Category Archives: Sustainability

Choosing The Best Windows For Our Indiana Weather

Choosing The Best Windows For Our Indiana Weather

Indiana, as you know, is in the northern climate zone of the United States. That means the state is exposed to searing hot temperatures in the summer, and brutally cold weather in the winter.

To make sure your home has been built to withstand these variances in temperatures it needs to be well insulated with high-efficiency furnaces or air conditioners. These appliances help lower your energy bill every time they run.

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Ways to Create an Energy Efficient Home

Ways to Create an Energy Efficient Home

Having an energy efficient home is a popular focus among homeowners. The benefits energy-efficient homes give homeowners, and the environment are impressive. Here are a few remodeling ideas that can make your home greener – and save money in energy savings.

Sealing & Insulation

A lack insulation and poorly sealed doors and windows can have a huge impact on your energy bills. The source of air leaks can be hard to determine. Sealing these leaks is a necessity for optimal energy efficiency. Leaks will force your heating and cooling systems to work overtime to maintain a constant indoor temperature. Look at the seals around your windows and doors, and inspect the corners of your home to plug any possible leaks, reseal any loose panes or padding, and take a look at possibly installing loft insulation.
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New Laws Will Change the Way You Light Your Home

As always, Master’s Craft wants to be a source of new and valuable information on items related to your home.

New energy efficiency laws that took effect on Jan 1, are aimed at making lighting in your home more energy efficient.  Starting in California as of January 1, 2011, the traditional 100-watt and 150-watt A19 incandescent light bulbs are no longer being sold in California.  Next January 2012, these bulbs will be off the shelves nationwide.

The law also calls for the sale of 75-watt incandescent bulbs to be halted in 2013. (California will remove them from store shelves one year earlier.) And in 2014, Americans will no longer be able to purchase 60-watt and 40-watt A-shaped incandescents. Continue reading

Part 2: The “Green” Movement & Sustainability

Last time we published an excerpt from a 2009 e-news article on the Green movement and Sustainability from owner and founder, Brian Martin.  This week we’d like to extend the conversation by adding more from the e-news article and share more on Brian’s thoughts on “Sustainable Remodeling.”

 

Moving Toward Sustainability

As a firm engaged in the remodeling industry, one of our privileges is helping our clients think about their homes as it relates to sustainability.    We have also been working at incorporating sustainability into our business practices.  We recycle our paper, cardboard, aluminum, copper and other  scrap metal.  We use direct deposit and pay most of our bills online which reduces the use of paper.  We also use much of the scrap wood from our projects as fuel for our wood stove and fireplace which keeps it out of the landfill and reduces our use of fuel oil for heat.  We often donate usable items from our projects to the Habitat for Humanity Restore or place them out by the driveway where people can pick them up for free.    The fact is, according to Jay C. Walter of the Sustainable Waste Management Collaborative, “75% of the waste generated in a typical residential remodel can be recycled or reused.”  I am not sure we are there yet, but it is something to work toward.  We are also reading a lot to make sure we stay up to date on cutting edge technology and sustainable building practices like using Insulated Concrete Forms(ICF’s) for foundation walls and Structural Insulated Panels (SIP’s) for walls and roofs .  Our challenge is communicating our knowledge and expertise to our clients and potential clients.  We want to be able to provide you with accurate and timely information.  Something we are learning more about is just how inefficient most of our homes really are.

 

Gas Guzzling…House?

What kind of fuel mileage does your house get–your HFE (Home Fuel Efficiency)?  Are you living in a clunker?  Isn’t it fascinating that most of us are more concerned about the gas mileage of our car than we are about the efficiency of our homes.  Most people don’t realize that the average house in the U.S. is the source of twice as much greenhouse emissions as a single car every year.   And the really sad fact is that a huge percentage of those emissions is due to easily corrected deficiencies in the envelope of the home that allow air infiltration.  The horrible gas mileage that would never be put up with in a car, is completely overlooked when it comes to our homes.  In fact, many older homes in the U.S. are so inefficient, it literally is the equivalent of opening your front door and leaving it open all winter.  Just as cars need maintenance  and tuneups in order to operate at peak performance, so our homes need tuneups and regular maintenance in order  to maximize their performance.  Those tuneups can include:

  • A Home Energy Audit that shows where your home is losing energy–this helps us to create a long term plan for improving the energy efficiency of your home.
  • Additional insulation and air sealing
  • Weatherstripping and caulking
  •  New energy efficient windows and doors
  • More energy efficient new appliances
  • New energy efficient Standing Seam Metal Roofing
  • Changing air filters regularly
  • Installing ceiling fans
  • Installing dimmer switches and/or motion sensor switches (did you know that dimming your lights by 20% saves roughly the same percentage of electricity and extends bulb life by four times. Check out this cool Lutron Calculator–then call us to install your dimmers)  A typical dimmer has an ROI of less than five years.  Motion sensors switches automatically turn lights off when you leave the room.

The good news is that there are now Tax Credits available for many of these tuneups.  We are planning to replace the windows in our house this year in order to cash in on the 30% tax credit available for qualifying windows.

 

How about you?   Do you need advice or counsel about tuning up your house?  Is there a way that we can assist you in making your home more sustainable?  We can help with all of the things listed above and more.  Small projects like this really are an investment in the future that in some instances have a relatively fast return on your investment.  When you do the math, you really cannot afford not to do them.  Give us a call or refer us to your friends and we would be pleased to help you think through the gas mileage your home is getting.

If financing is an issue, we can help with that too.  We are a Trained Contractor for the Keystone HELP (Home Energy Loan Program).  Loans are available for Energy efficient home improvements.

And if you would like to continue this conversation with your own thoughts, please give us your comments.


Have a great week.

We are Master’s Craft Construction, a Montgomery County Area Design Build and Remodeling firm serving the Suburban Philadelphia metro area from our base in Hatfield, PA.

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Thoughts on “Green” from Master’s Craft

This is a slightly updated re-post of an a e-news article originally written in June 2009 by Brian J. Martin, Owner & Founder, of Master’s Craft Construction .  We felt the content was worthwhile to post on our blog as the topic of “Green” is alive and well in the building and remodeling industry these days.  Stay tuned over the next week for more posts from this article.

2009 Regional Contractor of the Year

For those who don’t already know, we were very pleased to be chosen the 2009 Regional Contractor of the Year for the Best Exterior under $100,000 for the Outdoor Living Room we Designed and Built in 2008 in North Wales.

You can view our project in our gallery and also in 2009  NARI CotY Showcase

Thoughts on Sustainability

If you are an ordinary person like me, you have undoubtedly heard or seen the word “green” or some variation of it multiple times in the last week.  I have always kind of wondered: “What is Green anyway?”

A couple of weeks ago I saw something humorous that caught my attention .  Lake Superior State University recently released its 34th annual List of Words to Be Banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness.  “The ubiquitous “Green” and all of its variables, such as “going green,” “building green,” “greening,” “green technology,” “green solutions” and more, drew the most attention from those who sent in nominations this year.”  I was gratified to read that there are other people out there who agree with me!!

I’m not sure about you, but I often grow weary of buzz words and marketing trends and those that jump on the latest marketing bandwagon.  The advertising industry has a way of taking a perfectly great idea and rendering it completely meaningless by using it to market nearly every conceivable product or service.  Green is one of the victims of this machine.  What is green anyway? The word  doesn’t really tell us anything, and yet seems to be attached to nearly every product, service provider, retailer, and manufacturer trying to sell something.  I really don’t like the word green simply because it is so broad and vague virtually any product or business can claim it.

A more helpful word in my estimation is “Sustainability”. Sustainability gives me something to grab hold of.  Sustainability  seems more measurable.  I recently heard someone speaking passionately about the need for us as adults to act responsibly NOW so that our kids and grandkids have a healthy environment in which to live. Think about it.  What will the earth be like in the year 2050 when I am 82 and my grandchildren are having their own children?  Are there decisions that we can make today that will help ensure that the earth is healthy then?  In other words, if we change nothing, are our lifestyles sustainable to the extent that we can all just keep living the way we are and expect that our children and grandchildren will be able to live the same way?  Or is our lifestyle such that at some undetermined point in the future, if we continue the present course, we will be forced to make drastic changes?  Kind of like General Motors .  GM had been declining for years, and there were danger signals along the way that went unheeded by many who preferred instead to pretend that the good times would never end.  In 2009, the once mighty automaker was forced into bankruptcy.

Will the same happen to us?  Are we paying attention to the danger signals of our lifestyles?

Stay tuned for more thoughts on “Moving Toward Sustainability” as it applies to building and remodeling in our next blog post.   Until then, we are Master’s Craft Construction, a Montgomery County, Bucks County Area Design Build and Remodeling firm serving the Suburban Philadelphia metro area.

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