It's been a wild winter up in the Lake Tahoe area. With all that time spent by the fireplace during the extensive snowfalls, we looked at some current home building trends. One of the leading trends continuing into 2017, is the environmental trend of sustainability. Even with the current snow levels, an eye towards water conservation and energy efficiency are important areas to address when building or remodeling your home. Some of the most important areas of sustainability are as follows:
1. Tankless Water Heaters. According to Energy.Gov, tankless water heaters heat water directly without the use of a storage tank. When a hot water tap is turned on, cold water travels through a pipe into the unit. The tankless water heaters deliver a constant supply of hot water. You don't need to wait for a storage tank to fill up with enough hot water thus eliminating water waste running the tap to get from cold to hot water. However, a tankless water heater's output limits the flow rate. To overcome this problem, you can install two or more tankless water heaters, connected in parallel for simultaneous demands of hot water. You can also install separate tankless water heaters for appliances -- such as a clothes washer or dishwater -- that use a lot of hot water in your home.
.2. Windows. Multi-pane wood clad windows offer the best insulated window value. Several of our recent projects have used Sierra Pacific Windows. Sierra Pacific Industries is a third-generation, family-owned and operated forest products company based in northern California and the state of Washington. Sierra Pacific Windows are manufactured from kiln-dried preservative-treated Ponderosa Pine or Douglas Fir. The windows have an advanced glazing system (spectrally selective, low emissivity coating) featuring a 100% polymer structural foam spacer by Quanex, (the world’s only NO-Metal Warm Edge insulating glass spacer) paired with high-performance, spectrally-selective low-E glass. With the cold Tahoe winters along with the hot Tahoe summer sun, a well-insulated wood clad window is an essential piece of your building budget.
3. Insulation. All insulation has an 'R' value that is listed prominently on the package. An R-value is a calculative method referring to thermal resistance. It is also a thermal measurement unit for particular materials in relation to how they insulate. Theoretically, a higher R-value means more heat resistance, which also means greater insulative qualities. The R-value is a somewhat complicated calculation, but all you need to know is what R-value you need, based on where you live and what type of space you are insulating, and choose a type of insulation accordingly. In general, those who live in colder climates need products with a higher R-value, while those in warmer climates need less R-value. According to the Department of Energy, In the Tahoe area, attic insulation should have a minimum R-49 value. For the walls, R-5 to R-6 wall sheathing and for the floor, R-25 to R-30. Closed cell foam insulation has been a popular choice for a lot of our clients.
Along with sustainability and energy conservation, natural elements and a comfortable, relaxing living space also top the 2017 list. We'll look at those next time.
Jeff Miller, President of ADC and his team of fine home builders and partners