Many homeowners and home buyers are looking to home rating systems to ensure that their homes reach energy-efficiency targets and to potentially qualify for government rebates. Builders also support home rating systems as they provide a valuable selling point for prospective homeowners. One of these rating systems is the increasingly popular HERS index which has just been adopted as part of the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC).
When comparing the fossil fuel use and carbon footprint of raised wood and slab-on-grade concrete, the APA found that wood used considerably less fossil fuel and contributed less to global warming than concrete.
Efforts to reduce fossil fuel consumption and contain global warming are affecting the way in which building codes are created and shifting consumer needs. This has resulted in greener building standards which require significant reductions in energy consumption from the building industry in every process from creating building materials, to construction and on to the performance and life cycle of the building itself.
Energy efficient buildings are comprised of a number of different elements including specialized wall and window assemblies, insulated doors, structural elements and mechanical systems all working together to ensure a comfortable environment all while minimizing the expense of utility consumption. Most HVAC systems are still sized by rule of thumb, but taking the guesswork out of your calculations will mean that you get the right sized system for your build.
The building envelope is only as effective as its weakest element and all too often these areas the doors and windows in a home which can account for up to a third of the overall energy loss according to the APA. Not only do these openings lead to energy loss, but as a result of less than appropriate levels of insulation, condensation can occur, which can lead to damage and can cause mold and mildew. Technological advances have seen the creation of advanced window and door systems which prevent energy loss and condensation.
Energy costs that go to conditioning the air in a home add up to about half of its overall energy consumption. Improving the competence of the building envelope and using insulation with R-values that exceed those stipulated by the local building code will help to reduce the homeowner’s energy consumption.
Insulation is the key to energy savings only if it is accompanied by an effective air barrier. Gaps and holes in your air barrier will mitigate the efficacy of even the most robust insulation. When any holes in the building envelope are effectively sealed, the homeowner can expect to save up to 30% of their home energy bills.
When a ‘whole house’ design approach is adopted, construction professionals can effectively improve energy efficiency with little or no increase in construction cost as higher costs may be offset by using a smaller HVAC system or less material. Efficient wall systems enable the construction professional to secure the building envelope and prevent energy loss.
As a contractor, you know that you have to constantly be working towards the next sale and the online world provides a free source of business. A blog and social media platforms cost nothing but time and effort and can really help to promote your business if used correctly.
Whether you already have your own construction company or you have aspirations for the future, good business practices are universal to all companies and trades. While you may know everything there is to know about your trade, you can always learn new techniques of dealing with customers.
Whether you are designing a new bathroom or working on a remodel the bathroom is surprisingly one of the most difficult rooms in the house to design effectively. Here are five common mistakes that can detract from an otherwise perfect bathroom design.