during the hotter months. Without the heat gain, your indoors remain cooler and cozy. This means the AC won’t have to strain or run all day to maintain cooler indoor temperatures. As a result, the unit consumes less power, contributing to overall energy efficiency.

During cold seasons, the heating unit works to maintain a warm indoor temperature. With insulated doors and windows, the indoor warm air can’t escape as easily. Your home stays warmer, reducing the overuse of the heating system. This conserves energy and helps prevent higher utility bills.

Here are some signs that your doors and windows are properly insulated:

  • They close and open smoothly on their hinges/tracks
  • No gaps or cracks between the frame and sill
  • No fog or condensation in the windowpanes
  • Smooth caulking around the perimeter

ENERGY STAR Certification

ENERGY STAR is a government-backed symbol of domestic and industrial energy efficiency. ENERGY STAR-certified windows and doors can save about energy bills nationwide. While the energy savings can vary depending on the climate, home size, and window type, ENERGY-STAR certified products have proven to increase sound insulation and impact resistance.

Some features of ENERGY STAR-certified windows include:

  • Special glass coating
  • Multiple glass panes
  • Gas fills (Argon or krypton)
  • Warm edge spacers
  • Quality window frame materials

For ENERGY STAR certified doors, be sure to find:

  • Multiple glass panes
  • Enhanced core materials
  • Fitted and improved weather stripping

These windows and doors can help reduce your home’s running expenses and environmental impact. Check for a blue ENERGY STAR label on the installed windows and doors.

Water Heater

Water heaters are central appliances in almost every modern household. This appliance accounts for a small percentage of the total energy consumption in an average American home. Check on the quality of the water heater if you’re searching for an energy-efficient home.

Traditional water heaters feature a water storage tank. This tank heats water in bulk and stores it regardless of whether the hot water is needed. The standby heat loss increases energy consumption to maintain the water temperature at a certain level.

To reduce water heater energy use, ensure your new home has a tankless water heater. These water heaters consume much less energy as they have no storage tank. Also, they heat water on demand, decreasing the chances of standby heat loss. Consult your home inspector to know more about the design of the installed water heater.

Roof Design

Besides weather protection, the roof impacts a home’s energy efficiency. So, as you pick your next home, check on the roof’s condition, material, color, and insulation.

A run-down or neglected roof with holes and gaps contributes to unwanted heat loss and gain. The air leak causes your HVAC unit to work harder to maintain ideal indoor temperatures, and the extra energy consumption will increase your utility bills.

When it comes to energy efficiency, the roof materials used are a major factor. For instance, asphalt, metal, tile, and solar shingles roofing materials can help lower your energy bills. The color of these roofing materials also plays a role. Dark-colored roofing materials absorb heat to make your home hotter. In contrast, a light-colored roof reflects much of the sunlight to keep your house cooler.

Roof insulation also creates a barrier to heat flow. The insulation helps to maintain a cooler environment during summer and a warmer one during winter.

Today, cool roofs are becoming a popular option in energy-efficient homes. A cool roof reflects more sunlight, transferring less heat to the house. The indoors will thus stay cooler without depending much on the AC.

Before buying a home, thoroughly inspect the roof to assess its efficiency.

Energy-Efficient New Homes for Sale

You’ve got a lot to consider when searching for your next home. As you make the decision, don’t overlook the energy-efficient features. Today, new homes for sale incorporate numerous features for optimal efficiency that will benefit you in the long run. Choose an energy-efficient home today and enjoy huge savings on utility bills and many other benefits.

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Home Improvement

What Is Design Build?

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Design build is the most popular project delivery method used by modern commercial and residential architects. Unlike traditional project delivery, where the owner works separately with a designer and contractor, design build combines both in a single entity. The project owner works with a design-build entity that includes the specialty trades & sub-consultants. Managing one project delivery contract with a single point of responsibility comes with various advantages.

Design-Build Definition

Contractors, designers, engineers, and architects can deliver building projects using various approaches. Design-bid-build (DBB) is the traditional approach and involves bidding and using separate entities for the design and construction. Design build (DB) is another approach that brings everyone involved into a single team/entity. 

Other approaches include construction management risk (CMR) and competitive sealed proposal (CSP). Design build outperforms all other options in many ways as it involves a single contract, entity, and point of contact. DB-delivered projects are faster, more affordable, and easier to manage.

How Does Design Build Work?

Design build is all about working with one entity with a single contract and unified workflow from conception to completion. The manager will use the same team to deliver design and construction, eliminating the friction caused by separating the two. Here’s an overview of the five phases of the design-build process:

1.    Team Selection: The design build process starts with vetting and selecting a contractor-architect team with the most experience in such project deliveries. Other aspects to review include team qualifications and skill levels, reputation, and costs.

2.    Pre-Construction: The pre-construction phase involves learning about the owner’s business, goals, budget, challenges, and project vision. Architects, contractors, engineers, and consultants work together to assess the construction site and determine what’s needed.

3.    Architectural Design: The project vision is established during this phase after all parameters, timelines, budgets, and locations have been defined. The architectural design phase also involves presenting initial drawings and assessing areas for optimizing productivity and saving costs.

4.    Construction: The design-build team can begin construction during the architectural design phase. Most steps overlap, but the construction phase is about laying down the building as defined earlier. Communication is simplified with one point of contact throughout construction.

5.    Post-Construction: Once construction is completed, the design-build team will provide an overview of the deliverables and O&M training materials. Post-construction is more streamlined when Boom & Bucket’s scraper inventory deals with a single entity than with separate designers and contractors.

Benefits of Design Build Approach

The merits of the design build approach are obvious and straightforward for both the owner or agency and the practitioner. Owners can enjoy faster delivery with fewer problems, efficiency, and cost savings. Other owner benefits include singular responsibility, reduced administrative burden, and fewer risks and litigations. The practitioner will also get higher profit margins, increased market share, and reduced administrative burden and litigation.

The traditional project delivery method features separated design and construction, which can hurt efficiency and accountability. When something goes wrong, one team may blame the other. Using a design build approach results in a hassle-free relationship since everyone is on the same team. The improved collaborations can accelerate schedules, save time, and reduce labor costs. Dealing with one entity also improves communication and administration.

The Future of Design Build

Design build is the best performing project delivery system in terms of scheduling and cost-saving. The heightened collaboration and unified workflow make it easier to resolve unforeseen issues and ensure everyone’s on the same page. Design build results in lower cost growth and schedule growth while speeding construction. Low-bid projects continue to lose favor, while design builds show remarkable success. 

Working with Experienced Residential Architects

The use of DB has increased over the past decade and is poised to keep growing.

Nearly half of all projects in America are delivered using the design build model. Architects and contractors find it the most logical and cost-effective approach to project delivery. However, project owners must prioritize finding experienced design build teams. 

Choosing the best architectural and construction management firms is the key to successful project delivery. The best residential architects will ensure everything goes smoothly from project conceptualization to post-construction. Choose a reputable local company that can deliver custom designs and builds on time.

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