Tag Archives: Energy Efficient

Being Green and Saving Green: Eco-Friendly Building Material Options

low-e windowWhen you’re building your Atlanta new home, there seems to be a never-ending list of things to consider and decide on during the process. One of the newest things that homeowners are adding to that list is how to build a more eco-friendly, green home. You know that you want your home to be economic, you want your building materials to last and you want your home to be energy efficient throughout its lifetime. While trying to incorporate as many as many of these energy and earth-friendly materials as possible, here are a few things you may want to consider:

  • Radiant floor heat – One thing to consider is how you are going to provide heat to your home, especially during the coldest winter months. Radiant heat rises out from the floor, and can be fueled by electricity, heated air or hot water. In single family homes, hot water systems are used most often because they are the most cost effective. Tubing is laid under the floor, and hot water funs through from the boiler.
  • Recycled wood or plastic composite lumber – Re-using materials that might end up in a landfill otherwise is a perfect way to make your home a little more green. These materials are becoming common in playground equipment, and the National Association of Home Builders reports that using plastic waster with wood fibers creates lumber that is less toxic and more durable than regular treated lumber. Materials with plastic help to reduce mold and rot, making it the perfect choice for decks and patios.
  • Low-e windows – Giving your house the ability to hold its temperature through low emissivity (low-e) windows is an easy way to make your home more energy-efficient. These windows require more of an upfront investment, but they quickly put that money back in your pocket through reduced energy bills.
  • Insulated concrete forms – Another alternative to wood is insulated concrete forms, which can reduce energy consumption by as much as 20 percent in colder climates.
  • Recycled steel – Using steel beams in construction can add stability and take away the risk of mold or rot you could get from wood. Steel beams are commonly made from scrap metal from cars, instead of a natural resource like wood. By using scrap metal, 75 percent less energy is used over making new steel.
  • Plant-based polyurethane rigid foam – Insulation plays a large part in whether or not your home is energy efficient. One of the best insulation options is made by a company that previously manufactured surfboards. After a slap on the wrist by the Environmental Protection Agency, the company stopped using hazardous materials in their boards and began using plant-based polyurethane rigid foam, which they realized was excellent insulation.

It is often the case that green products are initially more expensive, but by investing in the products now, you save in future energy costs over the lifetime of your home. You can also take even more pride in your energy-efficient Atlanta new home and know that you are benefiting the overall good of the environment.

Energy-Efficient Homes Coming to South Forsyth

ProvenceAshton Woods Homes is happy to announce its newest community of South Forsyth homes, Provence, is coming soon! The community will feature energy-efficient homes from the $300,000s.

In addition to being energy-efficient, homes will include grand two-story family rooms, mudrooms, gourmet kitchens, keeping rooms, grand staircases, covered decks, sunrooms, master suites and oversized walk-in closets. Continue reading

Energy-Efficient Kennesaw New Homes Selling Fast

Heritage at Kennesaw MountainKennesaw is deeply enthralled in history, from Civil War battles to cotton growing, and is a great place to live. Ashton Woods Homes’ energy-efficient Kennesaw new homes add to the modernity of the city. Be sure to visit Heritage at Kennesaw Mountain, which has homes from the $430,000s.

Homes are walking distance to the Historic Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield and many other local attractions. These include Swift-Cantrell Park, Lake Allatoona, the Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History, Big Shanty Museum and the Golf Club at Bridgemill. Continue reading

Green Retrofit for Tapestry Youth Ministries By HomeAid Atlanta

HomeAidHomeAid Atlanta, a nonprofit organization that builds and maintains housing for the homeless, in partnership with the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association, recently began an energy efficient initiative as part of their Environmental Sustainability Program. This initiative is aimed to help Atlanta nonprofits serving the homeless, by retrofitting their current facilities to make them more capable and energy efficient.

Made possible by a large donation to HomeAid Atlanta’s parent organization, HomeAid America, this green program was launched after receiving an astounding $600,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation.

This past September Tapestry Youth Ministries, a College Park based nonprofit organization serving homeless teen-mothers and their children, became part of HomeAid Atlanta’s energy efficient initiative. Using Green Day Energy Company, a partner of HomeAid Atlanta, an extensive evaluation and green retrofit was made in the home Tapestry Youth Ministries uses for their base of operation.

HomeAidAtlantaGreen Day Energy made several improvements at the Tapestry home including the addition of low flow faucets and toilets, improving the insulation with upgrades and adding air seals, even the simplest change of energy efficient lighting was done. Overall, Green Day Energy estimates the Tapestry Youth Ministries home could now save almost $9,000 per year in energy costs! That number is staggering for a small nonprofit, but it is also encouraging for nonprofits of all sizes to realize that green building and green retrofitting could be just what your organization needs to reduce energy costs and increase facility capabilities.

For more information about this HomeAid Atlanta Environmental Sustainability Program, please visit the HomeAid Atlanta website.

Summer Blast Sales Event for Atlanta Homes Extended

Ashton Woods HomesHomebuyers now have more time to buy a new Atlanta home and get great deals! Ashton Woods Homes is extending its Summer Blast Sales Event until August 19, 2012.* Buyers will receive a FREE six month interest rate lock and $5,000 in closing costs as part of the fabulous incentives with this event!

Notting Hill, a stunning Ashton Woods Homes community in West Forsyth has amazing deals. Buyers of the Greenville plan, priced at $287,900, will receive a FREE sunroom and loft to add to the already amazing four bedroom and two-and-a-half bath home! Other features of this beautiful home include spacious rooms, a study, gourmet kitchen and a beautiful master suite with walk-in closets and dual vanities. Continue reading

Change the World Pledges at the Georgia Force Arena Football Game

This summer, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been partnering with organizations nationally to take the ENERGY STAR® pledge. In Duluth, Ga, the EPA and the Georgia Force collected Change the World with ENERGY STAR® pledges at the Georgia Force Arena Football game in the Gwinnett Arena on July 14. The Georgia Force pledge drive urged attendees to make a change with ENERGY STAR® by challenging them to take simple steps to save energy, which can help save money and protect the climate.

EPA Regional Administer, Gwen Keyes Fleming was designated the honorary captain of the team and performed the coin toss on the fields at this televised game (126 Charter, 248 Comcast and MeTV). Change the World tables were staffed by EPA in the concourse and took pledges. At halftime, a drawing determined the winner of a signed football.

“In recognition of the 20th Anniversary of ENERGY STAR®, we want the metro area to know that saving energy not only helps save money and the environment, but it can also be a lot of fun,” said EPA Region 4 Administrator, Gwen Keyes Fleming. “We’re excited to broadcast this important message as a service to our community.”

About ENERGY STAR

Launched in 1992 by EPA, ENERGY STAR is a market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency. This year marks ENERGY STAR’s 20th anniversary. Over the past 20 years, with help from ENERGY STAR, American families and businesses have saved about $230 billion on utility bills and prevented more than 1.7 billion metric tons of carbon pollution. To date, more than 1.3 million new homes and nearly 16,500 buildings across all 50 states have earned EPA’s ENERGY STAR certification. The ENERGY STAR label can be found on more than 63 different kinds of products with more than 5 billion sold over the past 20 years. For more information about ENERGY STAR, visit www.energystar.gov or call toll-free 1-888-STAR-YES (1-888-782-7937).

Americans can take the “Change the World, Start with ENERGY STAR” pledge. The pledge is a way for individuals to commit to taking action on energy efficiency in their homes and daily activities such as switching to more efficient lighting, choosing ENERGY STAR products, sealing and insulating homes, and using power management features on home computers and monitors.  For more information on the pledge: http://www.energystar.gov/changetheworld

For more information about Atlanta green living, visit Atlanta Real Estate Forum.

Spread out your Credit Score Requests for Best View of Finances

Know your credit score to be a better buyer of energy efficient homesToo often, we think about checking our credit reports in a hustle to make sure we are ready for a big purchase like energy efficient real estate and we order all three at once. While this does give you a snapshot of your standing from each agency, it only gives you information from one point in time. If you want a more holistic view of your credit over time without impacting your FICO score, you can space out your requests. The Equifax Finance Blog explores this tip and more in the recent article,

“Have You Pulled Your Credit Report Yet?

Asking for one of your three free yearly reports once every four months means that you have multiple chances per year to see how your credit is shaping up without damaging your score or paying for a monitoring service. While this does have the disadvantage of only letting you see one agency’s report at a time, if you set these at regular intervals you will get a better idea of where your

credit trends. This makes you better prepared for big purchases or major financial decisions, like applying for a lease or loan.

Of course, if this isn’t enough or if you are afraid of being the target of identity theft, you can always consult a credit monitoring service.  These services watch your reports for inaccuracies or unusual trends, and can catch identity theft early so less damage is done. There are many options/offerings with credit monitoring services, so be sure to comparison shop to find the one that best meets your needs.

For other great tips about personal finance advice and how to improve your

FICO score, consult the Equifax Finance Blog.

Save Money and Help the Environment with these Tips

Although the economy may be beginning to turn around, many families are still looking for ways to save money while becoming more energy efficient. Record summer temperatures in many states and an impending cold winter in other’s can cause a huge dent in our monthly budgets. Not to mention the rising cost of fuel, food and other necessities. If you’re looking to save money, as well as energy, then we can help.

Below are some tips provided by the National Corn Growers Association to get you started.

  • Fill Up with Ethanol: Gasoline with 10 percent ethanol not only helps lower gas prices, but it also assists with stretching the petroleum supply. Recently, experts noted that ethanol has lowered gas prices by 15 percent, saving drivers $70 billion dollars this year alone.
  • Purchase Hybrids or Flex Fuel Vehicles: You can save money at the gas pump while helping the environment when you invest in a hybrid or vehicle that runs on E-85, an 85 percent ethanol blend fuel.
  • Buy Locally Grown Foods: Packaging, transportation, advertising and profits account for 24 cents on the food dollar. By choosing local meat, milk and produce, you not only support your local farmers, you also eliminate the costly transportation bill.
  • Turn off Your Home: According to the United States Department of Energy, a whopping 75 percent of electricity used in a home occurs while your appliances are off. Unplug these items or use a power strip to cut off power when not in use.
  • Set Your Thermostat: Although winter may seem months away, keeping your home nice and toasty raises your energy bill. Keep in mind that for every degree you lower the thermostat in the 60 to 70 degree range this winter, you’ll save 5 percent on your home’s heating costs.

These are just a few of the things you can do to help lower your energy bills while making a positive impact on the environment.

Do you have more money and energy saving tips? Share them here.

The Orchards Group Goes Green To Save Some Green

eco comfort homeThe Orchards Group is going a little greener to help residents save on their energy bills. Though the builder already offers energy-efficient homes for active adults, the group has been receiving numerous requests from residents to help them save more money on energy bills.

“We worked with our suppliers to identify affordable energy-efficient products that will provide a good return on investment over the life of the home,” said Mitch Block, marketing director for The Orchards Group.

Thus the Eco-Comfort home was born! Ground has been broken on this home at its popular Forsyth County community The Orchards of Brannon Oak Farm.

Usually a $10,900 upgrade on the Winston, the smart buyer who purchases this demonstration home at Brannon Oak Farm will pay only $7,900.  Specific upgraded features are available individually or as a package.

The Eco-Comfort Home package includes:

  • A tankless hot water system with a re-circulating pump providing instant hot water.
  • the orchards group, winston model, eco-comfort homeA high-efficiency heating and air conditioning system.
  • A radiant barrier between the roof shingles and the attic which keeps the attic (and house) 20% cooler.
  • Increased insulation for greater hot and cold protection.
  • Water saving Dual flush commodes.

The home features the Winston plan. This floor plan features two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a room that can be a parlor or a third bedroom.  The model has a living and dining room open to the kitchen, a sunroom, a screened porch, a large master bedroom with walk-in closet and true walk-up attic storage. Eco-Comfort features, availability and pricing may vary in other floor plans.

For more information on the Eco-Comfort home, visit The Orchards Group‘s website.

Green Builder S&A Homes Launches New Blog

S&A Homes has launched an interactive blog, www.SAHomesBlog.com. A new home builder, S&A Homes  currently builds  in more than 70 communities throughout Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

S&A Homes was recently awarded the 2010 Energy Star Leadership in Housing award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for qualifying an outstanding number of ENERGY STAR™ Homes in 2009.  The builder closed more than 200 Energy Star Qualified homes last year! Congratulations to S&A Homes.

For homebuyers seeking energy efficient homes at an affordable price, S&A Homes offers the E-Home. Focused on building high performance homes that combine energy efficiency, eco-friendly building materials and indoor air quality solutions, the E-Home meets all of these goals as well as provides the best value in the market.