Posts From June, 2018

The House That She Built

Utah Women Prove that Homebuilding is Women's Work

We built this home to educate everybody in the construction industry that there is a place for women to work making a good living, teaching a new generation that there are no longer traditional roles in the workplace, and to help eliminate the shortage of labor in our industry which is an ongoing problem. We feel like women can be a part of that solution. --  Jennie Tanner, President of the Utah Professional Women in Building.

 

When you're a little girl, parents don't often think about saying, “Hey, why don't you get a job in construction? Have you thought about being a plumber or an electrician?” Even school counselors don't discuss these options with girls. And so, three years ago, I joined the Utah-based charter of the National Association of Homebuilders and came up with an idea to build the first all-women-built home in the nation.

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Paving the Way for Resource Efficiency

A California builder goes beyond the basics to create a residence where home performance and resource conservation are essential.
Paving the Way for Resource Efficiency
Casa Aguila, a 4-bedroom home in Ramona, CA, was custom-built for homeowners looking to be grid-independent in the future. Designed and constructed by Alliance Green Builders to stringent California Title 24 Standards, the project includes numerous resource-saving highlights. In a state where water is a scarce resource, Casa Aguila was built with water conservation in mind. One of their biggest hurdles was obtaining a blackwater permit in a County not known to be open to new ideas. While these systems typically use very complex machinery, the Casa Aguila design was much simpler and was created with a built-in backup system that utilized the existing septic tank and leach field. With the help of the project consultant, Bill Wilson, they were able to categorize the system as an “advanced wastewater treatment system”, allowing the home to become the first residential project in San Diego to obtain a blackwater treatment permit. “If we had been going for a greywater permit alone, it ... read more
 

A New York-based Home Builder’s Journey Toward Zero Energy Ready Homes

An aspiration to create durable homes leads this builder to higher home performance and a zero energy goal.
A New York-based Home Builder’s Journey Toward Zero Energy Ready Homes
After building his own home, Greenhill Contracting president, Anthony Aebi, reflected on the way homes are built in the U.S., as well as the lack of higher code standards. His background in Swiss homebuilding, and a desire to build more durably, eventually led him to the use of Insulated Concrete Forms ("ICF") in all exterior walls of the homes he built. The noticeable improvement in home performance set in motion a quest towards zero-energy homes. "[Since 2007 our] team has worked tirelessly to reduce the construction costs associated with high-performance homes, including developing continuous improvements...with the use of ICFs, spray foam thermal, and air-control strategies," says Aebi. Photos: Amy Dooley While there are no actual building code standards directed towards disaster resilience in the Esopus, New York area, homeowners automatically receive the benefits of durability because of the reinforcements ICFs provide. In addition, this type of construction allows ... read more
 

Selling Energy Efficient Homes

You've built an energy efficient, high performance home...but now how do you sell it?
Selling Energy Efficient Homes
Over thirty years ago, builders began approaching Gord Cooke about utilizing building science in their construction processes. Many expressed interest in incorporating energy strategies into their homes, but they also went back to their offices wondering how to actually sell it. "The mistake is assuming that if it has to do with energy efficiency, to sell it as energy efficiency," says Cooke. With over a decade of energy and marketing research studies, data from the Shelton Group shows that while many buyers are interested in energy efficiency, they are rarely motivated to buy a home simply because it will save them energy. Most buyers get caught up in other aspects of the home building process - the location, the paint colors, the countertops and cabinets - energy efficiency tends to get lost in the conversation. But where does it fit it? While Shelton’s group collects data through surveys and research, Cooke enjoys physically visiting sales centers for proof that people... read more