Spring has sprung, Durango, and there’s no better time to give your home an “energy-efficiency audit” than right now. Taking the time to tend to a few details can not only make you and your family more comfortable as the days continue to get longer (and hotter!), they can also save you a ton of coin to take that next great vacation.
Start by servicing your air conditioner – By replacing the air filter, you can lower your air conditioner’s energy consumption by up to 15%. You might also consider checking its evaporator coil, which should be cleaned annually to get its maximum performance.
Take a good look at your window dressings – Blinds, shades, and films not only go a long way in slashing heat when the temperatures rise, they also add immensely to the beauty and value of your home.
Get out the caulk gun – Warm air moves out of your home in the winter and moves in during the summer. In fact, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that 30% of heating and cooling bills are consumed by air leakage alone. Head to the hardware store where you’ll find plenty of options- including caulking, weather-stripping, and weather-resistant sealings.
Pay attention to dust – Dust that builds up on your electronics- lamps, stereo systems, computers- keeps them from being as efficient as they could be because they’re working harder than they need to. While you’re at it, get the ladder out and dust off light bulbs and fixtures for better lighting and air quality. Finally, pull out the vacuum cleaner and vacuum beneath the refrigerator where dust builds up on the coils, making it work much harder than it needs to.
Limit you’re A/C usage by redirecting your ceiling fans – Strategic use of your ceiling fans can be a huge boon to your energy savings. In the winter months, your ceiling fans should be rotating clockwise to push warm air downward. During the summer, they should rotate counterclockwise, thereby pulling warm air up and away from you. And it’s as simply as flicking a switch in the center of your fan!
Cook outside – Rather than using inside ovens and stovetops, take advantage of the warm weather and enjoy some time with your family cooking outdoors on the barbeque or grill. Remember to bring the baseball gloves or a Frisbee to entertain the kiddos!
Use surge protectors- Outfit each room in your home with a surge protector and run all of the electrical devices in that room to the surge protector, making it that much simpler to turn all of those devices off when you leave the room. This tip alone can make an immediate impact on your electric bill.
Head to the nursery – What better time to plant trees and shrubs and do a little landscaping than when the weather is pleasant? Evergreen trees planted on the north and west faces of your home protect you from those merciless winter winds while trees that lose their leaves in the fall can be planted on the south and west faces to provide shade in the summer and insulation in the winter.
After taking stock of your home and tending to these details, you might then consider making small changes in your day-to-day tasks to conserve even more energy. For example, washing your clothes in cold water can save you $63 a year, and hanging those washed clothes on the line not only keeps you from using a dryer that will flood your home with heat, but also give your clothes the sort of fresh scent that no dryer sheet can match!
What are some tips and tricks that you use to save money when spring rolls around?
Remodeling can add so much value to your already existing home so when you are eventually ready to sell, you can rest assured that your investment pays you back. We’ve discussed remodeling a home, the benefits of building a custom home and why – but maybe you’re not quite ready to undertake a large project just yet. Taking it one room at a time is a great way to slowly get your remodeling done – while still knowing you’re investing in the right areas.
So what room do you tackle first? We suggest that one of the first areas to remodel is your bathroom.
How do you know when it is time to remodel a bathroom? There are several indicators to look out for like: realizing that the plumbing needs some repairs, some major components of the lavatory need to be entirely replaced, or the room is just entirely too outdated for your comfort. When the time comes for these major changes, it may be best to simply call in a professional for a complete overhaul of space. However, there will be several things to think about before calling your homebuilder. Ask yourself the following questions to make the conversation with your home builder or general contractor easier when the time comes. As always, we recommend hiring professionals for any kind of home renovation to ensure that your new construction is up to code and done safely.
What are the basic expectations for the finished version of your new custom bathroom?
A builder will absolutely be able to help in planning the remodel and should be consulted before any decisions are made, but knowing the expectations for space will improve the planning experience for all parties involved. Going into the first meeting with the homebuilder thinking that you know exactly what you want may not be ideal. Have a general idea of what you want out of your space and how you want to feel in your space, and then talk to the professional with an open mind.
What sort of price range will you be willing to work with?
This is extremely closely tied to the basic expectations of the bathroom remodel. If considering a complete overhaul with new fixtures, tile work, and flooring, among other things, the budget may need to be a bit fluffy. However, there are ways to cut costs without cutting corners. If there are aspects of the bathroom that are still enjoyable, try to keep them. This is especially pertinent with part of the remodel like tile or flooring. In older homes, it is sometimes hard to be sure what is lurking below these surfaces, and breaking into them unnecessarily could prolong the expected date of finish as well as skyrocket the final costs. Keeping certain aspects of the plumbing in place will prevent the need to re-plumb areas that do not need it, even if the fixtures are being exchanged for new ones.
Is there a specific nuance you want for the finished bathroom?
Certain aspects of the bathroom should be strategically planned to accommodate ideas of what the finished product should make a visitor feel about space. Much of the nuance can be dictated by available natural light, added lighting, and the color scheme of the materials used in the remodel. Lighting is something that will need to be discussed with your homebuilder, but starting with a general idea of what you want will be best for productivity. Keep in mind that if you have an older lavatory, you may be getting into rewiring for lights in new places. Having a well-lit bathing area or shower will add to the overall feel of the bathroom.
Is there a need for more storage space in the bathroom?
This may be something to think about if there are frequent issues with cluttered countertops in the bathroom before the custom remodel. It could also be a good idea to add in a towel rack or two depending on what the bathroom is being used for, how often it is being used, and by how many people. If there is no linen closet elsewhere in the house, or you simply want to have your towels easily accessible where you need them most, then you should consider storage
Do you need to rewire or update your electrical?
There is value in rewiring the lavatory. When remodeling an older bathroom, outlets and electrical components of space might be outdated beyond current building code. This is not only disadvantageous to the value of the home; it can create a hassle later if it’s not taken care of during the initial overhaul. It is best to not only replace the outlet but also, completely rewire the bathroom during the custom remodel so that this space can support whatever electric needs you could have like electric razors, straightening irons, toothbrushes, etc. This part of the job may cost a bit extra, but will prevent issues if there is ever a time that the house needs to be inspected for sale.
Do you like the size of your current bathroom?
It is incredibly important to work with realistic ideas about the size of your space and what exactly you want in the bathroom. If the bathroom is a bit smaller and contains a bathtub that is not being used, it may be wise to turn this space into a shower. This would open up the bathroom visually and overall create a more practical area.
In rather small bathroom spaces, sometimes in may be beneficial to move the sink to a corner space in an attempt to open up the room even more.
Do you know what style you want in your new bathroom?
The textures of the floors and countertops can make a large difference in ease of cleaning, as well as how prone to becoming slippery they will be. This is something to discuss with your homebuilder after discussing your personal expectations, budget, storage needs, and desired nuance for the bathroom. The builder will be able to walk you through what they feel are the best options for assessing your personal desires for the area.
Will the remodel make sure there is enough ventilation?
In an older house, the bathroom may contain an out-of-date ventilation system, which will need to be replaced both for comfort and safety of visitors and residents alike. Having a well-ventilated bathroom can make a huge difference in the possibility of mold growth in the home. Another tactic for prevention of mold growth is to make sure windows in the bathroom can open to let overly humid air escape. This could be as simple as replacing existing windows and as complex as installing new windows where there previously were none. The beauty of the custom remodel is that these things are entirely up to the customer and are completely guided by the homebuilder.
Using these questions can help you determine when, what, how your remodel will look like from start to finish. Making sure that you communicate clearly with your homebuilder is imperative so that your next project finishes smoothly and to your satisfaction. Buena Vista Builders has been a local Durango establishment for over 20 years, providing remodel work to many Durango locals. If you have any questions about what we can do to get your home where you want it to be, drop us a line.
When we think of buying a home, we think of the financial ease being the main reason we purchase an existing home. There are many benefits to purchase an existing home and those reasons can vary from person to person. In Durango, especially, we have found that the market for pre-existing homes has definitely become more limited. Building a custom home on property is becoming more and more frequent. There are so many great benefits to building a new home that is built to your custom specifications. Read below to find out our top 5 reasons to build a custom home:
Energy efficiency: Custom built homes can allow for updated technologies for energy efficiency. Better windows, better insulation options, passive solar and more, as mentioned in our previous post, all contribute to the long-term benefits of having a custom built home. Energy efficiency is a standard in most custom built home but you can take your new home construction even further by incorporating energy-saving technologies like solar panels, too.
Custom Appliances: Being able to add the appliances and features in the house that you want can help you save more money in the long run. Picking out the appliances and customizing them to fit your needs for your family is a huge benefit to building a new custom home. Buying a previously existing home may cost you more money when you factor in that walls, wiring, drains, or pipes may need to change to accommodate your updated and energy efficient appliances.
Privacy: Building your custom home to your specifications can be built to maximize the amount of privacy that you need. Your custom home builder and architect can help you figure out which orientation is the most beneficial for achieving the results you want for the privacy that you need. They can also help you come up with creative ways to maximize natural light and views while still maintaining a private layout for your home. Purchasing an existing home may not yield as much privacy as you’d expect.
Saving money: When you consider that purchasing an existing home is usually several years old, it may cost you more money when you’re constantly needing to fix, update or upgrade certain items and parts of your home. According to New Home Source, “in September 2014, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported that the median price of a new home was $259,000, while the median price of an existing home was $210,300. The key to comparing new versus older home prices, however, is to make sure you are comparing apples to apples, cautions Ed Hudson, director of Marketing Research for the Home Innovation Research Labs, a subsidiary of NAHB. “Comparing median prices is fine, but are the homes the same size? Do they have the same features? Newer homes typically are more spacious and have more modern features.”
Sentimental Value: The ability to build the home of your dreams from the dirt up is the major benefit of new custom home construction. From everything down to the wiring to the materials used in the construction of the home have all been incorporated for a reason – the emotional value of having a custom built home is insurmountable. Creating your custom home to fit your family, your needs, your lifestyle are all really great reasons to invest in the property for your custom home.
When you consider that your dream home may be a home you want to live in for several years (if not decades), making sure that everything is perfect and really up to your personal standards taking the time to build your custom home becomes priceless. Sure, building a custom home may take a little longer than purchasing a pre-existing home, but when you consider the long-term benefits that can go into new custom home construction, you won’t be disappointed. Buena Vista Builders is committed to making sure that your dreams come true when it comes to new custom home construction. As a company, we pride ourselves in making sure that every step of the way is easy as possible for you. We use a program called BuilderTrend wherein you can check in to see the progress of your custom project.
So we’ve discussed the benefits of building a custom home, but maybe you don’t want to find a new home or build a custom home. You’re happy right where you are – but you want to add some more value to your home. There are many ways to get the most out of your current home by doing a remodel. Below, we’ve outlined the top six things to help you make up your mind on whether or not a remodel is for you:
You Want New Amenities: According to the National Home Builders Association, adding in newer amenities is the number one reason to consider a remodel. With the change in technology, most home remodels now feature the latest gadgets and tech advances to make the most out of your existing home. Installing USB ports on your outlets, drawer-style microwaves, touch-less kitchen sinks are just a few of the ways to start upgrading your home with more user-friendly technologies.
You Want to Go Green: Going green isn’t as hard as it used to be, especially with advances in technology. There are many ways to bring an older house into the energy-efficient realm – and doing a home remodel is the perfect time to make sure that you’re where you want to be. You can increase energy efficiency by replacing older, single-pane windows with double-pane. You can update your heating and cooling systems to remotely monitor the temperature inside your house. You can also upgrade your appliances to the Energy Star rated dishwashers or refrigerators. Keeping in communication with your builder can also make sure that you are recycling used materials appropriately.
You Want to Stay in Your Neighborhood: You chose to live in this neighborhood for your family. The schools are great, your kids don’t want to leave their friends, and you’re invested in staying. Remodeling your home can keep you in the place you like best. Being able to put in the amenities you want and upgrade your current home can enable you to stay in the neighborhood that you love.
Your Family is Expanding: Maybe you’re welcoming a tiny addition to your home or maybe you’re looking to accommodate houseguests more frequently. More family members mean that you need more space – plain and simple. Undergoing a remodel to utilize the most out of your space and your home means that you can accommodate the growth of your family. Turning your garage into a second bedroom, adding more space above your stairs, or adding in an extra room in your attic can change the layout of your house immensely.
Your Home Needs Repairs: Older houses tend to need more repairs and updates – especially if it’s been a while since they’ve been up-to-code. If you’ve purchased an older home, undergoing a remodel can help to bring your home into a newer standard. If you’re not interested in doing a complete remodel on your home just rooms, consider choosing a few of the most important updates for your old home to do while your remodel takes place. Updating the electricity, updating the lighting, the windows, or the roof while you’re remodeling your bathroom or your kitchen, can save you a larger headache down the road.
You Want to Increase Value: Increasing the value on your home by way of remodeling is the best return for your home. If you don’t have the budget for doing a larger remodel, consider tackling the project one room at a time. According to HGTV, the number one remodel that has the most value is updating your bathroom, then the landscaping, and then the kitchen. Tackling a remodel in sections can save you money while adding, slowly, to your overall increased home value.
You Want to Avoid Buying a New House: You’ve already gone through the hassle of buying and selling a home. It can be a headache. Your current home was great when you just moved in – the excitement and the joy of having a house that you could call yours beat the fact that the home was missing some custom features. Remodeling is one of the easier ways to bring that personalization to your home without the headache of buying and selling all over again.
A home remodel can be the best way to bring in special touches to your home, save you some money and help you make the most out of your house. Updating your amenities and certain features can bring the 21st century into older homes with ease when you remodel. Buena Vista Builders is highly skilled and efficient at home remodels because we know that your house is your home. Check out some of our resources to find out some more information on saving money while you remodel your home, ideas about how to incorporate newer technology into your home, or updating awkward spaces.
Press Release for Southwest Appliance’s Groundbreaking Ceremony!
On Wednesday, August 12, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. Buena Vista Builders, Inc. was proud to announce the groundbreaking ceremony for Roger & Christine Sterling’s new Southwest Appliance facility located at 21 Davidson Creek Road, in the Rancho Vedado Subdivision next to the Three Springs Subdivision located just off of Highway 160.
Leading the groundbreaking was Bob Smith, President & Owner of Buena Vista Builders, Inc., General Contractor for the project, in conjunction with Tom Umbhau of Bauen Group Architects, & First National Bank of Durango.
Southwest Appliance, Buena Vista Builders, Inc. & First National Bank of Durango are all proud members of the HBA of Southwest Colorado as well.
Southwest Appliance’s new 7,829 SF facility will include 3,458 SF of designated Retail space, 1,118 SF of Appliance Service Repair space, 948 SF of Office space, 2,430 SF for the new Warehouse, and LOTS OF PARKING!
Building a custom home can be a daunting undertaking for some people – especially if your interests are aligned with environmentally friendly practices. Often the questions asked before building your custom home can be, “Can building a custom home be environmentally friendly? If I want to be environmentally friendly but still want to build a custom home, what do I do? How do I incorporate green building techniques or solutions into my custom home?”
There are several different ways to make sure your house is environmentally friendly, but the best first step is making sure that you are building your custom home that is energy efficient. At Buena Vista Builders in Durango, Colorado, we take pride in the fact that we help you maintain your custom home building goals while still keeping in line with energy efficiency.
Below you will find some energy efficient elements that you can incorporate into your custom built home:
Passive Solar – Considering your custom home will be drafted to your specifications on your property, there are several ways to make the most out of passive solar.
Site location and how your house is oriented on your property can help determine how much passive solar you receive. Are there mountains blocking your access to full sunlight? Are there other houses that could affect your ability to achieve passive solar? The longest side of your house should be facing true south – you can deviate up to 15º away from true south without losing significant energy. A skilled builder can help you determine where your house needs to be located in order to get the most out of your accessible solar energy.
Landscaping around your ‘solar window’ (the area of your house that was pre-determined to have passive solar) should consist of lower vegetation to prevent overgrowth from blocking sunlight. Even deciduous trees can prevent you getting maximum solar energy. However, having trees (especially deciduous) on the west side of your house could help decrease heating with their bare branches allowing for a little more sunlight during the fall, spring and winter months, and protection from the summer sun when their leaves are at their fullest.
Room location is also another way to get the most benefit out of your passive solar-friendly custom home. Part of being energy efficient is making sure that homes have rooms located in areas that are based on usage. Placing rooms that have the most usage (kitchens, living rooms) in areas in the passive solar areas will help keep heating costs down.
Insulation – By properly insulating your house and using the correct type and R-value of insulation recommended by your custom homebuilder can greatly reduce the energy consumed in the long run.
R-value ratings can indicate how much insulation (and which types) you should use. Making sure that your insulation is rated highly on the R-value scale is one of many ways to determine how much insulation is needed. The more insulation you install will help to increase your R-value rating and will create more heat resistance and use less energy over time. Working with qualified insulation installation experts is just one of the ways that Buena Vista Builders ensures your home is as energy efficient as possible.
The type of insulation is also a huge indicator of energy savings. There are several variations of insulation that you can install – depending on the level of energy efficiency you are trying to achieve. Some environmentally conscious insulation materials are mineral wool insulation, cellulose insulation, plastic fiber insulation and natural fiber insulation. Mineral wool insulation contains an average of 75% recycled content, less prone to air convection and is comparable to high-density fiberglass batts. Cellulose insulation material is made from roughly 85% recycled paper products, is treated with borate to ensure fire and insect resiliency, and requires no moisture barrier. Plastic fiber insulation is made from recycled milk bottles and formed into batt insulation (not unlike fiberglass), harder to handle and sometimes even harder to purchase since it is not readily available in all areas. Natural fiber insulation can be made of cotton (which is a blend of 85% recycled cotton and 15% plastic, and treated with borate), sheep’s wool (treated with borate but susceptible to constant dry/wet damage), straw bale (popular 150 years ago, fused into boards without adhesives which also double as sound-proofing), or hemp.
Knowing where to put your insulation to get the most out of your energy savings is just another way your custom homebuilder can bring their expertise to your project. Installing insulation in specific, strategic areas of your house will prevent long-term energy savings especially if you consider moisture control and air-leakage as factors in wasted energy. Also, if you live in a place where termites and other vermin are popular, this could affect what kinds of insulation you use and where you have it installed. Attics, ducts, exterior walls, and foundations are all areas in your home that you should consider carefully before insulating.
Appliances/Lighting –Home appliances account for roughly 20% of your energy bills, so when you are installing appliances there are a few things that can help to make your house as energy efficient as possible.
Energy Star appliances – Picking out all new appliances for your custom home is, quite possibly, one of the fun parts – you know you’re close to being finished when these are installed. Better yet, knowing that you can have an impact on the environment when you select these items feels even better. When your home is finished, installing Energy Star rated appliances allows you to continue with environmentally conscious approaches – long after your custom home has been built. Energy star rated appliances use 10-15% less energy and water than other models. They can also save you more money on utilities down the road.
Installing “smart” appliances is a great way to reduce your consumption of energy. Smart appliances shift your energy use to off-hours when you use them less. As stated in Energy.gov’s website, “Your air conditioner may run slightly less often. Or your refrigerator might delay its defrosting cycle until the middle of the night. If your utility charges lower rates for electricity at night, this could help you save on your utility bill.”
Choosing lighting that can be adjusted for usage (like dimmer switches) or occupancy can help use less energy. Choosing lighting fixtures that meet Energy Star ratings, can also help you save in cost. Making sure that you choose motion-sensor outdoor lighting can also help make your home energy efficient, especially if you use lower wattage in these fixtures.
Part of what we love doing at Buena Vista Builders is making sure that you are satisfied with the level of professionalism involved in creating your custom home. Energy efficient homes are an important part of being an environmentally conscious home building company.