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  • Writer's pictureAl Friedman

The Greening of Home Construction!

By: Al Friedman Sun realty

Recently I was involved in a final walk-thru inspection with some buyers and the construction site supervisor on a new home they were purchasing. As he was describing the energy saving features built in the house, I started thinking about the dramatic changes and developments that have occurred over the last 20 years in the home construction industry. I thought it would be a good opportunity to share some of these developments with you.

The first thing he talked about was the exterior of the home was built using 2'x6' framing, which was not necessarily a revolutionary idea. He further explained, However, that by doing so, it allowed for wider spacing between the boards. Thicker insulation could then be placed in the exterior walls, providing a higher "R" rating (refers to the measurement of the insulation value being provided). The additional advantage was fewer opportunities for cold air to seep in around the timbers, thus saving energy.

Window engineering improvements is another component that has seen remarkable changes over the last quarter century. Modern windows come equipped with multi-pane glass, with built in vapor seals. Low E class reduces outside influences on indoor temperature fluctuations.

Roofing systems have improved by a better understanding of good ventilation. Most new roofs are now installed with ridge vents, and soffit and eave ventilation's, allowing air to circulate throughout the attic space. This not only improves temperature maintenance in the home, but extends the life of the sheathing and roof shingles as well. Lighter color shingles also help to preserve energy, reflecting heat away from the home.

Heating and air conditioning systems have made huge strides. Modern heat plants are much more efficient then those of previous generations. Alternative systems, such as solar and geothermal are becoming more mainstream as installation costs continue to go down. these new systems make better use of sustainable energy.

Flooring is another area where sustainable products are becoming more commonplace. Two of these types that are starting to appear, include bamboo and cork. Both provide aesthetic beauty as well as long lasting endurance. They are also beneficial to personal health. The softer materials are easier on your joints, allowing more "give" when walking on them.

Something else i'm seeing in almost all new home construction now is engineered floor joints. Replacing the old standard 2'x8' or 2'x10' systems, these new ones almost completely erase the possibility of warping and bowing over the years. They are also more stable, reducing the possibility of floors becoming loose. We all have experienced what a squeaky floor board feels and sounds like. In addition, these engineered systems eliminate the need for as many mature trees to be cut down for construction.

Energy consumption can also be reduced in the home with inexpensive modifications as well. Electric outlet insulators can be installed for pennies, keeping cold air outdoors in the winter, and warm air out in the summer. Monitoring devices can be laced on appliances such as water heaters to help control the energy being consumed in non peak hours, saving home owners on their electric bills.

These are but a few of the innovations being implemented in home construction, and more are being developed everyday. For more information on these and other real estate matters, please go to my website

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