Posts Tagged ‘new homes’

Stop the Noise (there is a way to a quieter home)

March 5, 2011

This week, Jason raised an important—and very unfortunate—point about many newly constructed homes and how they just don’t perform the way they should (See “Why does my new home have such high energy bills?”).  I know he’ll be diving into this topic more deeply, but let me point out a situation we run into recently in some newer housing developments.  Even though these were high-end homes, the builder used inferior windows—simple dual pane, and didn’t pay as much attention to air-sealing as we’d have liked while the house was under construction and it was easy to address.  In the tightly packed neighborhood, this results in a lot of noise from outside making its way inside.

While there are solutions to this that involve interior storm windows, we’ve found most people don’t like the aesthetics or the need to open and shut (and clean) two sets of windows.  And to enjoy peace and quiet, we’ve had several customers invest in brand new replacements windows.   This isn’t a cheap fix—but it delivers great results.  We take out the inferior windows, frame and all, back to Serious Windows fiberglass windowthe studs.  And rebuild with high quality windows that not only do a great job reducing sound transmission, but also improve comfort (you don’t bake sitting next to the windows in the summer nor freeze next to them in the winter), add UV resistance to protect your furniture, and save energy.  During the installation, we also improve the air-sealing around the window frame for further noise, comfort, and energy benefits. (BTW—we see very similar impacts when retrofits walls with improved insulation and air-sealing—quiet, comfortable, and lower energy bills.)

Our customers love it!  The sad thing is, this could have easily been accomplished while the home was being built.  But at least there’s a way out.  If you’re thinking about buying a new home, follow Jason’s musings over the coming weeks.

And if you’re dealing with a noisy home, we likely have a fix for you.


“Why does my new home have such high energy bills?”

March 2, 2011

We have too often heard the cry “my home is brand new and my energy bills are skyrocketing through the roof!”  Homeowners have falsely accepted that old homes have to be drafty, uncomfortable and costly to heat or cool, and most people just assume that a new home will automatically be efficient.     

It’s frustrating when you invest a great deal of time and money in a place meant to be special to us and quickly realize  that lighting, heating and cooling our home costs a great deal more than expected. On top of that it’s drafty, some rooms are too hot, or too cold, and you just can’t stay comfortable.  It’s unfortunate that energy and performance concerns are often left at the bottom of the list, if they’re considered at all. 

The problems in a new home may look different at first glance than the ones in a home 100 years old, but often they are one in the same.  Heating or cooling the air in the home too frequently because the home isn’t tight enough happens regardless of age.  Builders often overlook critical details needed to air-seal a house.  New homes like old ones can suffer from too little insulation in places, or insulation in the wrong place.   Poor duct work, inefficient or incorrectly sized furnaces and air-conditioners, and poor window performance plague new homes, too.  Refrigeration, lighting and other electrical loads often aren’t any different in a new home.  The good news is there are certainly ways to make new homes more comfortable and waste less money on utility bills.

Our customers who own newer and older homes  have happily discovered that with air-sealing, improved insulation and/or upgrading heating and cooling systems  as well as  lighting, comfort and savings can be achieved.  By acting on the recommendations of a good energy audit utility bills can be slashed in winter and summer.

Our advisors understand a house does best when it acts as a system and their recommendations work to truly fix the problems that make homeowner’s comfort levels go up and bills go down.  This works in a home 100 years old or only 1 year old. Stay tuned and we’ll talk more about how we can turn your brand new “old” home into what it ought to be.  And we’ll give  you pointers on things to look for and insist on when buying a new home—it’s always easier and less expensive to do it right the first time.  Unfortunately they’re building them faster than we can fix them!

New homes “can” be energy efficient–but you don’t have to buy a new home to lower your bills!

October 26, 2010

According to a NY Times article, home builders can build more efficient homes than they used to.  Go figure! 

“Rapid advances in building technologies and appliances have made it easier to build more energy-efficient homes, but builders are only just beginning to promote the savings for consumers, said Liz Verna, the president-elect of the Home Builders Association of Connecticut, and developer of the Willows, a 65-house development in Wallingford.”

Of course, they could have been building more efficient homes for decades.  Now builders and developers would like you to buy a new home to replace your less efficient home.  Sure, you can do that if you’d like to.  However, “new” doesn’t automatically mean “energy-efficient”.  We fix a lot of newer homes.  And a good assessment of your current home, combined with quality energy and money savings improvements, can make your home perform as well as most newly built homes.  This is the “home performance” approach being touted by EPA, DOE, and many state and local programs.  And the approach that’s transformed so many of our customers homes.

You don’t have to build a new home to save money!


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