Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Asheville NC Custom Builder Explains Manual J Calculation

Year-round, comfort is the goal. In the summer, your air conditioning system not only cools your homes air (sensible cooling), it removes moisture (latent cooling). In the winter, your heating system must keep you comfortable without causing high utility bills. Make sure that your HVAC contractor uses the Manual J residential load calculation procedure. Insist on it! Manual J is the official standard for residential load calculation and is required by many building codes around the country. By accurately performing a Manual J calculation you can be assured that your HVAC system has been sized properly for optimal performance and maximum energy efficiency.

Your HVAC contractor will carefully measure your home and evaluate its levels of insulation. Windows, sizes and quantity will be noted, levels of infiltration will be estimated and internal loads including lighting and kitchen appliances will be taken into consideration. A computerized analysis will be completed that indicates just how much heating and/or cooling capacity your new system should provide. After the installation of your new system is completed, you will receive a copy of the computerized load calculation for your records. As an Asheville NC Custom Builder and certified green professional we only use qualified HVAC contractors that properly perform Manual J calculations on all new heating & cooling systems installed in our fine, luxury custom homes. Visit us today at http://www.advdevco.com/ to learn more about us.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Asheville NC Custom Builder shares on Toxic Carpets

If you are considering wall-to-wall carpet for your home or project, stop, look, and read on. Take a minute to think about the pros and cons of your carpet choices before you buy that next roomful. Carpet is synonymous with comfort, it is soft, absorbs sound, and makes a house warmer, literally and figuratively. Unfortunately, it also contributes to poor indoor air quality (IAQ),off-gassing volatile organic compounds (VOCs), absorbing and retaining moisture that can lead to mold, and is a huge sinkhole for dirt and dust mites. Carpets containing high VOC materials and compounds can be extremely hazardous for your health by affecting the indoor air that you are breathing.

If your heart and feet are set on carpet, go with natural fibers, like wool, hemp, silk, linen, and sisal. My favorite is wool: The innate beauty and durability of pure wool provides a natural soil barrier, adds warmth and comfort, is inherently flame resistant, plus, it comes from a renewable resource. Look for natural fiber carpets free of toxic dyes, pesticides, herbicides, and flame retardants. Two of my favorites are Earth Weave and Natures Carpet, both 100% wool complemented by solid environmental practices. Ensure healthful carpet installation by using tack strips instead of adhesives, which can be loaded with VOCs and make the carpeting harder to remove/replace/reuse/recycle later on. Padding increases softness and the carpet's life, so, again, look for natural wool and rubber; there are many made from recycled products. Advantage Development Co. is an Asheville NC Custom Home Builder and certified green professional that is always educating clients on potential health risks of different types of building materials so that more green products can be chosen. Visit us today at http://www.advdevco.com/ to learn more about us.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Asheville NC Custom Builder shares on Radon Mitigation

Radon is a cancer-causing natural radioactive gas that you can not see, smell or taste. Its presence in your home can pose a danger to your family's health. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in America and claims about 20,000 lives annually. Learn how you can protect your family Test Your Home for Radon, It is easy and inexpensive Fix your home if you have a radon level of 4 pCi/L or more. Radon levels can be high in mountainous areas and as such Advantage Development Co. installs a radon mitigation system in every home we build to assure best indoor quality for our clients.

Lung cancer kills thousands of Americans every year. The untimely deaths of Peter Jennings and Dana Reeve have raised public awareness about lung cancer, especially among people who have never smoked. Smoking, radon, and secondhand smoke are the leading causes of lung cancer. Although lung cancer can be treated, the survival rate is one of the lowest for those with cancer. From the time of diagnosis, between 11 and 15 percent of those afflicted will live beyond five years, depending upon demographic factors. In many cases lung cancer can be prevented if radon systems are in place. As an Award Winning Asheville NC Custom Builder we are very concerned with a home owners health and always install radon mitigation systems to avoid radon leakage into the interior living space of our fine luxury homes. Visit us today at http://www.advdevco.com/ to learn more about us.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Asheville NC Custom Builder shares on Paint Health Risks

With good reason, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates paint within its Top Five environmental hazards, and has produced research that shows VOC (volatile organic compound) levels indoors while paint is drying are 1000 times higher than outdoors. The World Health Organization (WHO) highlights the dangers faced by people who work with paint. It reports that painters have a 20% increased risk of a range of cancers and a 40% increased risk of lung cancer, in particular.

In general, it is recognized that children and older people are particularly vulnerable to solvent vapors. When added to headaches, other allergic reactions, skin problems, heart stressing and effects on the reproductive systems, conventional paint is something you should think hard about before inviting into your home. Advantage Development Co. is an award winning custom builder in Asheville NC that has recognized the health hazards of indoor paints for years now. We always recommend low or no VOC paints and finishes to our clients for indoor applications on their new homes. Visit us at http://www.advdevco.com/ to learn more about us as a custom builder in Asheville since 1990.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Asheville NC Custom Builder shares on Foam Insulation

In recent columns, we have looked at cellulose insulation as well as fiberglass and other batt insulation materials. The other option for filling wall and ceiling cavities is foam insulation that is sprayed into the cavity. There are several such materials that are used for this application, all installed by professional insulation contractors. Closed Cell foam-in-place insulation is by far the best and also the most expensive type of home insulation. As an award winning Asheville NC Custom home Builder we educate our clients on all building materials relative to cost versus performance gains.

Polyurethane is by far the most common foam-in-place insulation material used for homes, but there are several quite different formulations. Closed-cell polyurethane has been around for decades, though the ingredients have changed considerably in the past 15 years as ozone-damaging blowing agents were replaced with safer chemicals. The polyurethane is sprayed into the wall or ceiling cavity as a liquid (much like spray paint), and as the components mix they instantly expand, foaming to create the insulation. The material fully cures in a few hours to form a quite hard, high-density (2 pound per cubic foot) material. In a wall cavity, enough material is typically used to expand to several inches thickness, but not so much that the foam bulges beyond the inner face of the framing. Closed-cell polyurethane insulates to between R-5.8 and R-6.8 per inch, a considerably higher insulating value than any other cavity fill insulation. Advantage Development Co. has been the builder of choice in Asheville NC since 1990, and is a multiple Asheville Parade of Homes Winner. Visit us today at http://www.advdevco.com/ to learn more about our company and why we win awards year after year.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Asheville NC Custom Builder says Build Green to Save Green

Green building is good for the environment. It is energy efficient, which reduces the need to burn fossil fuels and helps fight climate change, one of our countrys most pressing environmental issues. It also makes efficient use of water and other resources, minimizes pollution and waste, and reduces overall environmental impact. But, as building professionals and consumers are increasingly discovering, there are as many advantages to building green as there are techniques. As an award winning custom home builder since 1990 we have come to realize that green building is just plain smart building.

Green buildings cost less to operate because, among other things, they use less energy and water, and require less maintenance. They have better indoor air quality because they minimize chemicals, mold and other harmful substances. And they have excellent resale value-because green buildings are quality buildings and they're built to last. Advantage Development Co. is an Asheville NC certified green professional home builder here to build that fine custom home while getting you any level of green certification ranging from NC Healthy Built, NAHB Green or LEED Certified. Visit us today at http://www.advdevco.com/ to learn more.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Asheville NC Custom Builder shares on Granite

Granite is a natural stone that is among the most popular materials used for home decor. In fact, it is a very hard stone and as far as hardness quotient is concerned it ranks right after the diamond. Different continents including Africa, Asia, America and Europe produce granite in good quantity. Like diamond granite too, has an innate beauty that has achieved a perfect blend with its toughness. So, granite has a history that is old, strength that is extraordinary and beauty that is unsurpassable. As an Asheville NC Custom and Green Builder we love installing granite on both the exterior & interiors of fine custom homes that we build.

No wonder therefore, that granite has become one of the greatest choices for the home makers to decorate their houses. In fact, the brilliant colors and textures of granite are sure to add beauty to your home. When it comes to granite counter tops, the color ranges from white to red, green, black, blues and many other exotic shades. Since it is constructed naturally out of molten rocks, different minerals and other elements have resulted in the variations in color and texture. Advantage Development Co. is an award winning custom home builder that truly appreciates the beauty & durability of granite in the fine homes we build. Visit us today at http://www.advdevco.com/about.html to learn more about us, and why we are better.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Asheville NC Custom Builder talks Foundations

A large foundation crack is a serious matter. Professional engineers who understand foundations need to be brought in. Once the foundation has stopped its differential movement, then the foundation repair can begin. Yes, as Engineers and Master Builders we understand that foundation problems in a home can be disastrous in many cases. We take great measures when building our custom homes to never have a call back related to foundation shifting. By installing our footings on virgin soil, adding 50% more steel and concrete, re-enforcing walls properly, not back filling before walls are braced, and providing proper soil drainage we have never had a foundation related issue with a home we have built.

Many foundation problems can be avoided with the addition of extra steel to the concrete footers and actual foundation. The building code requirements for structural steel are minimum requirements. At Advantage Development Co. we increase the size of steel from #4 rebar to #5 rebar and the number of pieces of steel in every foundation we install. As Award Winning Asheville NC Master Builders and Engineers we understand the important concepts of building a quality home that will last for generations. Visit us today at http://www.advdevco.com/index.html to learn more about who we are and why we build better custom homes in Asheville NC.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Asheville NC Custom Builder shares on Cultured Stone

Cultured stone is becoming more and more popular for both the interior and exterior of homes. Cultured stone is a man made stone manufactured primarily for decorative accents. It is made up of cement, natural aggregates, and iron oxide pigments. In order to give cultured stones a realistic shape they are often created by using a mold of a natural stone. Using cultured stone in your home has many advantages over real, natural stone. We have been using cultured stone for many years on our craftsman style mountain homes and many of our clients prefer it over natural.

One of the main benefits of cultured stones versus natural ones is that cultured stones are much more lightweight. This is an advantage because it places less weight on the foundation of your home. In addition, when using cultured stone you are not required to have a brick ledge on your foundation. This is mostly due to the fact that the back of a cultured stone is flat allowing for excellent surface contact. Cultured stone is also faster and less difficult to install than natural stone. It is also easy to find, and simple to replace. As an Award Winning Asheville NC Custom Home Builder for over twenty years we have always been a big fan of Owings Corning Bucks County cultured stone. Visit us today at http://www.advdevco.com/ to learn more.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Asheville NC Custom Builder talks Tax Credits

Consumers who install solar energy systems (including solar water heating and solar electric systems), small wind systems, geothermal heat pumps, and residential fuel cell and micro turbine systems can receive a 30% tax credit for systems placed in service before December 31, 2016; the previous tax credit cap no longer applies. North Carolina also offers a 35% state tax credit for solar home systems with very high caps on the limits allowed. The total tax credits are 65% for home solar now, not including rebates & monies paid back to the homeowner by NC Green Power. Solar Home Systems are now affordable, and very reliable. As an award winning Asheville NC Custom Home Builder we encourage new homeowners to take advantage of solar & the tax credits allowed.

A tax credit is generally more valuable than an equivalent tax deduction because a tax credit reduces tax dollar-for-dollar, while a deduction only removes a percentage of the tax that is owed. Consumers can itemize purchases on their federal income tax form, which will lower the total amount of tax they owe the government. Advantage Development Co. is an Asheville NC Custom Home Builder and Certified Green Professional that embraces solar technology as a viable alternative energy source for new homes. Visit us today at http://www.advdevco.com/ to learn more about who we are and why we build better homes.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Asheville NC Custom Builder likes the look of Driveway Pavers

As more and more homeowners grow tired of looking at their ugly, stained or cracked concrete, dirt or asphalt driveway they are turning to beautiful, durable and maintenance free driveway pavers. A well-chosen and properly installed driveway can add to the aesthetic appeal of your home, create opportunities for landscaping focal points, and significantly increase the value of your property. As an Award Winning Asheville NC Custom Home Builder we use driveway pavers on many of our custom home projects. We really appreciate the old world look pavers give a drive and the style that is added to the overall homes look.

There are two types of driveway pavers: mortared and mortar less. Mortared pavers have mortar between the pavers and thus create a hardened non-flexible surface. This type of surface is prone to cracking and makes replacing a section or a paver more difficult. Mortar less pavers are the preferred method. Instead of mortar a special mixture of sand is used to make a very solid but flexible driveway surface. And if a paver ever breaks or cracks, replacing it is very easy. Advantage Development Co. is an award winning builder in Asheville NC now in our second generation of building fine custom homes. Visit us at http://www.advdevco.com/ to learn more about who we are & why we build better homes.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Asheville NC Custom Builder shares on GeoThermal

Geothermal heat pumps (GHPs) are a relatively new technology that can save homeowners money. These ground-source heat pumps use the natural heat storage capacity of the earth or ground water to provide energy efficient heating and cooling. GHPs should not be confused with air-source heat pumps that rely on heated air. Geothermal heat pumps use the relatively constant temperature of the ground or water several feet below the earth's surface as source of heating and cooling. Geothermal heat pumps are appropriate for retrofit or new homes, where both heating and cooling are desired. They can be used for virtually any size home or lot in any region of the U.S.

A geothermal heat pump system consists of indoor heat pump equipment, a ground loop, and a flow center to connect the indoor and outdoor equipment. The heat pump equipment works like a reversible refrigerator by removing heat from one location and depositing it in another location. The ground loop, which is invisible after installation, allows the exchange of heat between the earth and the heat pump. GHPs are also typically more efficient than electric, gas or oil-fired heating systems. They are more energy efficient than air-source heat pumps because they draw heat from, or release heat to, the earth, which has moderate temperatures year round, rather than to the air (which is generally colder in winter and warmer in summer than the earth, resulting in less effective heat transfer). Advantage Development Co. is an Award Winning Asheville NC Custom Home Builder that specializes in saving new homeowners energy. Visit us at http://www.advdevco.com/ to learn more about us.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Asheville NC Custom Builder shares on Low Flow Toilets

Dual flush toilets handle solid and liquid waste differently from standard American style toilets, giving the user a choice of flushes. It is an interactive toilet design that helps conserve water that has caught on quickly in countries where water is in short supply, like Australia, and in areas where water supply and treatment facilities are older or overtaxed. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that by the year 2013, an estimated 36 states will experience water shortages as a result of increased water usage and inefficient water management from aging regional infrastructures. Using less water to flush liquid waste makes sense, but in the United States there may be cultural biases that make accepting a more hands-on approach to personal waste harder to accept [source: Safe Plumbing].

Dual flush toilets may be another defining moment in the development of the American john: the introduction of environmental conservation to the process of elimination. Interest in low flow and dual flush toilets is on the rise in the United States, due in part to increased government regulation and the rising cost of water, and there are incentives for making changes in the way we use the commode. In the next months, we will see why change may be a good thing, learn more about the specifics of the dual flush and find out how government and business are coming together to help America flush responsibly. Advantage Development Co. is an Award Winning Asheville NC Custom Home Builder that is concerned with building our new homes in a more energy efficient manner to lessen our carbon foot print on the planet. Visit us at http://www.advdevco.com/ to learn why we build better custom homes.