The AirRenew® family of products are the only gypsum boards that actively clean the air. They feature the industry’s first formaldehyde-absorbing technology which actively removes formaldehyde from the air, converting it into a safe, inert compound, improving indoor air quality for generations.
When it comes to going green, most of us understand the basic priorities of consuming less energy, recycling and reusing goods, and making environmentally friendly purchasing and lifestyle decisions. All of these actions are central to green living and can be easily applied to your home. If you’re looking for ways to increase your eco-friendly lifestyle at home, we’ve got you covered. At Home Improvement Leads we have tons of ideas to help you up your home’s green status.
Consider renewable energy sources
At the mention green living, the first thing that often comes to mind is a traditional rooftop solar panel system. Solar power is at the forefront of renewable energy use in the home and can drastically reduce your carbon footprint and energy bills, so it is definitely something to consider if you’re serious about your green status at home and have the financial capabilities to fund it. While there are several other renewable energy sources that can also decrease your home’s use of greenhouse gas emissions (water and wind power specifically), solar is still by far the most accessible for most residential areas.
Consume less energy
If solar power is not currently within your household budget, there are still plenty of ways you can decrease your everyday energy use. Simple changes such as switching off lights and electronic devices when you leave the room and turning down your HVAC settings when you leave the house will make immediate changes to your energy bills. If you like the idea of monitoring your energy use throughout the house, consider investing in a smart energy meter to help you keep track of your usage via a linked smartphone or tablet app—most large energy companies now offer these meters for free, or you can purchase a more sophisticated linkable thermostat system from brands such as Nest or ecobee.
Create an environmentally conscious kitchen
Once you’ve got your energy use under control, you can turn your focus to other everyday changes that will help encourage your green lifestyle. Recycling, composting, and otherwise decreasing your food and household waste are practices that help not only you and your home, but countless others who benefit from the byproducts of renewable resources. Making green food a priority is just as important as recycling, since most local and organic food products are grown responsibly and sustainably without a negative impact on the environment (plus, they’re free from pesticides and other potentially damaging toxins that can harm you and your family when consumed).
Choose environmentally safe household products
Taking the time to consider the ingredients and production methods of the things you use to clean yourself and your home is just as important as choosing healthy, organic foods. Most store-bought household cleaning and beauty products are full of chemicals, preservatives, and stabilizers that can be harmful to you and the immediate environment in your home. Thankfully, many stores now stock environmentally conscious brands (such as ecover, method, and the Honest Company) that boast no colorants, artificial ingredients, or other potential toxins. If you want to ensure you’re getting a product that has only natural ingredients, you can also make your own cleaning and beauty products with safe and common household ingredients such as vinegar, lemon, baking soda, castile soap, and essential oils.
Hunt for upcycled bargains
If you’re starting to think that green living is only about energy awareness and all-natural products, you’re wrong. One of the most exciting things you can do to ensure your home is embracing an environmentally friendly lifestyle is choosing furniture and decorative accessories that have been used before. While most of us simply run to the store or search online for new furniture or decor, it is far more eco-friendly (and trendy) to breathe new life into old items and create your own bespoke pieces. The next time you feel the urge to shop, skip the big department stores and instead head to your nearest thrift shop, flea market, or yard sale—we think you’ll be surprised at the treasures you can find
Replacing your windows is a big step that can do a lot for your wallet. It may seem like an expensive investment, but upgrading to energy-efficient windows can power up your utility savings, reduce how much energy you use, and boost your home’s real estate value. At Home Improvement Leads, we know navigating window energy ratings can be confusing at first, so here’s a simple guide to get you started.
If you’re looking for windows that help lock in heat during the winter, pay attention to the U-factor rating. This number is displayed on the label, and it indicates how well a window prevents heat loss. The lower the number, the more effective the window is at locking in heat. If you live in a colder climate, this is certainly a number you want to factor in when choosing your windows.
Similarly, the air leakage number portrays how much outside air can seep into your home through your windows. The lower the number, the more effective the window is at keeping outside air, well, outside. This is great in southern and warm climates, where you don’t particularly want hot air to leak in.
Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC)
This value measures how much solar radiation a window allows to leak into the home. Keeping this number low in warmer clients will boost your A/C’s performance, so you won’t have to keep tapping the thermostat. If you live in a colder climate, however, opt for a slightly higher number to boost your heater’s efficiency.
A certain amount of light pases through windows every day, which is what visible transmittance value measures. The higher the number, the more light that will flow in, and the brighter your room will be. It’s the opposite for lower numbers.
Innovations in window technology have allowed visible transmittance and solar heat gain to stay separate. So, just because a window may let in a lot of light, doesn’t mean it also lets in heat. You can use VT numbers strategically when you want to create a lower light room or reduce glare.
Condensation resistance values are optional ratings that may appear on energy labels. This number defines how well the product resists condensation, which is important to prevent damage from moisture buildup. Collected water can drip onto a wood frame and create mold or damage the color and material. It’s good to know this value, but it isn’t essential, since most ENERGY STAR-rated windows are effective at preventing water buildup.
No matter what climate you live in, there’s a perfect window solution to guard you against bad weather, help you conserve energy, and over time, save money. For more information on reading energy labels, visit the National Fenestration Rating Council.
The ICF Builder Awards are held annually to recognize the best in insulated concrete construction. This year, “Stone Creek” was one of two BuildBlock projects receiving recognition at this prestigious event.
Stone Creek, in Canton Ohio earned first runner up in the small residential category, which includes houses that are 3,000 square feet or less. The home was selected by the ICF Builder Award Committee based on it’s success despite weather challenges during construction, its added industry exposure, and the exceptional results when completed. Built by one of the leaders in energy efficient homes in Ohio, Charis Homes, this 2,570 square foot house offers incredible savings.
Stone Creek maximizes the benefits of ICFs. The insulated concrete wall provides exceptional sound mitigation, low air infiltration, resistance to strong winds, and an interior temperature that’s easy to keep stable. Adding to the homes efficiency are Energy Star windows, a Pex Manifold plumbing system, Navien hot water tank, and a 97% efficient Carrier Infinity Furnace with zoned controls. Utility bills for similar homes in the area typically average around $3,600 a year but the owners of Stone Creek are paying, on average, $120 a month. That’s nearly 60% in energy savings in an area of the country that sees some extremely cold winters.
Speaking of cold winters. The home was constructed during one of the most frigid Ohio winters on record. ICFs provide a building material that is flexible and usable in most any condition so the team didn’t lose any work days due to inclement weather. In fact, ICFs generally install quicker than traditional wood framed houses. Stone Creek was stacked and poured in seven days, saving the crew an entire week on construction.
ICFs create a solid mass wall, and when finished correctly are completely air tight. This low air infiltration reduces the presence of irritants such as dust and pollen and results in an extremely clean living environment. Glenna Wilson of Charis Homes spoke to this fact by saying, “I feel like the ICF advantage that isn’t talked about enough is how healthy they make your home.”
Energy efficient building is a small but growing market in Ohio. Charis has been building with BuildBlock for years, and earlier this year built the first Zero Energy Ready Home in Ohio. Homes like these do a lot to educate the local public on the benefits of building with efficient materials. The ICF industry is gaining momentum and growing because homeowners are experiencing the added value and comfort of ICF homes.
"We market ICF as the Mercedes of houses and remind new builders that they have an amazing opportunity to build a house that will have value for a long time. When our customers see the benefits of building with ICF it’s an easy decision."
-Glenna Wilson- Charis Homes
Charis Homes Earns Prestigious Housing Innovation Award from the US Department of Energy
The DOE Housing Innovation Awards recognize nation’s top builders on the path to Zero Energy Ready Homes
The US Department of Energy has announced that Charis Homes has been awarded a 2016 Housing Innovation Award in the Custom (for Buyer). Grand Winners in each category will be announced at the 2016 Housing Innovation Awards Ceremony, Wednesday, September 27th at the EEBA Excellence in Building Conference in Dallas, Texas.
“Housing Innovation Award winners such as Charis Homes are leading a major housing industry transformation to zero energy ready homes. This level of performance is the home of the future because it improves the way Americans live by substantially reducing or eliminating utility bills, ensuring engineered comfort way beyond traditional homes, protecting health with a comprehensive package of indoor air quality measures, and helping maximize the largest investment of a lifetime,” said Sam Rashkin, Chief Architect at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Building Technologies Office.
“These winners are leading the movement to Zero Energy Ready Homes that provide better places for Americans to live, stronger communities, and a more economically and environmentally resilient nation,” said Rashkin.
Visit the U.S Department of Energy’s Housing Innovation Award’s website to learn more about the awards. Winning homes from previous award years can be viewed on the DOE Tour of Zero.
BENEFITS FOR HOMEOWNERS
There are many small changes that you can make in your home that will help your HERS and best of all save you money!!!
Existing Home Energy Saving Idea #1 – Seal your heating and cooling ducts
Ducts that move air to-and-from a forced air furnace, central air conditioner, or heat pump are often big energy wasters. Sealing and insulating ducts can improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling system by as much as 20 percent — and sometimes much more.
Focus first on sealing ducts that run through the attic, crawlspace, unheated basement, or garage. Use duct sealant (mastic) or metal-backed (foil) tape to seal the seams and connections of ducts. After sealing the ducts in those spaces, wrap them in insulation to keep them from getting hot in the summer or cold in the winter. Next, look to seal any other ducts that you can access in the heated or cooled part of the house.
Click here for a Duct Sealing Brochure from the Energy Star website.
Sources of Information: www.energystar.gov
Resnet is a great website to learn about energy efficiency. This is a fun tool available on their website to learn about the HERS (Home Energy Rating Score) of your home. Once you choose the HERS of your home it will explain to you the energy efficient benefits of your home or areas where you can improve.
Over 35 Million Monthly Unique Users Nominated Best Home Building, Remodeling and Design Professionals in North America and Around the World
The Greystone in Uniontown, OH, January 12, 2016 – Charis Homes of North Canton, OH has won “Best Of Design on Houzz®, the leading platform for home remodeling and design. The 12-year old energy-efficient home builder was chosen by the more than 35 million monthly unique users that comprise the Houzz community from among more than one million active home building, remodeling and design industry professionals.
The Best Of Houzz is awarded annually in three categories: Design, Customer Service and Photography. Design award winners’ work was the most popular among the more than 35 million monthly users on Houzz. A “Best Of Houzz 2016” badge will appear on winners’ profiles, as a sign of their commitment to excellence. These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals in every metro area on Houzz.
“If we had a wall to display our awards, this Best Of Houzz 2016 award would make it to the top shelf. We are both excited and honored to receive it. Even if Charis Homes never receives recognition from Houzz again, we hope to always build houses which meet the standards of craftsmanship their institution promotes and upholds,” said Glenna Wilson, co-owner of Charis Homes.
“Anyone building, remodeling or decorating looks to Houzz for the most talented, competent and service-oriented professionals,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of Industry Marketing for Houzz. “We’re delighted to join our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts in recognizing our “Best Of Houzz” professionals around the world.”
Follow Charis Homes on Houzz http://www.houzz.com/pro/charishomes
Houzz is the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish – online or from a mobile device. From decorating a small room to building a custom home and everything in between, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community empowered by technology, Houzz is the easiest way for people to find inspiration, get advice, buy products and hire the professionals they need to help turn their ideas into reality. Headquartered in Palo Alto, CA, Houzz also has international offices in London, Berlin, Sydney, Moscow and Tokyo. Houzz and the Houzz logo are registered trademarks of Houzz Inc. worldwide. For more information, visit houzz.com.