No matter what budget your have established for building your custom home, or who your builder is, there are three items that you must insist are part of the construction of your new home. These should be included because they are the equivalent of leather seats, a navigation system and side air bags in your BMW (or LEXUS or Bentley)-who would order one of these cars without one?! The items to follow should also be included in your home because if you do not do include them during construction, you can’t do them later on. Insist your builder includes them in your next custom home and know if you select Structure Home as your builder, they are standard in every one of ours!
Radiant Barrier Roof Decking
What it is. It blocks over 95% of the radiant heat hitting the roof from entering the attic.
Why it matters. Radiant barrier roof decking helps reduce energy consumption and can save homeowners up to 17% per month on air conditioning costs. It installs like conventional roof sheathing, requiring no additional labor. In addition, it can allow us to reduce the tonnage of the HVAC system.
Uponor PEX Water Supply Lines
What it is.A flexible crosslinked polyethylene used in plumbing and radiant flooring systems.
Why it matters. Copper water lines and no guarantee, Uponor has a 25- year guarantee. Unlike copper, Uponor PEX retains heat in how water lines, resists condensation in cold water lines and has NSF certification for water purity.
Tankless Water Heater
What it is.Unlike traditional tank water heaters, tankless models don't store hot water. When hot water is needed, water flows through the device and the heat exchanger warms the water to the desired temperature. When the hot-water valve is closed, the flow sensor turns off the burner. It only operates when you need hot water!
Why it matters. Since heating water accounts for up to 30 percent of the average home's energy budget. It only makes sense that we not keep water heated 24/7 when we do not need hot water. After all, do we really need to keep a tank of water at 94 degrees all day when nobody is home?
April 22, 2013
Be The Change...April 22nd, Earth Day
Structure Home would like to wish you, your family, and the world, a Happy Earth Day (April 22) and Arbor Day (April 26)! Arbor Day (www.arborday.org) encourages people to appreciate, care and plant trees and plants. Earth Day (www.earthday.org) was credited with putting environmental issues on the political map and launching the environmental movement to raise awareness in the United States.
“Earth Day not only raised awareness for environmental issues-it was instrumental in the establishment of several government initiatives. In 1970, President Richard Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to monitor and safeguard the health of the nation's air and water. The Endangered Species Act of 1973 protected threatened animals around the world. People everywhere began recycling and conserving water and energy.” - http://people.howstuffworks.com/culture-traditions/holidays/earth-day-qotd.htm
Structure Home supports environmental action and in our efforts to be the change we believe in, we built two USGBC LEED Silver homes in 2012, we have two LEED registered homes currently under construction in Brentwood, and we are one of five EPA WaterSense builders in all of southern California!.
Join in the celebration! Find out if your local community is holding any Earth Day or Arbor Day Events.
Here are 5 easy things you can do to also celebrate:
1)Pledge to start recycling more
2)Plant something (a tree, a vegetable, an herb)
3)Ride your bike or walk instead of driving to the store or to work
4)Look to start receiving paperless bills
5)Fix a leak in your house
“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.” -- Native American Proverb
When building your home there is a certain priority of decision-making you need to be aware of as some decisions cannot be easily (or affordably) altered years later. As your home building experts we can help you leverage our expertise by prioritizing your decision-making in an order that will benefit you for years to come. We will guide your decision making to assist you in “future-proofing” your new home so that you do not need to make senseless upgrades months or years later that could have been foreseen and perhaps avoided.
For example, changing out your faucets five years down the road to reflect a new taste or design is relatively easy to do. Upgrading the insulation in your walls, however, will likely never be affordable within your lifetime. So with that in mind, let me share with you decades of experience and expertise to help you avoid making the wrong choices at the wrong time.
To visualize the building envelope, think of the barrier that separates the conditioned space inside your home from the unconditioned space outside your home.Roofs and walls protect you from the elements, while windows transmit light, views and ventilation to occupants.
When building your new home, you should spend your money on a strong, resilient exterior building envelope that will keep the environmental elements out of your home thereby keeping you comfortable within the home. And since you do not want to live in a cave, the building envelope should enable you to enjoy the view of your yard and neighborhood while ensuring the beautiful windows that provide those views do not require you to pay an unaffordable utility bill.
Roof and Walls
Your roof and walls are made of the roof shingles and wall cladding (brick, stucco or siding), filled with insulation and then punctured with holes filled with glass (windows and skylights)! Let’s look at each component individually as they that make up the backbone of your home. If you get these decisions correct up front then you will not have to change them or upgrade them ever again.
Your roof shingles, regardless of style (asphalt, clay, aluminum, concrete, etc...) should be durable. That means you should select a shingle that has at least a 40-year guarantee with an underlayment that will be just as durable. Additionally, we recommend an Energy Star rated “Cool Roof” shingle and radiant barrier roofing decking to reduce the amount of solar heat gain that will occur inside your attic space.
The insulation in your home whether it is fiberglass, spray foam or a hybrid needs to be properly installed-and that is easier said than done! In order to ensure your insulation is properly installed, insist your builder has an independent third party inspection of the installation to ensure you get the insulation value your purchase. We can help you determine which insulation is right for you and your family but in each and every case you know with Structure Home that it will be properly installed.
Finally, your widows! Not only should they look beautiful but they should perform beautifully! That means your windows must have the latest technology to let the light in and keep the heat out. Low "e" Glass. In order to reduce radiant heat gain or loss, low "e" (emissivity) glass was used in all windows. The windows are gas-filled and dual-glazed with a "heat mirror" sheet, a transparent material that allows light, but little heat, to penetrate during warm months and retains heat in winter. These windows not only provide energy savings but also acoustic benefits by minimizing external noise. We can help you find that combination no matter what budget range you select.
The building envelope is just the tip of the iceberg. We would very much like to talk to with you about each component in greater detail in terminology that is easy to learn and understand. Please drop us an emailand we will schedule a time to talk about these items and many more that will help ensure your new home has sensible, up to date technology that can last a lifetime. After all, it is you and your family that stands to benefit for many years to come!
Structure Home to Build Custom Homes that Save Water and Energy
Los Angeles, CA - Structure Home is strenghtening its commitment to green building by partnering with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) WaterSense program to provide WaterSense labeled homes in the Los Angeles basin.
Structure Home is now building residential single-family homes that save water and energy by including WaterSense labeled products, water-smart landscaping, and plumbing systems designed to use less water by delivering hot water more quickly. [If an irrigation system is installed, these homes also include WaterSense labeled controllers, which use local weather and landscape conditions to tailor water schedules to acutal onsite conditions.] All WaterSense labeled new homes are independently certified to be about 20 percent more water-efficient than a traditional new home, and they use less energy to heat water.
"WaterSense labeled new homes are an investment that helps consumers save water, energy, and money on utilities," said Sheila Frace, Director of EPA Office of Water's Municipal Support Division. "In fact, compared to a traditional home, a WaterSense labeled new home will save a family of four as much as 50,000 gallons of water per year - that's the equivalent of washing more than 2,000 loads of laudry. These savings can add up to $600 in utility bill savings."
"We're excited to partner with WaterSense to build more efficient homes, save consumers money, and protect natural resources," said Robert Kleiman. "A Structure Home WaterSense labeled home is not only a wise investment for homeowners, but it's an investment in our community and the future of our planet."
Another Structure Home in BrentwoodPending USGBC LEED SILVER
“While demand for traditional residential construction is slowing, the green housing market continues to grow and 116 South Medio is a great example of why this is,” said Nate Kredich, Vice President, Residential Market Development, U.S. Green Building Council. “LEED certified homes are healthier places to live, produce lower utility bills, have better air quality, and leave a smaller environmental footprint behind.”
LEED-certified homes complete a technically rigorous process that often includes a home energy (HERS) rating and onsite inspections to verify that the home is built to be energy and water efficient, environmentally sound, and a healthier place to live.
This featured home is located in Brentwood, California. The home was built by Structure Home, which is known for their expertise in building LEED homes. Green homes may have substantially lower utility bills and may qualify for advantageous financing, lower insurance rates and government incentives. Through their commitment to green homebuilding, Structure Home is helping to keep homeownership affordable.
“As a LEED-certified home, this home in Brentwood, serves as a model of greener living for the entire community," said Nate Kredich, Vice President of Residential Market Development for the USGBC. The home sets the example that we can all live better by reducing our environmental footprint, cutting our utility bills, and coming home to a greener place to live.
VISION House Los Angeles in Pacific Palisades Achieved USGBC LEED Silver
Perhaps more than ever before in history, people all across the world are facing challenges and realizing the importance of change within all aspects of their daily lives. The call for change can be observed in the re-structuring of all facets of the life we live, from our local and global economies, to our political structures, to our security risks, to our culture, to our health and wellness, to our value systems and on and on. On a very positive note, we are being called to move away from fear and doubt drivers into acceptance, compassion and more thoughtful solutions that bring value and benefit to all. And so, in spite of the challenge we feel from upheaval and shifts in systems formed by prior generations and leadership structures, we are at a wonderful time in the history of our planet with huge opportunity to shape the future onto a positive course. If we embrace change and allow our creative spirit to flourish, then the future will be very promising indeed!
Structure Home has embraced change with outstretched arms by 1) implementing systems to support the legacy of our company with sustainable organizational architecture, 2) working diligently to improve and refine the service we provide through our "Journey Systems" and 3) leading change in our industry with building science, green and healthy construction as our highest priority. These accomplishments are only possible because of the support, hard work and dedication that Structure Home garners from a dedicated community...a professional staff of passionate builders, a broad base of talented design consultants, vendors and craftsman as well as the continual loyalty of clients and friends. In addition to the pride we take in every Structure Home delivered, the value of the relationships we have built is a source of abundant gratitude and fulfillment.
Certified USGBC LEED Silver, VISION House® Los Angeles was a collaboration between Green Builder Media and Structure Home to build a new, visionary and sustainable showcase home...the first of its kind on the west coast. The primary goal of the project partners was to educate and raise awareness, with a custom home that demonstrated current products, materials and construction methods on the leading edge of sustainable design. The VISION House Los Angeles was a research and training opportunity that provides builders, remodelers, designers and consumers essential green building information relating to both new construction as well as retrofit/remodeling. This unique Structure Home and Green Builder Media project was an inspired, architectural home by KAA Design Group, P2 Design, Jill Wolff Interior Design, MJN Landscape Design Studio.