Category Archives: Green Design Trends

Eco-friendly design options for your home

Atlanta Home Builder Caters To Growing Energy-Efficient Buyer Segment

homes for sale in Gwinnett CountyAccording to the latest Profile of Homebuyers and Sellers from the National Association of Realtors, homebuyers are thinking green when it comes to their new home purchase decision. This year’s top priorities for those purchasing a new home included heating and cooling costs, energy-efficient appliances and energy-efficient lighting.

Atlanta home builder Smith Douglas Communities has developed building practices that maximize energy performance for all of its homes. Green features of the builder’s metro Atlanta homes include two-zoned HVAC systems with thermostats for each floor (in two-story homes), low E windows, house wrap, steel insulated high efficiency front and rear doors, 50 gallon electric water heaters and high efficiency insulation.

In addition to building green, Smith Douglas also offers award-winning floor plans designed to meet the needs of today’s buyer. Each home is loaded with features and finishes such as granite countertops and vaulted ceilings in the bedrooms, while also offering buyers the opportunity to customize the plan to include additional layout options. Plus, each Smith Douglas home comes with a 2-10 Home Buyer’s Warranty for added peace of mind.

With more than five communities of Canton and Woodstock GA homes in Cherokee County and another 13 communities of metro Atlanta homes in Forsyth, Gwinnett, Henry and Paulding Counties, homebuyers are sure to find a location convenient to where they live, work and play, an additional key factor among buying decisions.

To learn more about Smith Douglas’ new homes and communities, call 770-485-7086.

Green has Never Been So Chic: Savoy at Brookhaven

Design by Cecconi Simone Inc.Green has never been so chic! Ashton Woods Homes is pleased to announce the opening of two energy-efficient model homes in our newest community, Savoy at Town Brookhaven. Priced from $469,900, these Atlanta new homes were designed by Cecconi Simone Inc., a Toronto-based, full service interior design practice. The grand opening will be held on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013.

The homes feature the Savoy and Oglethorpe floor plans and both were designed according to their layout and structure. One home will have an eclectic feel, mixing a white and walnut color palette with linens, cottons, reclaimed wood and industrial accents. While the other will have a more traditional feel with rich colors and fabrics such as satin and velvet. Continue reading

Infographic: Green Renovations That Pay for Themselves

Don’t want to go green because of the up-front costs? This insightful infographic from Digney York, interior renovation specialists for hotels and resorts, shows how the energy-efficient improvements in your home will pay for themselves and then some over time.
Green Renovations That Pay for Themselves (Infographic) - An Infographic from Digney York Associates, LLC

Outdoor Improvement Ideas from Equifax

Go green and enjoy the outdoors!You can embrace the outdoors and upgrade your home with lots of improvements to boost your home’s outdoors. We often forget about our home’s exterior when we think about home décor, but outdoor upgrades can bring years of enjoyment or improve your home’s attractiveness to buyers while still keeping in harmony with nature. A recent

Equifax Finance Blog article discusses popular outdoor upgrades.

  • Fire pits – enjoy the glow of an evening fire with a fire pit spring through fall; these can either be built-in and permanent or you can purchase a portable fire pit at a department or home improvement store

  • Outdoor kitchen – these can get upscale with a grill, sink, stove/oven, bar, refrigerator and more. An outdoor kitchen makes entertaining outdoors easier

  • Patio – kick your basic patio up a notch with a concrete pavers, which come in all kinds of sizes, shapes and colors and add a focal point with a paved walkway or fountain

  • Landscaping – planting trees or flowers is a quick and relatively inexpensive way to add beauty to your home; a colorful planter filled with seasonal flowers will add to your home’s curb appeal

  • Paint – touching up or repainting your home’s exterior will not only freshen up your home’s exteriors but it will also help protect your home from the elements

Get more home improvement tips at the Equifax Finance blog, including tons more helpful tips on real estate, as well as other personal finance topics, like retirement, taxes, insurance, credit and
identity theft protection.

The Big House/Longer Commute Trade-off

Equifax shows how to avoid too much mortgageFor the past few years, the big news in home buying has been no news. Home buying activity has been relatively flat recently thanks to the downturn in the housing market. But not long ago, during the housing boom, the big news was how big homes were becoming. Remember all the McMansion headlines? Buyers bought into the trend that bigger homes were better. Many buyers bought more home than they could afford.  As the housing market begins to creep back up, buyers should be more cautious about what they really need in a home and not get stuck living beyond their means in a giant house.

The new Equifax Finance blog article “

What Kind of Mortgage Can You Afford?” explains further, warning buyers to not get trapped into buying the biggest house they can afford, even if it is miles and miles away from work. Combining commuting expenses with housing expenses can give buyers a better idea of how much they can afford. If you are going to live 30 miles from work, you have to take into account your transportation costs when determining what you can afford each month. Take into account rising gas prices, vehicle maintenance, highway tolls, parking fees, etc.  Could you live 15 minutes away from work, save about half on commuting, and have a slightly smaller home? What would you be willing to trade to swap the time spent in your car with time spend with your family? Or, could you take advantage of public transportation? The greener choice would be to live as close to work as possible to reduce transportation times.

A good estimate of housing plus transportation costs is about 45 percent of your monthly take-home pay, but yours could be more or less depending on various factors, like whether or not you can use public transportation, how much gas your car guzzles, etc.  But the bottom line is that there will be give and take when it comes to the two. Lower transportation costs mean you can afford more home; higher transportation costs mean less. And you should also take into account the full cost of owning a larger home, including utilities. That big home may not be that great of a deal when you face very cold winter heating or very warm summer cooling costs for that huge house.

Get more tips on finance, real estate, credit,

protection from identity theft, insurance and more at the Equifax Finance blog.

GreenSmart Homes Make Every Day Earth Day

energy efficient homes for sale in AtlantaIf your family is looking to take your Earth Day celebrations from just a once a year thing to an everyday occurrence, there is no better way than choosing to live in one of Brock Built’s GreenSmart homes for sale in Atlanta.

Their GreenSmart homes are designed to not only be environmentally friendly, but also consume significantly less energy through features and standards related to HVAC systems, appliances, light fixtures, insulation, house wrap and air sealing.

Already live in a GreenSmart home? You can still learn more about helping the planet at a variety of Earth Day events around Atlanta.

The Atlanta Botanical Garden will be hosting a special event from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 21. With the price of admission, visitors will be able to enjoy ladybug release, conservation programs, arts and crafts and more.

Residents of their intown neighborhoods should make their way to the 16th Annual Earth Day Celebration at Georgia Tech on Friday, April 19 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. At this free event, you’ll enjoy exhibitors, recycling opportunities, item exchanges, eco-friendly giveaways, organic snacks and live entertainment.

For residents of their homes in Marietta, the kid-friendly educational fun at the Chattahoochee Nature Center might be the perfect outing. On Saturday, April 13, kids will be able to meet Captain Planet, explore environmental themes, watch animal presentations, paddle a canoe on Beaver Pond, visit interactive exhibits and booths and much more.

With great eco-friendly events and homes from Brock Built in Atlanta, this Earth Day is bound to be the best one yet!

For more information on Brock Built’s GreenSmart programs and new home communities, please call 404-472-5707.

Reusing: The Greenest, Easiest and Most Cost-Effective Way to Decorate your Home

Save money by recycled decoratingOne of the easiest (and cheapest) ways to decorate your green home this Spring, while helping protect the environment, is with second-hand shopping. Second-hand shopping is a great way to reuse; you’ll save money and add charm to your home that you will take your design to a personalized, humanitarian and eco-friendly way. Now is the time of year when families declutter by donating or consigning their belongings and having garage and yard sales, so you can come across some great items on the cheap.

Repurposed design items are often the best. They’ll make for great focal points and conversation pieces of a space. The Equifax Finance Blog shares some tips on savvy second-hand shopping in one of its newest blog posts, “

Shop Second-Hand Stores and Garage Sales Like a Pro.” Here are a few:

  • Haggle happily, but know when to stop – don’t be the customer that shop employees hate; be friendly and respectful when bargaining for a deal; know your reserve price and walk away if a shop owner can’t go any lower
  • Carry cash – Consignment and thrift store owners will often times be willing to go a  little bit lower on items if they can avoid paying merchant credit and debit card fees
  • Check condition – give items thorough inspections before deciding to take them home; examine things carefully for holes, tears, nicks, missing pieces, etc. If the item has only minor damage, decide if it is priced where it’s worth repairing. Don’t be scared to ask to plug in electrical items; and the article even recommends carrying a few spare batteries to test any items that might need them

There are more savvy second-hand shopping tips on the Equifax blog, visit it to read the full article and get other financial management tips, as well as tips on insurance, retirement, credit,

identity theft solutions and more.

Atlanta Home Builder Improves GreenSmart Program

Atlanta new homesPantone, the world’s color authority for almost 50 years, recently declared 2013 the year of Emerald green. Brock Built, your trusted Atlanta home builder for more than 25 years, also offers our own shade of green for 2013 with our GreenSmart® program.

The GreenSmart program was designed in order to help our homeowners save energy and money. Currently, buildings consume 40 percent of all energy in the United States, but our homes built under the comprehensive GreenSmart program consume significantly less.

Recently, we updated our program to enhance energy savings even more. Before, we offered buyers the option of several different types of insulation including Batt and Blown Fiberglass insulations. Now, however, we are proud to exclusively use Cellulose insulation in our homes. This product is made purely from recycled newspapers and other paper sources, which means it is inherently more environmentally friendly. Additional benefits include decreased air infiltration, increased noise reduction, superior mold control and a higher fire safety rating.

In addition to Cellulose insulation, our GreenSmart program also includes Radiant Barrier Roofing, House Wrap, spray foam air barriers, air sealing, low flow plumbing fixtures, 14 Seer A/C units, high efficiency light bulbs and ENERGY STAR appliances, all of which are tested by third party.

So, while you make preparations to deck out your space with Emerald in 2013, you should also consider taking your dedication to green to the next level by purchasing a GreenSmart Atlanta new home from Brock Built.

2013 NAHBGreen Awards Now Accepting Entries

2013 NAHBGreen AwardsThe National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) is pleased to announce that they are now accepting submissions for its 2013 NAHBGreen Awards. Individuals, companies and organizations are recognized annually for excellence in residential green design and construction practices, advocacy efforts and green building programs.

This year, the award winners will be announced in conjunction with the 2012 International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas on January 23.

“The NAHBGreen Awards showcase the best and most innovative work in green,” said NAHB Chairman Barry Rutenberg, a home builder from Gainesville, Fla. “This is an excellent opportunity for industry professionals to be recognized for their hard work.”

Both members and non-members can apply for these prestigious awards. In order to be eligible for the Green Project of the Year categories, projects must have been started no earlier than January 2010 and substantially completed by December 2012.

Project of the Year award categories include: single family, multifamily, remodel and site development. You may also enter to win Advocate of the Year.

All projects must be scored to the ICC-700 National Green Building Standard to ensure fair comparisons for judging purposes. This can be done by using on the online Green Scoring Tool.

All entries must be received by October 18, and application fees are $250 for Project of the Year categories and $150 for the Advocate of the Year award.

For more information or to apply, visit www.nahb.org/greenawards. For examples of green building in Atlanta, visit Atlanta Real Estate Forum.

If you have any questions, please contact Chad Riedy at criedy@nahb.org.

Use Energy Efficiency to Help Meet Financial Goals

Save the planet and your financial goals by going greenNot only is it good for the environment when you embrace energy efficiency in your home, it’s good for your pocketbook and can help you meet your

financial goals by spending less in upkeep and having a more attractive home for purchase when it comes time to sell. The Equifax Finance Blog explains how to best save money when it comes to going green in the article, “

Green Real Estate Market Trends.”

While weatherizing isn’t incredibly attractive from a curb-appeal standpoint, it can make a huge difference in the amount you will save each month and those savings can add up quickly. Making an investment in popular spray insulation, which molds to the space it is applied to and expands to eliminate gaps, is a great cost-effective way to make your home more energy efficient. Follow up by caulking every crack or seam to make sure that your interiors don’t leak conditioned air.

For additional projects, choose sustainable products for everything from flooring to countertops and beyond. Just make sure you do your homework first and weigh your options so you don’t overextend yourself and fall into debt. Check out the Equifax Finance Blog for all manner of other great tips for saving money, living better and meeting your financial goals, and make sure to sign up for the

Equifax Family Money Matters Video Contest!