Thursday, March 29, 2018

Green Home Building Techniques!

This post is provided by Jesse Hughes.

Most people are familiar with the usual ways to make our home greener or environmentally-friendly, like using efficient appliances and low-flow water fixtures. But what about ideas that make our homes more eco-conscious right from the ground up? There is only so much we can do once the house is built, so it can be more effective to take green steps during construction as well. 

Professional construction companies like Advanced Group Services ( are changing the way they build houses to use as many green techniques as possible. 

Adding Insulation

One of the very best ways to keep a house energy efficient is to prevent heat loss, especially in areas where the winters are below freezing on average. Taking the extra step to keep a house insulated is important for this. Extra layers of insulation in the attic, proper duct and pipe wraps and careful sealing of all potential openings around window and door frames. 

Heat is also lost directly through window glass, so using windows with a high R-value during construction will help keep your heat in where it belongs. 

Sustainable Materials

A great deal of material goes into building a house and it makes environmental sense to use as much reclaimed or sustainable products as you can. Insulation can be made from recycled fibers, wood can be reused from other projects, and even many fixtures can be found second-hand to reduce the impact of your building. If you can't reclaim, you can choose sustainable materials like bamboo for flooring or products made from recycled plastic and metal. 


Of course, everyone has different space needs and a family of 7 is not going to be happy with a house built for 2. But the days of huge mansions are over and people are choosing to live in more reasonable spaces to save on materials and for lower utility bills later. You do not necessarily have to join the tiny house movement to appreciate the savings of a smaller home. 

Rainwater Use

It is getting quite common to "harvest" rainwater with some barrels out in the yard, usually placed under the downspouts. They can provide hundreds of gallons of water for gardening or even household needs. You can capitalize on this idea during construction by planning a rainwater system with a cistern tank and proper drainage. If it is incorporated into the house at the building stage, you can even plan the plumbing so that this free water is used to flush the toilets as well as serve the outside yard. 

On-Demand Hot Water

While technically, this is not part of home construction but most home builders plan for hot water systems in these initial stages of development. A hot water tank uses a lot of energy through the day, keeping a large volume of water hot just in case it is needed. Why not use a system that just heats the water when you need it? Known as tankless or on-demand hot water systems, these new formats use much less energy and take up less room compared to the older bulky tanks. 

Thursday, March 22, 2018

The effect of faulty construction on building maintenance!

This post is provided by Jesse Hughes.

Faulty construction is unfortunately a fact of life, and it impacts the overall life and maintenance of any building. If you are concerned about the construction quality of your home, you could get a professional strata report and get more details on the property history. 

Poor construction practices do not just result in a shortened lifespan for the building. It also has a huge impact on the ongoing maintenance as well. Here are a few examples of how construction issues can manifest themselves. 


One of the biggest maintenance problems that comes from poor construction is leaks. Roofing is the biggest area for this. Flimsy materials for sheet roofing or shingles as well as imprecise laying of the material that leaves gaps will leave the roof vulnerable to water penetration. It would not take long for a rainstorm to bring water dripping indoors.  

And leaks can come from other parts of the house than just the roof. Siding or cladding that has not been fastened properly will leave opening for water, and even brick can lead to leaks if the mortar was not done correctly. Small cracks start to form and in comes the water. 

Cracks Inside And Out

If the building site was not properly prepared, or the foundation itself was poorly constructed, it will weaken the entire building. An unstable foundation will soon lead to cracks in the interior walls as the floors settle unevenly, and doors can stop swinging properly in their frames. When parts of the house shift, there can be even more damage to pipes or wiring within the walls. 

All of these potential gaps and cracks can also ruin the insulation value of the home, creating heat loss and drafts that impact comfort and utility use all year long. 

Drainage Problems

Another possible result of a bad foundation is poor drainage, especially in the basement. As floors shift position, water would not flow the same was as it once did, leaving drain holes high and dry. It could even mean that the bathtub does not completely empty if one end of the tub becomes slightly too high. 

Utility Costs

On the subject of insulation, that is another area that can be done in a sub-standard way that leads to many problems later on. Insufficient insulation or the use of improper materials will mean that heat can be lost, making a building difficult to heat in cold weather. It also effects sound quality in the home, and that you can hear noises from one room to the other more than you should. 

Though the origins of these problems come from the construction itself, that does not mean there is nothing you can do. Fixing a poorly done roof is a big project, though certainly not impossible. Adding new insulation can also be done without too much reconstruction. Problems with a foundation may not be truly fixable without razing the building but a good contractor should be able to help get things stabilized and straightened out to some degree. 

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Five Ways To Go Green In Your Home!

This article is provided by Katherine Smith.

As a homeowner, there are many reasons why you may be contemplating the decision to go green in your home, with the most common reasons being to improve the environment and slash energy costs. An efficiency in energy consumption will not only cut your energy bill, but it will also improve property value.  

Here are five reasons why the idea of making your home eco-friendlier is more popular than ever in the US.

1. Going solar will reduce and possibly even eliminate your electric bills.  

Going solar can be counted as one of the things that you could do that would make the biggest impact because you will get a fabulous return on your investment, protect your household budget against rising energy costs, and increase the value of your property. Moreover, besides encouraging other homeowners in your neighborhood by demonstrating your commitment to environmental sustainability, you will benefit the nation's initiatives to acquire more energy independence, create more local jobs, and protect the environment.

According to Enver, a solar company in San Diego, solar energy provides an affordable, reliable, and clean energy solution for homeowners. Since your electric costs usually take up a large chunk of your monthly utility expenses, installing solar panel equipment will generate free power for at least 25 years if you are able to produce 100% of the energy your household needs. However, even if you can not rely on solar energy production all the time, you will still drastically reduce how much you pay for utilities. 

2. Upgrading your home with proper insulation will improve indoor temperature control.

While it is best to insulate your home during the construction phase, it is not too late to take care of it afterward. Since both heating and cooling will account for about half of your home's consumption of energy, it only makes sense to ensure that the energy that you are paying for is not leaking out through doors, windows, or the roof. While you may not be able to completely prevent hot air from escaping in the colder seasons and from entering your home during the warmer seasons, you can make a difference in slowing the rate of energy loss by insulating the walls and the attics with foam, fiberglass or cellulose. You can also reduce energy loss from older windows and doors. Simply upgrade weather stripping and sealant around both windows and doors. 

3. Upgrading your HVAC system will reduce the cost of heating and cooling your home.

On average, it costs about a grand a year to heat and cool your home. By using an HVAC system that has been ENERGY STAR-rated and installed according to Quality Installation (QI) guidelines will improve the heating and cooling efficiency of your home.

4. Heat water more efficiently by using a tankless hot water system.

When you have a shower or bath, you are getting hot water from a tank. In order to receive hot water without the need to heat, store and reheat water in this tank, you could use a tankless water heater. An electric coil heats the water that you need when you need it. This eliminates the waste of energy that arises from using an energy-inefficient tank.

5. Prefer Energy Star appliances.

An appliance that has the ENERGY STAR symbol is one that has been approved by the government program that was initiated to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases. This means that the appliance conforms to the energy-efficiency criteria set by the EPA. Not only do these appliances work far more efficiently than regular appliances, but they can also help you reduce your energy and water bill.  

So, what is the downside to greening your home? Initially, it may cost more to transition from the standard model for energy consumption, but, in the long run, everything will work more efficiently and be more cost-effective. 

Additionally, many manufacturers and service companies are listening to consumers who can not afford the initial cost to go green. As a consequence, they are working to develop less expensive equipment and installation fees as well as arranging financing to make it easier to make the switch.

While the motivation for going green will vary from one person to the next, the move to make this positive switch will provide significant environmental, economic, and personal benefits. In essence, it is a win-win situation for everyone- for you and your family, for the country, and even for the world. While the government can suggest ways to go green, ultimately it is your decision that will contribute to a more sustainable environment. 

Thursday, March 8, 2018

How To Renovate Your Working Space On A Budget!

This post is provided by Richard Smith.

It can be hard to think of ways to renovate your working space if you are working on a particular budget. Obviously you do not have unlimited money when it comes to making your working space look nice, but it can really make the difference between dreading going to work and relishing the chance to sit and be a productive member of your team in a space you feel comfortable in. Do not worry! Not every little renovation you could enact on your working space costs an arm and a leg, here are a few tips on things to do to spruce up your workplace for cheap!

Hang pictures of family in your working space, or if not your family, then you and your friends out having a good time! The effects of this are three-fold: reason number one is that it makes your working space look vibrant and a bit more interesting, reason number two is that it can be a great way to spark a conversation with a co-worker! And reason number three is it will motivate you to get on with your work and do well. Imagine it: ‘I really can not be bothered to write my essay, oops sorry mum! I will get back to work right away!’

Another tip is to think minimalist, you may think it looks good to have a lot on your desk and walls but it really does not! Clear your space until it is spotless and then think about what decorations you would benefit from. Maybe you could hang up your degree to remind you of all the writing you got through when you buy college papers and just about hit the deadline day! Maybe you could put up a poster of your favorite movie to inspire you to think creatively, and to put yourself in the shoes of a hardworking action hero.

So there you have it, just a few tips that can make your working space an aesthetically pleasing place to be. And you will find that as soon as you restructure your working environment, you will find it easier to be productive, hard-working and a bit more laid back in your working life. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 1, 2018

How to save money on electricity in your home!

This post is provided by Jesse Hughes.

Electricity can be an expensive commodity, as you will realize when you receive your regular electricity bill. High bills are never welcome, especially if you are have to manage on a tight household budget. It can be a difficult task to juggle paying for essentials like electricity with affording extras like birthday parties for your kids. 

The good news is that there are things you can do to reduce the amount of electricity you use in your home. Doing so means that the amount you pay out on electricity bills also reduces. 

Make sure that your electricity supply is working as it should. 

It is a good idea to have an electrical inspection carried out in your home, to ensure that the electricity supply is performing as it should. Reduced performance can mean that you use more electricity than is necessary. The professionals can also spot problems with the electrics in your home which could be dangerous, and deal with the issue for you. 

Insulate and drought proof your property.

If you are heating your home in the winter, or cooling it in the summer, you do not want to waste electricity and money by enabling the hot or cold air to escape from your home. This is what can happen if you do not use insulation in your home. You should also fit weather proofing strips around the doors and windows in your property. 

Switch off when not in use. 

This may sound obvious, but you should always switch off any electricity that you are not using. It does not matter if you are just going into the kitchen for twenty minutes, switch off the light in the lounge when you go. Over time saving just a few minutes worth of electricity several times can save you a significant amount of money. 

Do not leave appliances on stand by.

Switching off means that you should switch off completely. Unless an appliance needs to be kept switched on at all times, you should switch off and remove the plug when it is not in use. Appliances left on standby can account for around 4% of overall average household electricity usage, so making sure that this does not happen can save you money. 

Change your energy supplier. 

If you feel that you are not getting the best deal when it comes to the electricity supply for your home, you can think about changing supplier. You just need to do some research about which other suppliers are available in your area, if any. Remember that you should never be attracted by promises that do not last. You want to get your electricity from a provider that gives you a good service at a reasonable price, in the long term. 

It only takes a few changes to be made in order to save money on electricity in your home. Make these changes straight away, and there is a good chance you will notice the difference over the coming months.