Thursday, April 30, 2009

Asheville NC Custom Builder saves Energy with CFLs

CFLs produce light differently than incandescent bulbs. In an incandescent, electric current runs through a wire filament and heats the filament until it starts to glow. In a CFL, an electric current is driven through a tube containing argon and a small amount of mercury vapor. This generates invisible ultraviolet light that excites a fluorescent coating (called phosphor) on the inside of the tube, which then emits visible light. CFLs need a little more energy when they are first turned on, but once the electricity starts moving, use about 75 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs. A CFLs ballast helps "kick start" the CFL and then regulates the current once the electricity starts flowing.

Older CFLs used large and heavy magnetic ballasts that caused a buzzing noise in some bulbs. Most CFLs today and all ENERGY STAR qualified CFLs use electronic ballasts, which do not buzz or hum. Advantage Development Co. Is an award winning custom green home builder and Energy Star partner in Asheville NC that understands how important energy conservation is in this day and age of global warming. Let us assist you in properly designing that new dream home to maximize efficiency and reduce total home operating costs. Call us at 828-215-9064 or visit us at to learn why we are the better builder in and around Asheville NC.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Asheville NC Custom Builder shares on Outdoor Living Spaces

A long used approach for enlarging the overall feel of a house is to make rooms look larger by visually extending them into the lawn or garden. Using the same wall material inside as for a wall that continues on the terrace and using the same material for the inside ceiling as on the extended terrace eaves, and using glass walls all help to do this. In addition your living room, dining room or even bedrooms can flow right outdoors on to "floating" decks, bricked terraces or lattice-roofed loggias. With the aid of vines, fences, shrubbery, shade trees and flowers you can make a terrace a delightful place for entertaining, sun-bathing and relaxing. Another dimension is added with a barbecue, for with your own fireplace or barbecue any terrace, lawn or garden spot can offer the enchantments of dining under sun and stars.

Barbecues that are located at a distance from the house should be designed to include protected compartments for tinder, fuel storage, and possibly even barbecuing utensils. The more self-sufficient an outdoor area is the more pleasure it can provide. A barbecue that has working space, built-in ovens and a wide grill, makes outdoor dining enjoyable even for the cook. While planning your terrace, you should consider installing electric outlets for lighting, music, an electric barbecue spit, etc. You may want to use vines to create a lattice roof (for example, grape vines leaf out late in the summer when shade is wanted and drop their leaves early as cooler weather sets in). Rapid growing vines like grape, hyacinth or the gourd vine work best. Advantage Development Co. is an award winning custom green builder in Asheville NC building fine homes for two decades. Call us at 828-215-9064 for a free consultation or visit us at to learn just why we are the better builder.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Asheville NC Custom Builder talks about ICFs

Concrete forms have taken a new shape-and purpose. Insulating concrete forms (ICFs) are rigid plastic foam forms that hold concrete in place during curing and remain in place afterwards to serve as thermal insulation for concrete walls. The foam sections are lightweight and result in energy-efficient, durable construction. ICFs consist of insulating foam, commonly expanded polystyrene (EPS) or extruded polystyrene (XPS). The three basic form types are hollow foam blocks, foam planks held together with plastic ties, and 4 x 8 panels with integral foam or plastic ties. ICFs can be used to form various structural configurations, such as a standard wall, post and beam, or grid. They provide backing for interior and exterior finishes.

Insulation values of ICF walls vary depending on the material and its thickness. Typical insulation values range from R-17 to R-26, compared to between R-13 and R-19 for most wood-framed walls. The strength of ICF structures relative to lumber depends on configuration, thickness, and reinforcement. However, ICF walls are designed as reinforced concrete, having high wind and seismic resistance. Advantage Development Co. is an award winning custom green builder in Asheville NC building fine custom homes for two decades. Call us at 828-215-9064 or visit us at to learn more about us and why we are better.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Asheville NC Custom Builder explains ENERGY STAR Home Rating System

To earn the ENERGY STAR, a home must meet guidelines for energy efficiency set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. These homes are at least 15% more energy efficient than homes built to the 2004 International Residential Code (IRC), and include additional energy-saving features that typically make them 20 to 30% more efficient than standard homes. And with home buyers increasingly interested in green building, energy efficiency is the place to start. That's because the energy used in homes often comes from the burning of fossil fuels at power plants, which contributes to smog, acid rain, and risks of global warming. So, the less energy used, the less air pollution generated. And the easy way to make sure a new home is energy efficient is to look for the blue ENERGY STAR mark, the government-backed symbol for energy efficiency.

ENERGY STAR qualified homes can include a variety of 'tried-and-true' energy-efficient features that contribute to improved home quality and homeowner comfort, and to lower energy demand and reduced air pollution: effective insulation, high efficiency windows, tight construction and duct work, efficient heating and cooling equipment, efficient lighting, appliances, water heaters, and getting a third party verification to make sure the whole house operates optimally as an energy saving system. Advantage Development Co. Is an award winning custom green builder that gets the Energy Star rating on ever home they build in Asheville NC and the surrounding WNC areas. Call us at 828-215-9064 or visit us at to learn why we are the better custom home builder.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Asheville NC Custom Builder shares on Benefits of Finger Joint Studs

Finger-jointed studs use short pieces of 2x dimensional lumber material glued together to form standard length studs. While they may be manufactured in any species, products are most commonly available in: Douglas Fir, Hem-Fir, Spruce-Pine-Fir, and western woods. The use of finger-jointed studs and lumber is widely practiced and accepted. Finger-jointed studs in short lengths (pre-cut to 12') are stocked at many building supply and lumber retail stores. Long lengths usually have to be ordered. Finger-jointed casing is available at home improvement centers. The cost of finger joint studs is the same as regular dimensional lumber.

Specifying finger-jointed lumber reduces the use of solid sawn lumber. Moreover, solid sawn studs may have weak spots and may twist and warp. The builder usually ends up having to replace a lot of solid lumber studs, thus increasing construction costs. Finger-jointed studs are resource-efficient engineered materials, which are as strong as, but straighter and more stable than solid-sawn studs. This radically reduces the need to cull bad studs, normally required with solid-sawn studs. This saves material, time and money. Advantage Development Co. is an award winning custom green builder in Asheville NC for over two decades now and knows the benefits of using engineered wood in their fine custom homes. Call us at 828-215-9064 for a free consultation or visit us at to learn more about us.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Asheville NC Custom Builder talks about Hempcrete, a great Green Building Product

How to build green is a topic on everyone persons mind these days, and hempcrete fulfills the requirements of being made from natural materials, being non-toxic, and providing energy efficiency. Formed into foot-thick walls on a wooden frame, the material eliminates the need for both insulation and sheet rock. Such walls are breathable and have a pleasant, natural appearance, as well as the ability to alleviate noise pollution from the outer world.

Hempcrete, which can be used in the same way as concrete, is made by mixing hemp, lime, sand, plaster and cement. It is mixed on site and sprayed onto the frame. Aside from doing away with the need for insulation, the material is waterproof, fireproof, and resistant to weather, rodents, and rot. It is said to be seven times stronger than concrete, as well as being more elastic, thus less prone to crack, and half the weight of concrete. Rather then emitting carbon dioxide, the construction of a hempcrete building can remove carbon dioxide from the air and trap it. Advantage Development Co. Is a pioneer in the field of custom green building in Asheville NC. Call us at 828.215.9064 or visit us at to learn why we are the better builder in Asheville and the surrounding areas. Starting in May 2009, we will host a free monthly green building seminar on the fourth Sunday of every month at New Hope Presbyterian Church, 3070 Sweeten Creek Rd., 2-4PM so call us and RSVP today.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Celebrate Earth Day with Asheville NC Custom Green Builder, Join The Green Revolution

Earth Day 2009, April 22, will mark the beginning of The Green Generation Campaign which will also be the focus of the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day in 2010. With negotiations for a new global climate agreement coming up in December, Earth Day 2009 must be a day of action and civic participation, to defend The Green GenerationTMs core principles: A carbon-free future based on renewable energy that will end our common dependency on fossil fuels, including coal, an individuals commitment to responsible, sustainable consumption, creation of a new green economy that lifts people out of poverty by creating millions of quality green jobs and transforms the global education system into a green one.

Earth Day is a time to celebrate gains we have made and create new visions to accelerate environmental progress. Earth Day is a time to unite around new actions. Earth Day and every day is a time to act to protect our planet. Advantage Development Co. is an award winning custom green builder in Asheville NC committed to saving this earth, one home at a time. We are hosting free monthly green building seminars from May 2009 through 2010 to support the Green Generation Campaign and show that we are an integral part of the green revolution. Call us at 828-215-9064 or visit us at to learn more about the "green" revolution and why we are the better builder.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Asheville NC Custom Builder likes Standing Seam Metal Roofs

A metal roof is a premium roof system that adds value to your most important investment-your home. Initially, a metal roof will likely cost more than an asphalt roof, comparable to some other systems like tile or shake and less than slate. While these premium roof systems look good initially, they breakdown over time and you wind up having to install two or more while your metal roof will keep on providing the protection for you and your home. A metal roof will indeed save you money over time; in fact, most metal roofs come with a true 30 to 50 year warranty.

Then, add that all in with what you'll save in roof maintenance costs. To make sure an asphalt roof lasts as long as possible, extra roof maintenance is essential. But a metal roof is just about maintenance-free. All you have to do is occasionally hose it down from the ground. Metal roofs not only save you money, they'll save you time and worry, too. Advantage Development Co. is an award winning custom builder/certified green professional in Asheville NC and has two decades of experience with standing seam metal roofs. Call us at 828-215-9064 or visit us at to see why we are the better builder in Asheville.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Asheville NC Custom Builder explains R-Value for Insulation

An insulation materials r-value refers to its ability to stop or slow down the transfer of heat. It is based on a laboratory measurement, called an r-factor. The r-factor, multiplied by the thickness of the material in inches, gives you the r-value of the insulation. Laboratory measurements, however, do not always accurately reflect conditions in the real world. Most insulation materials lose their effectiveness when crammed into a tight space between walls. In addition, temperature can also make a big difference, some insulations operate better in colder temperatures, while others work best in warmer environments. In addition, if a material is stretched too thin or installed improperly, the r-value could diminish.

Good insulation can make your home more energy efficient, or it can leak the valuable energy you spend to regulate the temperature of your home. Which insulation you choose is an important decision, but it is even more important to make sure you hire a reputable contractor to apply the insulation. Many homes have incorrectly-installed insulation that causes serious energy issues, and the owners can go years without realizing the problem. Your insulation can go a long way toward making your home greener and more energy efficient. Advantage Development Co. is an award winning custom green builder in Asheville NC and understands the importance of sealing the house envelope & using the best insulation for the home design parameters. Call us at 828-215-9064 or visit us at to learn why we are the better builder.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Asheville NC Custom Builder talks about Home Energy Efficiency

Energy-efficient homes are in demand. That is because they save your customers money, provide greater comfort and help protect the environment by using less energy. Home Advantage homes are ENERGY STAR certified making them at least 15 percent more energy efficient than standard homes. They also enjoy a 5 percent Progress Energy discount for the life of the house. Home resale prices are typically much higher for ENERGY STAR Rated homes, and homes sell quicker with ENERGY STAR certifications.

Energy efficiency pays off for your customers and can be your competitive advantage in todays challenging market. We illustrate to potential buyers how the slightly higher cost of efficiency upgrades is more than offset by energy savings. For example: If you add $1,500 for energy-efficiency upgrades to the cost of a $200,000 home: The mortgage goes up by just $9/month, assuming a fixed 30 year, 6 percent mortgage. The monthly utility bills could come down by at least $31/month. That's a savings of $22 per month in the first month of ownership. The homeowner could ultimately save at least $264 a year. Building your new home to ENERGY STAR standards just makes plain good sense and Advantage Development Co. is an ENERGY STAR Rated Builder with two decades of experience in Asheville NC. We are also a NAHB Certified Green Professional ready to meet all of your green building needs. Call us at 828-215-9064 or visit us at and learn why we are the better builder when it comes to residential and green home design & building.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Asheville NC Custom Builder describes importance of Passive Solar Home Design

To get the most from your home, think sun. That's right, the sun can heat and cool your home and reduce its energy use. More importantly, the energy from the sun can make your home comfortable year round. There are two types of solar design systems, passive and active. Homes constructed as passive solar design use the natural movement of heat and air to maintain comfortable temperatures, operating with little or no mechanical assistance. It is called passive solar because the design of the home maximizes the benefits it receives from the sun with standard construction features. Passive solar takes advantage of local breezes and landscape features such as shade trees and windbreaks, and uses a simple system to collect and store solar energy with no switches or controls.

On the other hand, active solar systems use mechanical devices such as pumps and fans to move heat from collectors to storage or from storage to use. Photovoltaic panels that collect solar energy, turning it into electricity, are also considered an active solar system. Although, building a passively designed solar home takes careful planning, the task is relatively simple, if you use the five basic solar design principles: Orientation, Overhangs and Shading, Insulation, Windows, and Thermal Mass. Building to take advantage of solar energy need not cost any more than building a comparably sized non-solar conventional home. A home that is properly oriented, tightly constructed, well insulated, and has operable windows for air circulation is both comfortable for the occupants and easy on the wallet. You can call it passive design or just smart construction. Advantage Development Co. is a NAHB Certified Green Professional and understands that building green to saving energy & renewable resources should begin with proper home design utilizing passive solar home design techniques. Call us today at 828-215-9064 or visit us at to learn more about us and why we are better.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Asheville NC Custom Builder Shares on Solar Hot Water Systems

Solar water heaters, also called solar domestic hot water systems, can be a cost-effective way to generate hot water for your home. They can be used in any climate, and the fuel they use, sunshine, is free. Solar water heating systems include storage tanks and solar collectors. There are two types of solar water heating systems: active, which have circulating pumps and controls, and passive, which don't. Most solar water heaters require a well-insulated storage tank. Solar storage tanks have an additional outlet and inlet connected to and from the collector. In two-tank systems, the solar water heater preheats water before it enters the conventional water heater.

In one-tank systems, the back-up heater is combined with the solar storage in one tank.
Solar water heating systems almost always require a backup system for cloudy days and times of increased demand. Conventional storage water heaters usually provide backup and may already be part of the solar system package. A backup system may also be part of the solar collector, such as rooftop tanks with thermosyphon systems. Since an integral, collector storage system already stores hot water in addition to collecting solar heat; it may be packaged with a demand (tankless or instantaneous) water heater for backup. For more information on solar hot water systems call Advantage Development Co., an award winning custom green builder in Asheville NC. Call us at 828.215.9064 or visit us at to learn more.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Asheville NC Custom Builder explains PV Systems

What do we mean by photovoltaics? First used in about 1890, the word has two parts: photo, derived from the Greek word for light, and volt, relating to electricity pioneer Alessandro Volta. So, photovoltaics could literally be translated as light-electricity. And that's what photovoltaic (PV) materials and devices do, they convert light energy into electrical energy (Photoelectric Effect), as French physicist Edmond Becquerel discovered as early as 1839. Commonly known as solar cells, individual PV cells are electricity-producing devices made of semiconductor materials. PV cells come in many sizes and shapes, from smaller than a postage stamp to several inches across. They are often connected together to form PV modules that may be up to several feet long and a few feet wide. Modules, in turn, can be combined and connected to form PV arrays of different sizes and power output.

The size of an array depends on several factors, such as the amount of sunlight available in a particular location and the needs of the consumer. The modules of the array make up the major part of a PV system, which can also include electrical connections, mounting hardware, power-conditioning equipment, and batteries that store solar energy for use when the sun isn't shining. Did you know that PV systems are already an important part of our lives? Simple PV systems provide power for many small consumer items, such as calculators and wristwatches. More complicated systems provide power for communications satellites, water pumps, and the lights, appliances, and machines in some people's homes and workplaces. Many road and traffic signs along highways are now powered by PV. In many cases, PV power is the least expensive form of electricity for performing these tasks. Advantage Development Co. is an award winning custom green builder in Asheville NC and understands Solar PV technology, costs, and tax credits available. Call us today at 828.215.9064 or visit us at to learn just why we are the better builder in Asheville.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Asheville NC Custom Builder explains Radiant Heat & How It Works

In a home which is heated by radiant heat, your body circulation will improve because your feet are warm. That isn't the case with a forced air system. The heat is near the ceiling, around your head. Chairs and walls keep warm without cold spots or drafts in a radiant heated home -- objects in a forced air home are only as warm as the air around them. Radiant Heat keeps your furniture, drapes and painted walls extremely clean and keeps the floors dry. When the home is heated by blowing air; dust, dirt, grime, molds and other materials are blown from the ducts soiling the objects in the room. Place furniture anywhere. There are no grills or baseboards with a radiant heat system. Hang drapery right to the floor. Install wood, tile, carpet, or any other floor coverings without fear of cold feet. Forced air can't come close to the flexibility of a radiant heating system.

Radiant heat is not absorbed by the air, so it is ideal for buildings which have high air exchange rates. Radiant heat offers considerable energy savings over warm air systems, especially under otherwise difficult conditions. Radiant heat is transmitted by infrared waves and is directional. Radiant panel heating ensures that cold spots are avoided. Zone control of the radiant system permits flexible management, allowing selected areas to be heated to different temperatures as required. Radiant heating minimizes roof heat losses. By keeping the heat at floor level and around the objects to be heated, the temperature at the ceiling level becomes cooler and substantially reduces the heat loss. Radiant heat warms up cold bodies directly without heating the whole building. Consequently, radiant heating responds to the heating needs more quickly than warm air. The less frequent warm up periods save fuel and allow the heating system to match flexible, modern working arrangements. Radiant heating does not circulate air, therefore airborne particles are reduced. Radiant heat is not for everyone, but it does offer some home owners benefits that forced air does not. Advantage Development Co. is an award winning custom home green builder in Asheville NC with over two decades of experience. Call us at 828.215.9064 for a free consultation or visit us at to learn more about us.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Asheville NC Custom Builder explains how Geo Thermal Heat Pumps Work

Geo thermal Heat Pumps, here is how they work. All energy comes from the sun. Mr. Sunshine has provided a lot of BTUs for a lot of years and Mother Earth has absorbed and stored that energy. A closed-loop geothermal system simply removes those BTUs from Mother Earth in the winter and gives them back in the summer. At depths of five feet or more, the earth temperature remains close to 57 degrees, as evidenced by a caves temperature. This temperature varies only slightly across the United States. There are two basic ways to install a geothermal unit. If digging a trench is difficult or if space is limited, geothermal contractors drill holes into the ground vertically to install small-diameter polyethylene pipe. If digging a horizontal trench is feasible, the pipe is installed in a horizontal trench.

A very small pump then circulates water from the earth to the geothermal unit and back to the ground in the closed loop pipe. Actually, geothermal is not the best name for this unit. A better name is ground-coupled heat pump or water-to-air heat pump. As you learned in my last newsletter, a heat pump does not create heat; it just moves heat from one location to another using a compressor. Example: A window air conditioner blows cool air inside and hot air outside. If you turn the air conditioner around, it will blow hot air inside and cool air outside. As it circulates 57-degree water in the winter, the geothermal unit, using the compressor to remove heat from the water, provides 105-degree air into the house. As the water goes back to the ground loop, it immediately starts absorbing BTUs from the earth.

In the summer, a reversing valve simply reverses the process and the compressor pumps BTUs into the ground loop. The water returns to the earth and immediately starts cooling off again. It is all about heat transfer. Here is another example, a blacksmith heats a horseshoe to red hot. To cool it, he does not wave the horseshoe into the air. Instead, he simply dips it in water. It cools off a lot faster and takes a lot less energy. Geothermal gives good hot air in the winter and really cold air in the summer and uses less energy than any other central heating and cooling system. So do not be a tightwad. Buy the best there is, you, your family, and your house deserve it. Advantage Development Co. is an award winning custom home builder in Asheville NC, building fine homes for two decades. Call us today at 828.215.9064 or visit us at to learn more about why we are the better builder.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Asheville NC Custom Builder likes ENERGY STAR Bulbs

If every American home replaced just one light bulb with an ENERGY STAR qualified bulb, we would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes for a year, more than $600 million in annual energy costs, and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of more than 800,000 cars. ENERGY STAR qualified bulbs use about 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent bulbs and last up to 10 times longer, save about $30 or more in electricity costs over each bulbs lifetime, produce about 75 percent less heat, so they are safer to operate and can cut energy costs associated with home cooling, and are available in different sizes and shapes to fit in almost any fixture, for indoors and outdoors. Advantage Development Co. Is an award winning custom builder in Asheville NC, and always educates clients on the benefits of ENERGY STAR Appliances & Lighting. Call us today at 828.215.9064 for a free consultation or visit our website at to learn more about us & why we are better.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Asheville NC Custom Builder shares on Low VOC Paints for Healthier Indoor Air

Indoor air is three times more polluted than outdoor air, and according to the EPA, is considered one of the top 5 hazards to human health. Paints and finishes are among the leading causes. Paints and finishes release low level toxic emissions into the air for years after application. The source of these toxins is a variety of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which, until recently, were essential to the performance of the paint. New environmental regulations, and consumer demand, have led to the development of low-VOC and zero-VOC paints and finishes. Most paint manufacturers now produce one or more non-VOC variety of paint.

These new paints are durable, cost-effective and less harmful to human and environmental health.Benefits-Health, Reduced toxins benefit everyone, including those with allergies and chemical sensitivities. Environment, Reduces landfill, groundwater and ozone depleting contaminants. Effective, Low-VOC products perform well in terms of coverage, scrubability and hideability (covering flaws on previous coats). Water-Based, Easy cleanup with soap and warm water. Little or No Hazardous Fumes. Low odor during application; no odor once cured. No off-gassing, Painted areas can be occupied sooner, with no odor complaints. Not Deemed Hazardous Waste, Cleanup and disposal greatly simplified. Advantage Development Co. is an Award Winning Custom Green Builder in Asheville NC that believes in using Healthier Building products in all of their new home construction. Call us today at 828.215.9064 for a free consultation or visit our website at to see why we are the better builder in WNC.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Asheville NC Custom Builder talks about "The Stack Effect" in Homes

Stack effect in buildings

Since buildings are not totally sealed (at the very minimum, there is always a ground level entrance), the stack effect will cause air infiltration. During the heating season, the warmer indoor air rises up through the building and escapes at the top either through open windows, ventilation openings, or leakage. The rising warm air reduces the pressure in the base of the building, forcing cold air to infiltrate through either open doors, windows, or other openings and leakage. Advantage Development Co. says it is critical that the entire building envelope is properly sealed to minimize the stack effect in homes. During the cooling season, the stack effect is reversed, but is typically weaker due to lower temperature differences.

In a modern high-rise building with a well-sealed envelope, the stack effect can create significant pressure differences that must be given design consideration and may need to be addressed with mechanical ventilation. Stairwells, shafts, elevators, and the like, tend to contribute to the stack effect, whereas interior partitions, floors, and fire separations can mitigate it. Especially in case of fire, the stack effect needs to be controlled to prevent the spread of smoke. Totally ventilated natural fireplaces cause a huge stack effect in residential homes, sucking conditioned inside air to the outside world, thus wasting tons of energy. Energy efficient, forced ventilated, gas log fireplaces are the way to go says Advantage Development Co., an Award Winning Asheville NC Custom Green Builder with two decades of residential construction experience. Call us today at 828.215.9064 or visit our website at to see why we are the better builder.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Asheville NC Custom Builder Expalins Passive Solar Home Design

Passive Solar Home Design

Your home's windows, walls, and floors can be designed to collect, store, and distribute solar energy in the form of heat in the winter and reject solar heat in the summer. This is called passive solar design or climatic design. Unlike active solar heating systems, passive solar design doesn't involve the use of mechanical and electrical devices, such as pumps, fans, or electrical controls to move the solar heat. Passive solar homes range from those heated almost entirely by the sun to those with south-facing windows that provide some fraction of the heating load. The difference between a passive solar home and a conventional home is design. The key is designing a passive solar home to best take advantage of your local climate.

The following five elements constitute a complete passive solar home design. Each performs a separate function, but all five must work together for the design to be successful.

Aperture (Collector)
The large glass (window) area through which sunlight enters the building. Typically, the aperture(s) should face within 30 degrees of true south and should not be shaded by other buildings or trees from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day during the heating season.

The hard, darkened surface of the storage element. This surface, which could be that of a masonry wall, floor, or partition (phase change material), or that of a water container, sits in the direct path of sunlight. Sunlight hits the surface and is absorbed as heat.

Thermal mass
The materials that retain or store the heat produced by sunlight. The difference between the absorber and thermal mass, although they often form the same wall or floor, is that the absorber is an exposed surface whereas thermal mass is the material below or behind that surface.

The method by which solar heat circulates from the collection and storage points to different areas of the house. A strictly passive design will use the three natural heat transfer modes conduction, convection, and radiation, exclusively. In some applications, however, fans, ducts, and blowers may help with the distribution of heat through the house.

Roof overhangs can be used to shade the aperture area during summer months. Other elements that control under- and/or overheating include electronic sensing devices, such as a differential thermostat that signals a fan to turn on; operable vents and dampers that allow or restrict heat flow; low-emissivity blinds; and awnings.

Advantage Development Co. is an Award Winning Green Home Custom Builder in Asheville NC building dreams since 1990. Call us today at 828.215.9064 for a free consultation or visit us at and learn why we build better homes in Asheville and the surrounding WNC area.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Asheville NC Custom Builder Talks about Poplar Bark Shingles for Home Siding & Accents

How are Bark House Shingles Made?

Our vendors start in the forest, alongside crews cutting poplar logs for the furniture industry and other uses. As soon as a tree falls, our small teams of craftsmen use coordination and strength, along with a collection of special antique tools, to loosen whole cylinders of bark from the trunk. The cylinders of bark are flattened and cut by hand into standard shingle length. After damaged or cracked sections are removed, the shingles are carefully stacked, and then placed under pressure to prevent curling. The stacks are kiln dried to the proper moisture content, sterilized and then stored in our climate-controlled warehouse until they are ready for use.

When properly installed, bark siding can last over 75 years without significant deterioration. For wear-testing purposes, Highland Craftsmen® monitors homes that were built with Poplar Bark Siding in the 1930s. In some areas, the patina of the bark is weathered, but still functional. There is no need for sealants or preservatives, bark siding resists all kinds of wear. However, using a wood preservative in areas of intense sunshine or exceptional moisture can help retard premature bleaching. Bark Shingles are a very green resource, and are used on many net zero homes as stated by Advantage Development Co.; an Asheville NC based Custom Green Home Builder. Call us at 828.215.9064 or visit our website at to learn why we should be your next builder.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Asheville NC Custom Builder says BioBased Spray Foam Saves Energy while Saving The Earth

BioBased Insulation® uses soy-based technology to replace a portion of the petroleum in its products. With this proprietary technology, BioBased Insulation® uses less petroleum than other spray foam insulations, reduces our country's dependence on foreign oil and utilizes soybean oil, a renewable resource grown by more than 600,000 American famers. In addition, because you'll reduce your energy usage each month, you'll be using less electricity and/or natural gas which is another positive benefit for the environment. BioBased Insulation® can help save building and home owners up to 50% on their heating and cooling costs when used in conjunction with other responsible building components. BioBased Insulation® more than pays for itself by providing you savings in each and every month’s heating and cooling bill for the life of your home or office. As an example, using BioBased Insulation® may increase your monthly mortgage by $15, but decrease your monthly utility bills by $65, providing a net savings of $50 month in and month out.

Have you ever noticed that one of the rooms in your home or office is warmer or cooler than the rest? This is due to unconditioned air infiltrating your home. According to the Department of Energy, this air infiltration accounts for up to 40% of the energy loss in a home or structure. By expanding multiple times its original size, BioBased Insulation® fills every crack and crevice creating an airtight seal of protection around your home or office. This airtight seal will help you keep all of your room temperatures at consistent and desirable levels. Another benefit is a quieter atmosphere. Traffic on a busy street or other airborne sounds can be greatly reduced. BioBased Insulation® not only gives you peace of mind, but peace and quiet, too. Advantage development Co. is an Asheville NC Custom Home Builder that believes in the benefits of BioBased spray foam insulation. Call us at 828.215.9064 or visit us today at to learn just why we are the better builder in Asheville and the surrounding area.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Asheville NC Custom Builder talks about Eco friendly Pervious Paving Material

There is a lot of discussion about pervious paving and its contribution to the environment. Standard paving materials collect pollutants like oil, chemicals, and rubber tire particles from vehicles, pesticides, and dirt, only to have rain wash it off into our waterways, degrading our fresh water supply. Natural landscapes allow rain to percolate down through the soil, taking various pollutants with it, filtering and cleaning them as they flow down, typically arriving clean and clear by the time they reach the water table. We do need hard surfaces to walk, bike, and drive on, so what is the solution? Pervious concrete & pavers can be a great solution to traditional concrete products for drive way installations.

Pervious paving to the rescue. Available in many forms, pervious paving provides us with a surface both structurally sound and porous to water. Pervious concrete is similar to the standard product, but it's made with smaller aggregate and no sand. The result is roughly the texture of a Rice Krispy treat, with open pockets that allow water to flow through the surface to the ground below. Usually placed over about 12 inches of gravel and a geotextile base, pervious concrete can absorb all but the most severe rain events, eliminating almost all water runoff wherever it is installed. Other pervious products include expanded plastic mesh filled with grass and porous paver stones installed over a gravel base. Advantage Development Co. is a custom green home builder that uses pervious drive way pavers on many custom contract homes and clients absolutely love them. Call us today at 828.215.9064 or visit us at to understand why we are the better builder in Asheville and surrounding WNC.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Asheville NC Custom Builder says Typar Housewrap is The Best!

Typar House Wrap delivers four key advantages you will not find with other house wraps:

Superior water holdout, and blocks water from entering the wall cavity. Exceptional moisture vapor transmission (MVT), it breathes so moisture can escape the wall cavity. Superior tear strength, proven to withstand heavy winds and is almost five times stronger than the leading competitive wrap. Optimal surfactant and UV resistance, reduces the damaging effects that oils and tannins from cedar siding, cement siding, stucco, brick and soaps from power washing can have on the systems ability to block bulk moisture penetration; stands up to the beating sun on the jobsite for up to 6 months without degradation.

Think of Typar House Wrap as an extra layer of protection to secure the building envelope. With Typar on the outside, homes feel more comfortable on the inside. Typar eliminates drafts in the wall, which helps reduce energy costs. And the Typar material itself will not support the growth of mold or disintegrate over time, for added confidence and reduced worries. Typar House Wrap offers superior protection that you can count on. Advantage Development Co. in Asheville NC uses Typar on a consistent basis, and likes the added benefits Typar offers over other house wrap systems. Call us today at 828.215.9064 or visit us at to see why we are the better builder.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Asheville NC Custom Builder talks about Water Conservation and Green Building

In 1992, congress reduced the maximum water consumption level of toilets from 3.5 gallons per flush to 1.6, and opponents were hopping mad. Plumbing contractors and consumers railed that the new toilets were ineffective and wasted water due to multiple flushes. The federal government warns that population growth and persistent drought will force at least 36 states into water shortages by 2013. Water conservation is now a national priority, which is why the EPA launched the voluntary Water Sense program to make it easy for consumers to identify and purchase water-efficient products. High-efficiency toilets were recently added to the program.

A high-efficiency toilet (HET) flushes with 20 percent less water than a standard unit. Such toilets may meet the criteria in one of two ways: A single-flush toilet must use no more than 1.28 gallons per flush, or a dual-flush unit must have a full flush using no more than 1.6 gallons and a reduced flush that uses no more than 1.1. With toilet flushing consuming about 30 percent of all domestic water use, ­manufacturers say they are committed to the water conservation movement. The question that looms, however, is whether or not that movement will make voluntary standards become law. With the eco-movement gaining steam, it very well could, so be prepared to install low flow heads, toilets, and gray water delivery systems. Advantage Development Co. is an award winning green builder in Asheville NC that understands what water conservation is all about. Call us today at 828-215-9064 or visit our website at for all of your green building needs.