Saturday, May 30, 2009

Asheville NC Custom Builder says Save Water to Save Energy

Whenever we reduce water use, we also save energy. In fact, several of the most cost-effective energy saving strategies, projects with the quickest payback, are water conservation improvements that reduce hot water use. If you are on municipal water and sewer, water consumption is also responsible for significant energy use. It takes energy to pump water from reservoirs or wells, and to filter and purify that water. It takes even more energy to treat waste water in sewage treatment plants. In fact, for many municipalities, waste water treatment is the single largest energy expense. As an Asheville NC Builder we believe in educating clients on energy saving techniques available in new home construction.

While we pay a little bit for every gallon of water we use, we pay a lot more when it is hot water we are using. In a typical American home, water heating accounts for about 12% of total energy use, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, more than lighting, half-again as much as refrigeration, and about the same as air conditioning. That is a significant amount of energy. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to reduce our hot water use. A few of these are; 1) Install low-flow shower heads, 2) Install low-flow faucet aerators, 3) Repair leaky faucets or shower heads promptly, 4) Insulate hot water pipes, 5) Replace your clothes washer with a horizontal-axis, 6) Energy Star model, and 7) Replace your dishwasher with a top efficiency, Energy Star model. Advantage Development Co. is an award winning Asheville NC Builder that has been building fine custom homes for over twenty years. Visit us at to learn more about energy conservation building ideas.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Asheville NC Custom Builder likes installing Recycled Glass Counter Tops

Recycled glass offers a great alternative to the non-renewable virgin granite that has been so popular for the past decade. Not only can you choose your colors or color combinations, but you can have a tough, smooth, easy-to-care-for surface that doesn't need the fussing and care demanded by stone counter tops. Some companies even offer a Certificate of Transformation that tells you exactly what kinds of glass were used to make your unique counter top. Many of the glass sources have fascinating stories behind them so your counter top comes replete with history! As an award winning Asheville NC Custom Builder we love installing recycled, green products in our fine custom homes.

Now you can be on the cutting edge of fashion, have useful, low-maintenance surfaces, help the planet recycle waste, and have the most beautiful counter tops in your neighborhood. One result of the greening of America is recycling glass like it has never been recycled before. Imagine taking traffic light glass, broken colored bottle glass, window glass -- all kinds of glass that was never recycled before -- and fusing it into glamorous counter tops for the kitchen! Advantage Development Co. has been an Asheville NC Custom Builder since 1990 and has won the parade of homes every time that we entered. Visit us at to learn more about us and why we build great homes.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Asheville NC Custom Builder likes Insulated Sheathing for Better Energy Efficiency Homes

One of the most important energy-saving materials in a home is the insulation. Without insulation, many of the other energy-efficient components, like energy efficient heating and cooling equipment and windows, won't perform as intended. Building codes cite the minimal amount of insulation needed by law. In general, more insulation, or insulation with a higher R-value, will help to make the home more efficient and comfortable year round. The best practice for increasing the R-value in exterior walls is to protect them with insulated foam sheathing.

Advantages of insulated foam sheathing is that, when properly installed, provides moisture control. It protects against condensation on the inside wall by keeping the interior of the wall warmer. Insulated foam sheathing has these additional advantages: 1) Continuous layer of insulation reduces thermal bridging through wood studs, saving energy and improving comfort. Thermal bridging occurs when there is a break in the continuity of the insulation layer, which results in heat loss, 2) It is easier to cut and install than heavier-weight sheathing products, and 3) It usually costs less than plywood or oriented strand board (OSB). As an award winning Asheville NC Custom Builder we like the obvious advantages of insulated sheathing and the added energy efficiency of homes using it. Visit us at to learn more about energy efficient homes and insulated sheathing.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Ask an Asheville NC Custom Builder about Radon Mitigation in New Home Construction

Radon is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas emitted from uranium, a naturally occurring mineral in rocks and soil. Normally, radon rises up through the soil and dissipates in the air outside. Radon becomes a concern, however, when it seeps through openings such as cracks, loose fitting pipes, sump pits, dirt floors, slab joints or block walls and accumulates in the home. Air pressure inside the home is usually lower than pressure in the soil around the house’s foundation. Because of this difference, the house acts like a vacuum, drawing radon in through foundation cracks and other openings. Radon levels vary greatly in the mountain areas of Western North Carolina, and if the level is over 4pCi/L in the living areas of a home, radon mitigation systems need to be installed. As an award winning Asheville NC Custom Builder we understand the health risks associated with high radon levels in homes.

The most commonly used radon mitigation technique, and generally the most effective method, is called sub-slab depressurization. This system uses pipes that extend from a permeable layer below the basement floor (such as gravel or drain tiles) upward through the structure, venting out the roof. This system collects radon gas before it enters the house and funnels it directly up through pipes and out of the home. If natural ventilation through the pipe system is not adequate to lower radon levels, a fan can be added in the attic to help draw gases through the system to the outdoors. Similar systems also can be installed in homes with crawlspaces. Advantage Development Co. is a custom green home builder in Asheville NC and installs a radon tube in every home we build. We know the importance of the home owners’ health and care about the air quality in our new custom homes. Being an Asheville NC Custom Builder for over twenty years we have seen many areas high in radon levels and understand the importance of radon mitigation. Visit us today at to learn why we care more about our home owners health and take every precaution to protect it.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Asheville NC Custom Builder explains How Radiant Floor Heat Works

Unlike most traditional home heating systems, radiant floor heat does not rely on ducted forced air to spread heat through a room. Radiant heat transfer occurs when elements within the floor itself are heated, circulating rising heat from the floor surface around the rest of the room in a process called convection. The floor can be heated in several ways: via air, electricity, or water. Home radiant floor heat systems are typically of either electric or hydronic design. The first of these can be installed as a separate layer, but electric systems most often use electric cables set in concrete because of its thick, heat-conductive texture that can store and radiate heat for hours after the initial heating process.

The hydronic or liquid systems utilize a boiler that heats water, which is then pumped through tubes in the floor or under the finished floor. The hydronic system is by far the most energy efficient and will typically cost somewhere between $10-$15 per square foot of installed area depending on sub floor material as well as finished floor materials used. Advantage Development Co. is an award winning custom green home builder in Asheville NC that has been building fine custom homes and winning awards for two decades now. Visit us today at to learn more.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Asheville NC Custom Builder uses Optimal Value Engineering

Advanced house framing, sometimes called Optimum Value Engineering (OVE), refers to a variety of techniques designed to reduce the amount of lumber used and waste generated in the construction of a wood-framed house. These techniques also improve a home's energy efficiency. Advanced framing techniques create a structurally sound home with lower material and labor costs than a conventionally framed house. Additional construction cost savings result from reduced waste disposal, which also helps the environment.

Advanced framing actually replaces lumber with insulation material and maximizes the wall that's insulated, which improves the whole-wall thermal resistance or R-value. Some examples of advanced framing would be 2 x 6 walls on 24 inch centers, finger jointed stud use, t corners, single top plates and reduced headers on interior non load bearing walls. Advantage Development Co. is an award winning custom green builder in Asheville NC that has been employing Optimal Value Engineering in homes for years as a means to reduce energy usage. Visit our website to learn more about us and why we win awards.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Asheville NC Custom Builder talks about Spray Foam Insulation

There are a variety of insulation options but some are much greener than others. If you are concerned with your home using renewable, energy efficient materials, then using a foam insulation spray could be your solution. In addition to other benefits you get from using a foam insulator in your home or business, the product is also environmentally friendly. It is made up mainly of renewable resources and the means of application is Earth friendly. It is free of ozone depleting components, and the application solution is water based. Not only is spray foam insulation green, it is versatile. It functions well as a barrier to airborne sound and comes with one of the highest fire resistances available in similar products. Pest and rodents will not do any damage because the insulator has no nutritional value to them. It is water resistant, and flexible enough to allow some movement of the building structure. Finally, it produces no toxic vapors after it is applied. You can even rent or buy the equipment and install it yourself.

With concerns about the environment on everyones mind, it helps that you can find products to help in your conservation efforts. You can get greener cars, recycle your trash and electronics, and buy energy efficient appliances. Why not make your home or business part of the solution? Renewable resources benefit all of us. The best thing about spray foam insulation is that you can put it anywhere. It doesn't matter if you're starting fresh on your building, or replacing worn out or useless materials. The spray foam can be applied to existing structures with the same effectiveness it has on new structures. If going green is a priority for your house or office, applying spray foam insulation is another way to help your environment. Advantage Development Co. is an award winning green custom builder in Asheville NC that uses Eco friendly spray foam insulation for its high performance characteristics and its green heritage. Visit us today at to learn more about who we are.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Asheville NC Custom Builder says Cellulose Insulation is as Green as It Gets

Insulation is our number-one line of defense against high heating costs, and my favorite type of insulation is cellulose. Along with its effectiveness at slowing heat flow, cellulose insulation is a green product, made mostly out of an abundant waste product: old newspaper. Most cellulose insulation is manufactured by first chopping recycled newspaper into small pieces, about an inch square. In an older process, this chopped newspaper is further shredded using a hammer mill so that the smallest pieces are about a quarter-inch across. In most newer cellulose insulation plants, the chopped newspaper is fibered, a process that separates the individual fibers, producing a lower-density material, 1.3 to 1.5 pounds per cubic foot. The lower the density, the more insulating value you get for a pound of insulation.

Cellulose insulation provides R-3.2 to R-3.8 per inch, depending on how it is installed. With the wall insulation options described, the value will be at the higher end of that range. Most fiberglass does not insulate as well, because air can circulate through it more easily. This is also the reason that cellulose is actually better than fiberglass at stopping fires, as surprising as that sounds. From an environmental standpoint, it is a big bonus that cellulose insulation is made mostly from recycled newspaper, one of the largest components of our solid waste stream. Cellulose insulation makes sense on many levels: it saves fuel, saves money, and provides an end use for recycling programs. Advantage Development Co. Is a award winning custom green builder in Asheville NC and is a big believer in Blown Cellulose Insulation for higher performance, more energy efficient homes. Visit our website at to learn more about us.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Asheville NC Custom Builder tells why Refrigerators are Energy Hogs and How to Save

In a typical home, the refrigerator accounts for about 8% of the total annual energy expense, according to 2005 data from the U.S. Department of Energy. While this energy consumption for food storage is significant, it’s far less than it was a few decades ago. In the mid-1970s, an average new refrigerator used about 1,800 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year, making it the single most expensive energy load in many homes. The maximum electricity consumption for a typical 19-cubic-foot top-freezer model works out to about 500 kWh/year. With side-by-side refrigerator-freezers that maximum consumption is a lot higher. Energy Star refrigerators use at least 20% less energy than the federal limit. Both the federal energy performance standards and Energy Star requirements have been tightened periodically since those programs were first launched.

So, if you have an old fridge, chances are pretty good that it’s an energy hog and you could save a lot of energy by replacing it. To find out how much electricity your existing fridge is using, buy or borrow an electricity monitor, plug your fridge into it for a week or two, then calculate the annual usage. When building a new home, buyers should closely look at the Energy Star ratings on all appliances and products going into that new home for maximum lifetime energy savings. Advantage Development Co. Is an award winning custom green builder in Asheville NC building fine homes for two decades. John Green, the company co-owner understands energy conservation as he is a degreed engineer and worked extensively with the U.S. Department of Energy on many cutting edge projects and has many case studies published. Come visit us at and learn more about us.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Asheville NC Custom Builder shares on NO VOC Paints

Improving indoor air quality has been one of the newer issues in the green movement. To help deal with this issue there are several low or no VOC paints that have been introduced to help people remodel their homes without damaging their air quality. VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, are what put chemicals from paint into the air, and consequently gives paints their odors. As VOCs are reduced, the odor levels drop, and fewer and fewer chemicals are put into the air.

The down fall for low and no VOC paints has always been tinting. Tinting the paint adds 150 grams of VOCs into the paint. This is true for all paints. That means that even if you buy a boutique, all natural paint, as soon as you tint it to the color you desire, you just defeated all the work you put into locating and purchasing the paint. When building that new dream home always choose a knowledgeable contractor that understands what makes paints and finishes low or no VOC and where to obtain such materials. Advantage Development Co. is an award winning custom green builder in Asheville NC building fine custom homes for two decades. Visit us today at to learn why we truly are the better high end custom builder in Asheville NC and surrounding areas.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Asheville NC Custom Builder shares on Sealed Crawl Spaces

With research proving its benefits, more contractors are enclosing the crawl space. Closed crawl spaces are more energy efficient; resolve moisture, mold and rot problems; and stop insect infestations. To get the most "bang for the buck," insulate the walls, not the ceiling. If given the choice between the walls and ceiling, the Department of Energy says to insulate the walls, not the ceiling. Heat transfer always moves from hot to cold or from inside the home to outside and down into the crawl space. When insulating, it is best to use an aluminum faced material to reflect heat back into the home. Eliminate the moisture. It is important to install a vapor barrier to keep moisture out. Moisture is what causes many of the problems with crawl spaces such as rot, mold and mildew.

The rim joists around the perimeter of the home should be insulated with breathable, un-faced, formaldehyde-free insulation. Make sure the insulation material is fire resistant. Check your local fire codes regarding exposed insulation. Once your crawl space is properly insulated and closed, you may be eligible for an insulation tax credit through the Energy Star program. Homeowners can receive a tax credit for 30% of the cost of materials up to $1500 the year they install the insulation. Advantage Development Co. is an award winning custom green builder in Asheville NC building fine custom homes for two decades. Call us or visit our website at to learn why we are the better custom builder.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Asheville NC Custom Builder explains Energy Recovery Ventilators

We are building a super efficient home, as little air leakage as possible. And thats a good thing. However, since the house is sealed tight, you are breathing the same air, over and over again. Similar to being on an airplane, except with out the air purifier. Now this gets even worse when you add the scents and smells of cooking to your already stale air. So the ERV attaches to your HVAC system and when running brings fresh air in from outdoors while removing the stale indoor air. Bringing fresh air in is a great idea, right? Kind of a no brainer. The problem is when the outside temp is really hot or cold. You would be bringing in that extreme temperature air and killing your energy bill.

Wallah. This is what the energy recovery portion does. It has a fancy way of bringing in fresh air without bringing in the extreme climates outside, so that you are not compromising your energy efficient home. So the big question is do I get the ERV installed during construction or take my chances on breathing stale air forever? Advantage Development Co. Is an award winning custom green builder in Asheville NC and understands how to properly design and engineer that new energy efficient green home to give you years of perfect service, health, and indoor air quality benefits. We are Certified Green Professionals by the NAHB here to help you make important choices on that new custom home. Call us or visit us at to learn why we win awards, year after year.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Asheville NC Custom Builder gets Clients a 5% Utility Reduction for Life with Energy Star Certification on Their New Homes

Progress Energy Carolinas offers an incentive to its residential customers for improving the energy efficiency of their homes. To qualify the home must meet the standards of the US Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star-labeled home program and be verified by a registered third party. Eligible houses will receive a 5% discount on their monthly electric bills from Progress Energy. Advantage Development Co. is an award winning custom green builder in Asheville NC and only builds Energy Star, NC Healthy Built and LEED Certified quality homes. We love getting new home owners the 5% utility reduction on their monthly electric bills. Green home building is more than just bamboo floors, its building energy efficient smart homes that save energy. Call us at 828-215-9064 or visit us at to learn why we can save you more on that new home.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Asheville NC Custom Builder shares about NC Green Power Program

NC Green Power, a statewide green power program designed to encourage the use of renewable energy in North Carolina, offers production payments for grid-tied electricity generated by solar, wind, small hydro (10 megawatts or less) and biomass resources. Payment arrangements for electricity generated by most renewable energy systems are available by submitting proposals for consideration in an open-bid process. However, owners of small solar energy systems and small wind energy systems (10 kilowatts or less) may currently apply to receive program incentives at any time. Owners of small solar energy systems or wind-energy systems are encouraged to review and fill out an online application, available on the NC Green Power web site. Note that customer-generators who choose to net meter are not permitted to sell electricity under the NC Green Power Program.

Generators are required to enter into power-purchase agreements with their North Carolina electric utility and with NC Green Power. However, because premiums paid to NC Green Power are funded exclusively by voluntary contributions from North Carolina electric customers, NC Green Power does not provide guaranteed contracts to generators. Production incentives are based on the amount expected to make the installation of renewable-energy systems approach economic feasibility. The incentives, which include payments from utility power-purchase agreements, are made on a per-kWh basis and vary by technology. Owners of small solar electric systems enrolled in NC Green Power receive $0.15/kWh from the program, plus approximately $0.04/kWh from their utility under the power-purchase agreement, for a total production payment of about $0.19/kWh. Owners of small wind-energy systems receive $0.06/kWh from the program, plus approximately $0.04/kWh from their utility, for a total production payment of about $0.10/kWh.*

NC Green Power is an independent, nonprofit organization created by state-government officials, electric utilities, nonprofit organizations, consumers, renewable-energy advocates and other stakeholders. It began operation in October 2003 as the first statewide green-power program in the United States. North Carolina's three investor-owned utilities -- Dominion North Carolina Power, Duke Energy and Progress Energy -- and many of the state's municipal utilities and electric cooperatives are participating in the NC Green Power Program. Advantage Development Co. is an award winning custom green builder in Asheville NC building fine custom homes for two decades. Call us today or visit us at to learn why we are better.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Asheville NC Custom Builder explains Why They Buy FSC Stamped Wood

FSC is an independent, non-governmental, not for profit organization established to promote the responsible management of the worlds forests. Products carrying the FSC label are independently certified to assure consumers that they come from forests that are managed to meet the social, economic and ecological needs of present and future generations.

By buying FSC products you provide incentives for responsible forestry. You can enjoy your purchases knowing it has not contributed to the destruction of the worlds forest or even come from companies involved in human rights abuses. Over time, your choice with many other responsible purchasing decisions will lead to even more forests being managed responsibly the FSC way. Almost everything made from wood and other forest products is available with the FSC label. Advantage Development Co. Is an award winning green custom home builder in Asheville NC that believes in supporting forest stewardship and always purchases FSC lumber and materials when possible. Call us at 828-215-9064 or visit us at our website and check out our green building page you will be glad you did.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Asheville NC Custom Builder shares about How Important Manual J Calculations Are

When sizing a heating and cooling system for a home, rule of thumb measurements can yield an improperly sized system. Yes, you've probably heard it all before, but a poorly sized HVAC system can lead to an uncomfortable living environment and higher bills for the homeowner, to name a few. The popular method of calculating heating and cooling loads is to use ACCA, Manual J-compliant load calculation software. The old method of buying a Manual J book and sizing by hand is rarely used these days due to all the great software available.

The most common problem in the HVAC industry is the tendency to oversize equipment. Contractors and customers alike are conditioned to believe bigger is better. Unfortunately, bigger leads to higher installation cost, higher operating cost and a more humid house. Yes, an over sized system will not run long enough to remove moisture from the house, and in turn, the customer will feel clammy due to a higher humidity level in the house. The customer in search of greater comfort will now lower the thermostat to feel more comfortable and will keep lowering it until the unit runs enough to remove moisture. Advantage Development Co. is an award winning custom green builder in Asheville NC that will only use qualified HVAC Contractors that are trained in performing manual j calculations accurately to assure optimal energy efficiency and comfort in ever new home they build. Call us today at 828-215-9064 or visit us at to learn why we are the better builder.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Asheville NC Custom Builder shares on Water Filters

Ah, that wonderful refreshing taste of a tall cold glass of water, cooling, soothing and pure. But is it pure? What about all those invisible microbes and bacteria? What about all those pesticides and herbicides you do not see? It is enough to spoil that thirst quenching moment. So how do you get pure drinking water? Most people get a water filtration system. However, no one unit can remove all the impurities in our drinking water. And there are many types to choose from. If you have a better understanding of how water filters work, then you will be able to get the right one to fit your lifestyle.

Most filters today are charcoal, or activated charcoal. There are also other types of filters like Ion Exchange Units, Reverse Osmosis, and Distillation Units. Charcoal, which is mostly carbon, is the residue of partial burning or destructive distillation of organic material. When special heating or chemical processing is added to charcoal, it becomes much more absorptive, and is then referred to as activated charcoal. So a charcoal filter works on the principle of absorption. Large volumes of gases, including most poisonous ones, stick to the charcoal, which is quite porous. Charcoal is what they use in gas masks because it has such a large porous surface area, it absorbs a lot of impurities. Charcoal filters are used in ice maker filters, under counter filters, counter top filters, whole house filters, and more. You get the message, charcoal really takes out the garbage.

Since there are so many choices in models and designs in water filters, there are a few things you will need to do before making your choice: Have your water tested by the local utility and get a report of the contaminants in your water, figure out how much water you drink, that will determine what type of filter to purchase and install, be prepared to stock additional filter cartridges to be replaced on an ongoing basis. By doing your homework you will pick the proper system for your needs and improve your quality of life. Advantage Development Co. Is an award winning custom green home builder in Asheville NC building fine custom homes for two decades. Call us today at 828-215-9064 or visit us today at to learn why we are the better builder in Asheville and the surrounding areas.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Asheville NC Custom Builder hates putting HVAC Equipment & Duct Work in Attics

Where is the hottest place in your house on an 85 degree summer day? Where is the coldest place in your house on a frigid January night? In both cases, it is the attic. So, if you were deciding where to locate a forced air heating and cooling system, what is just about the worst place you could put it? It is obvious: Do not put your HVAC system in an unconditioned attic.

What is a better location? Put the ducts between the floors or in dropped soffits inside conditioned areas of the house. That way the conditioned air always travels through ducts at room temperature. Some better builders will condition the attic by placing insulation near the roof deck rather than at the ceiling. This brings attic temperatures much closer to those inside the house, but it does add an additional energy load to the home. It is a step in the right direction, which is getting HVAC systems located inside the living space of the home. Advantage Development Co. is an award winning custom green builder in Asheville NC and understands the importance of having all HVAC duct work within the conditioned space of the home for optimal energy savings. Call us today at 828-215-9064 for a free consultation or visit us at to see why we are the better builder.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Asheville NC Custom Builder shares about Cork Flooring

Cork as we know it is the product of the cork-oak tree. The bark is peeled off of the tree with the use of hand-held tools in 10 year intervals to preserve the health of each cork oak tree. The bark is then ground and flattened into sheets. Its first use is for wine corks, but the remainder is used for a number of green building materials applications, most notably for flooring. There is little or no wastage and the trees remain unharmed by this strictly controlled harvesting process. Advantage Development Co. is an award winning custom green builder in Asheville NC and believes in using eco friendly building materials and products when possible to lessen the impact of new construction on our planet. Call us today at 828-215-9064 or visit us at to learn just why more people choose us for that custom home.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Asheville NC Custom Builder can Supply all of your Smart Home Automation Needs

When you're not home, nagging little doubts can start to crowd your mind. Did I turn the coffee maker off? Did I set the security alarm? Are the kids doing their homework or watching television? With a smart home, you could quiet all of these worries with a quick trip online. When you're home, the house takes care of you by playing your favorite song whenever you walk in or instantaneously dimming the lights for a movie. Is it magic? No, it's home automation. Smart homes connect all the devices and appliances in your home so they can communicate with each other and with you.

Anything in your home that uses electricity can be put on the home network and at your command. Whether you give that command by voice, remote control or computer, the home reacts. Most applications relate to lighting, home security, home theater and entertainment and thermostat regulation. Smart Home technology can offer the home owner both convenience and energy savings on that new custom built dream home. Advantage Development Co. Is an award winning custom green home builder in Asheville NC with vast experience in home automation, home theatres, and smart home technologies. Whether you need solid network solutions for your home, structured wiring, or a full blown recording studio, we handle it all in house utilizing our staff degreed electrical design engineer. Visit us at to learn why we are the better builder in Asheville and the surrounding WNC areas.