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Survey finds owners of green homes to be a content, remorse-free bunch

Posted on March 7, 2014 at 2:30pm by admin No Comment
Survey Finds Owners...
In a first-of-its-kind customer satisfaction survey, respondents give certified green homeownership a ringing endorsement with a majority believing that the benefits of owning an eco-friendly abode outweigh any additional costs.

 

Last week at the International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) shared the results of a country-wide survey commissioned in order to more accurately gauge the satisfaction levels of green homeowners. And not at all surprisingly, a majority of the 187 respondents that participated in the survey are happy as clams with 94 percent of them stating that they’d enthusiastically recommend purchasing a green home to friends and family.

Conducted by GuildQuality on behalf of the NAHB, the survey consisted of 37 qualitative and quantitative questions specifically geared toward the original owners of National Green Building Standard-certified homes built within the last three years. Although the homes in question were largely of the single-family variety, a small number of NGBS-certified condos and townhomes also played into the mix.

Fifty-percent of respondents acknowledged that the price tags on their homes were a bit higher than comparable conventional counterparts lacking energy- and water-saving features but believe the benefits ultimately outweigh the costs. Eighty-eight percent of respondents “strongly agreed” that they were fully aware that they were buying/building a certified green home and when asked if they would purchase another green home in the future, 92 percent of respondents answered “yes.”

Perhaps the most interesting takeaway of the survey has to do with the specific green attributes that were most important to homeowners when buying or building an eco-friendly abode. The phrase “insulation” came up repeatedly as did “efficiency.” Other desired features singled out by respondents were “heating/cooling,” “geothermal,” “solar,” and “windows.”Breaking down overall satisfaction levels, green homeowners were most satisfied with “low utility bills” and “energy efficiency” (both 25) followed by “insulation” (22) and “heating and air systems” (17). When asked what green aspects of their home that they were least satisfied with, 87 of respondents opted to list nothing while 20 pinpointed “water efficiency/usage” as being an area that could use some work.

Matt Belcher, a Missouri-based builder and co-chair of the NAHB’s Energy & Green Building Subcommittee, explains the importance of switching things and conducting a customer satisfaction survey instead of, once again, tapping builders for their thoughts on the topic of green building trends: “Historically, studies have focused on interest in green among buyers in the market or on trends as reported by industry professionals. While that’s certainly important information for all those in the industry, it doesn’t always get to the heart of what new buyers want to know, which is: ‘How satisfied are green homeowners with their decision?’ This data provides groundbreaking information that can be of value to the general public as well as the industry.”

Link to article:  http://www.mnn.com/your-home/at-home/blogs/survey-finds-owners-of-green-homes-to-be-a-content-remorse-free-bunch

Energy Efficiency is Possible on a Budget

Posted on May 24, 2013 at 5:04pm by admin No Comment

At J.W. York Homes we don’t believe that you need to invest in solar power, expensive gadegtry, and costly certification programs to achieve a healthy, energy efficient home. We strive to transform our most basic practices into ones that will benefit the ultimate efficiency of your home. From advanced framing techniques to our insulation packages and even our pest treatment methods, we make small changes to the standard building practice to achieve a higher efficiency home without breaking the bank. See what BuilderMagazine has to say on the topic below…

Cellulose attic

Energy Efficiency Is Possible on a Budget

Building professional says a budget-friendly energy-efficient home requires going back to basics

By: Katie Weeks

Think building an energy-efficient home requires a higher budget? Not necessarily, according to panelists at a recent International Builders’ Show session, who told attendees that better-performing houses can actually improve a builder’s bottom line.

Energy-conscious construction doesn’t need to break the bank and many builders can make a significant dent in their homes’ performance by going back to basics rather than focusing on maxing out whiz-bang gadgetry, Ed Hauck of Builder Partnerships in Littleton, Colo., told the audience of “Building an Energy Efficient Home on a Budget” at the Las Vegas event today. What’s more, builders can capitalize on energy efficiency features to better market their homes to grow their bottom line, said co-panelist Vernon McKown of Ideal Homes in Norman, Okla. Hauck and McKown were joined by Michael Gestwick of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Speaking from a builder’s perspective, Hauck, who specializes in cost-effective homes, recommended a number of basic strategies. “Go back to design basics,” he said. Creating a cost-effective box at the start can allow a builder to invest more of the budget into energy-efficiency measures. Before beginning a project, calculate the target square footage to remain profitable, and keep this size in mind as you progress through a project.

Sudden Rise in Home Demands Takes Builders by Surprise

Posted on April 22, 2013 at 5:05pm by admin No Comment

21housing-articleLarge

by: Catherine Rampell of the NY Times-Business Day

SACRAMENTO — After six years of waiting on the sidelines, newly eager home buyers across the country are discovering that there are not enough houses for sale to accommodate the recent flush of demand.

“In my 27 years I’ve never seen inventories this low,” said Kurt K. Colgan, a broker with Lyon Real Estate in the Sacramento metropolitan area, where the share of homes on the market has plummeted by one of the largest amounts in the nation. “I’ve also never seen a market turn so quickly.”

The housing turnaround seems to have caught almost everyone in the business by surprise. As desirable as the long-awaited improvement may be, the unusually low level of homes for sale is creating widespread problems for buyers and sellers alike, leading to bidding wars and bubblelike price jumps in places that not long ago were suffering from major declines. In the Sacramento area, where the housing bust took an especially heavy toll, the median sales price has surged 15 percent over the last year, according to Zillow.

Nationwide, sales prices rose 7.3 percent over the course of 2012, according to the Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller index, ranging from a slight decline in New York to a surge of 23 percent in Phoenix. Tracking more closely with the national trend were cities like Dallas, up 6.5 percent; Tampa, which rose 7.2 percent; and Denver, which gained 8.5 percent.

In many areas, builders are scrambling to ramp up production but face delays because of the difficulty of finding construction workers and in obtaining permits from suddenly overwhelmed local authorities. At the same time, homeowners — many of them lifted above water for the first time in years — often remain reluctant to sell, either because they want to wait and see how much further prices will climb or because they are afraid of being displaced in the sudden buying frenzy.

[…]

Construction is expected to take longer than usual, though, and expenses are rising, Mr. Carson said. That is primarily because after six years of almost no local building, skilled labor is scarce.

Many workers in the immigrant-heavy industry have left the area, returning to Mexico and other points south. Others pursued work in Texas’s energy boom, where both drilling and construction jobs have become more plentiful. Those who stayed in the local area often switched to medical data entry, U.P.S. delivery services, or anything else that they could find. Or they filed for disability and dropped out the labor force altogether.

see full article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/21/business/economy/in-us-surprise-housing-demand-catches-industry-off-guard.html?pagewanted=1&_r=0&ref=buildingconstruction

Advantech Floor Decking

Posted on March 27, 2013 at 5:06pm by admin No Comment

IFEver stepped on a hardwood floor and heard a “creak”? One of the major reasons for this common issue is the floor decking installed in new construction homes. The floor decking should be a ¾”plywood or a dense material like Advantech. The nails or staples used to install hardwood flooring need something dense to hold on to or they start to loosen and back out over time. Once that happens, your floors start playing music.

Most builders are opting to install less dense floor decking because it saves them a few hundred dollars per house driven especially by the rising price of framing lumber we are seeing right now.

At J.W. York Homes we only install Advantech floor decking because we’d rather give our clients a quality product than save a few bucks off the top. I believe in this product and it’s what I put in my own home.

If you would like to learn more about Advantech please check out http://www.advantechperforms.com/.

The Importance of ‘Full Wrap’ Fiber Cement Siding

Posted on February 19, 2013 at 5:07pm by admin No Comment

DSC_0068Over the last 20 years the standard siding product used by builders has become fiber cement siding. Fiber cement siding is basically concrete board that is more durable than wood or other types of siding that, when installed correctly, will significantly reduce the exterior maintenance required for your home. It comes in a variety of sizes, textures, and shapes to mimic the look of real wood or shakes. The name most people recognize for this product is “HardiePlank”.

So if we have this wonderful product out there and most all builders are using it, then why are so many homes having maintenance issues just a few years after being completed?

The answer is that even though most builders are advertising and using fiber cement siding, they are not full wrapping the home in fiber cement.

A home has corner boards, fascia, soffit, freezes, beam wraps and other trim boards that make up the entire cladding of the exterior. Most builders are using the fiber cement for the actual siding but they are opting for less durable products for all of the trim boards. Those builders can save $300 to $500 on a typical sized home by using wood over fiber cement for the exterior trim boards while still getting the benefit of advertising that they are using “HardiePlank” siding.

The reality of the situation for the homeowner is that they now have two very different products on the exterior of their home which have drastically different life and maintenance cycles. Within 3-5 years, the fascia, soffit, trim, and corner boards will likely require repainting, show shrinkage cracks in caulk joins, and may begin showing evidence of rot in some areas.  If this maintenance is deferred the home could need significant repairs just 7 or 8 years into the life of the home.

At J.W. York Homes we full wrap our homes in fiber cement “HardiePlank” siding, trim, corner, fascia, soffit, and beam wraps. This ensures that our homes exteriors will stay on a consistent maintenance cycle and, in most cases, should not need to be repainted until 10 to 15 years into the life of the home.

If you want to learn more about the total system that J.W. York Homes implements on its new construction homes in terms of long lasting products, energy efficiency, and indoor air quality please visit our Green Building page on our website.

To learn more about fiber cement and James Hardie products please visit www.jameshardie.com.

-Your Builder

Jared York

Housing Starts Hit Highest in Four Years

Posted on October 25, 2012 at 11:31pm by Annie No Comment

Housing starts rose to their highest rate in more than four years in October, suggesting the housing market recovery was gaining steam, even though permits for future construction fell.

The Commerce Department said on Tuesday housing starts increased 3.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 894,000 units — the highest since July 2008.

The housing market has turned around after an unprecedented collapse that landed the economy in its worst recession since the Great Depression. The recovery, marked by rising home sales, prices and building activity is being driven by pent-up demand against the backdrop of record low mortgage rates.

The Federal Reserve has targeted housing as a channel to boost growth, announcing in September that it would buy $40 billion in mortgage-backed securities per month until the outlook for employment improved substantially.

Residential construction is up 41.9 percent compared to October last year. Housing starts are now about 40 percent of their 2.27 million-unit peak in January 2006. Homebuilding is expected to add to gross domestic product growth this year for the first time since 2005.

Last month, groundbreaking for single-family homes, the largest segment of the market, eased 0.2 percent to a 594,000-unit pace. Starts for multi-family homes surged 11.9 percent to a 300,000-unit rate, partly reflecting increased demand for rental apartments.

See full article here

CloseBuilding Green

Learn about green buildingHover over the green leaves () to learn more about green buidling components that go into J.W. York's custom built houses and how they benefit you.

Encapsulating the attic in a home with open cell foam and removing the normal attic ventilation allows for a semi conditioned attic that replicates the temperature of the conditioned area of the home. The benefit is a more comfortable home, reduced load on the air conditioning, and energy savings.
Energy Star qualified metal roofing has reflective qualities that significantly reduce heat gain on the home resulting in lower energy bills and a more comfortable home.
We use Energy Star ceiling fans and CFL light bulbs in our fixtures and offer LED recessed can lights which significantly reduce energy demand on a home and putt off less heat than standard incandescent light bulbs.
Energy Star qualified wood or vinyl windows come standard in all of our homes. With LoE2 coating on the glass and Argon gas in between panes, these efficient units allow the home to have an abundance of natural light while maximizing comfort and performance.
Our use of high efficiency air filtration systems rated at MERV 8 or 10 capture more airborne pollutants and particles than a standard 1" filter thus significantly improving the indoor air quality of your home. These 5" think filters also need to be changes less frequently and contribute to the longevity of your HVAC system.
High Efficiency 15 Seer or better electric heat pump systems come standard in our homes and are paired with programmable thermostats. Our systems and duct work are properly sized using a Manual J calculation for each individual home. The system is then third party inspected by a duct blaster test to make sure the system is tight and has minimal leakage. The combination of these efforts will ensure a comfortable, efficient, and long lasting system for our homes.
We use open cell spray foam insulation to encapsulate all of our attics and R-19 exterior wall insulation which both exceed code requirements for insulation. These items will help ensure a comfortable and efficient home.
The use of a tank-less gas water heater or a heat pump water heater can greatly reduce the cost of heating water.
Energy Star rated appliances in our homes save an average of 30% in energy cost over standard models.
Advanced framing techniques are used to put more insulation and less wood in the exterior walls of the home while maintaining structural integrity. These techniques include California corners, 2x6 exterior walls @ 24" on center, and ladder framing of exterior T-walls.
Caulking all plates, stud-to-stud gaps, foaming around windows and exterior penetrations, and properly installing house wrap lends a tight seal to all of our homes. Our homes are third party inspected upon completion with a blower door test to check for gaps and leaks.
Basements and crawlspaces are areas of the home that must be properly insulated, dehumidified, and kept free of moisture to ensure a healthy home. We properly waterproof these areas, install footing and foundation drains, and grade around the home to ensure no water will end up in or under your home. We insulate the exterior walls of both basements and crawlspaces and then introduce an HVAC air handler or heat pump water heater inside those areas to semi- condition those spaces and keep humidity under control.
Most builders are advertising and using fiber cement siding. The problem is they are using wood for their fascia, soffit, corner boards, and other trim pieces because it saves them a few hundred dollars per home. When you go back and look at their homes 3 or 4 years later; the siding looks great but the trim boards all need to be painted again. If they are not painted they start to decay and weather very poorly. At J.W. York Homes we "full wrap" our homes in fiber cement siding and trim boards. This ensures the trim and siding on your home will stay on the same maintenance cycle and will prevent costly repairs in the future.
At J.W. York Homes we are mindful of our impact on the environment. Even though we use long lasting products, advanced framing, and proper planning to reduce the amount of job site waste; a new construction home still produces a good amount of waste. We have partnered with a local waste management and recycling company that hauls off 100% of our jobsite waste. They take the waste to a facility that sorts the waste and recycles as much of it as possible. We are currently able to recycle non pressure treated lumber, block, brick, stone, asphalt shingles, metal, cardboard, plastic, drywall, and much more. These products are then reused for such purposes as soil additives, erosion control methods, or resold to help offset the cost of recycling.