Monday, December 31, 2007

Can We Save The Earth? Maybe Not, But We Certainly Can Try.

How we build homes not only impacts our homeowners it also affects all the others who are ignoring the opportunity we just can't pass up. (See Heating and Air Conditioning section below.)

So what exactly can a builder do to make this earth a better place? Green building practices. This is simply our way of looking out for the future and keeping your money in your pocket book.

Below is a list of green building practices we have implemented here at the Retreat: (This list is evolving, as we find better practices and ways of building this list will be updated).


OSB (Oriented Strand Board)
Rainey Homes uses OSB in our Roof sheeting, Sub Floors, and wall sheathing.

Benefit: Oriented Strand Board (OSB) is an engineered wood product that doesn’t demand large trees for its manufacturing. OSB is made from fast-growing, small-diameter trees that can be harvested from plantations, avoiding the need for cutting old-growth trees.

Energy Efficient Windows
We install windows that feature Low-E. “(Low-E) coatings are virtually invisible, metal or metallic oxide layers deposited on a window glass surface in an effort to reduce the
U-factor by suppressing radiated heat flow out the window through the glass. Heat is transferred in a dual paned window by thermal radiation from a warm pane of glass to a cool pane.”***

Benefit: In the summer, Low-E glass reflects the sun's heat and reduces solar heat gain. In the winter, Low-E glass reflects the heat back into the home, reducing heat loss. Ultimately this saves the homebuyer money on heating and air conditioning costs while saving precious natural resources.

Fiber-Cement Siding
On the exterior of our homes we use Fiber Cement siding. This siding is termite proof, water-resistant and warranted to last 25 years. This material is considered a "green" product because it has no damaging affects on the environment, and its manufacture is extremely resource efficient — recycling cut-offs back into the process.

Benefit: This means that your HOA fees will be lower because the maintenance, upkeep and replacement are less. The siding has incredible dimensional stability through a wide range of temperature change and it is also fire resistant!

(Cemplank has been independently tested to have a "0" flame spread index and a "0" smoke development number (please note that any finishing product may burn or cause smoke).)

Insulation
In our Villas, we use a BIBS installation (blow in blankets) to fill the wall cavities that provide an R-23 value. Unlike traditional cellulose
blow in insulation, this product will not settle. The Blow-In-Blanket process can guarantee R-values of 23 in exterior walls and two-by-six cavities because it is blown in to a density of two pounds per cubic inch. Fiberglass batt insulation also provides R-values of 19 in two-by-six cavities, but it is difficult to fit in crevices, around doors, fixtures and outlets, so unwanted voids occur and that is where energy is lost. A blown-in installation guarantees a custom fit because the fiberglass seeks out and fills every void.

Benefit: Increasing the amount of R-Value insulation is a cost-effective way to save energy and help reduce heating and cooling bills, which account for at least half of energy use in the home. “The industry estimates energy savings of 30 to 50 percent with a BIBS installation.”*

Covered Entry at Front Door
All of our home plans at the Retreat feature covered entries at the front entrance.

Benefit: Covered entries at our front exterior door help to prevent water intrusion, reducing maintenance and enhancing durability.

Heating and Air Conditioning Systems
At Rainey Homes we equip your home with energy-star rated, energy efficient, natural gas furnace with an efficiency rating of 90% AFUE. The AFUE number represents how efficiently a furnace converts fuel to energy. The higher the AFUE percentage, the more energy-efficient or fuel-efficient the furnace. Just as frame of reference the U.S. government’s established minimum AFUE rating for a furnace is 78 percent. As you can see we far supercede this. We also use insulated duct systems and seal our duct work with mastic to maintain energy efficiency while it’s being delivered through the home.

Benefit: By selecting more efficient, correctly sized heating, cooling and water-heating equipment the homeowner saves money. The Lennox website states “Choosing an ENERGY STAR qualified product not only makes sense economically—it also makes sense from an environmental standpoint. According to the EPA2, if just one in ten households installed ENERGY STAR heating and cooling products, the change would keep more than 17 billion pounds of pollution out of the air.”

Construction
Factory-built components including trusses and pre-hung doors allow more efficient use of raw materials, making the most out of every piece of lumber. These products eliminate the need to cut wood at the jobsite, further reducing waste.

Benefit: This saves precious resources and improves the quality of the home by having the construction of these materials done in a controlled environment not out in the field where weather and labor can have a negative impact.

Appliances
The appliances we use in our homes are all energy star rated.

Benefit: By using energy star rated appliances the future homeowner saves money and uses fewer natural resources. Energy-Star rated appliances save an average of 30% over standard models.

Decks
At Rainey Homes we use Trex decking materials. Trex composite materials are made from post-consumer and/or post-industrial reclaimed plastic and scrap wood, which would otherwise end up in landfills. The reclaimed plastic comes primarily from grocery bags and stretch film, and the scrap wood is from woodworking manufacturers.

Benefit: The use of recycled material and grocery bags saves natural resources. It also saves the homeowner time and money in the future because it is practically maintenance free.

Plumbing
Rainey Homes utilizes the use of low –flow model toilets and plastic piping. The energy efficient, clean nature of plastic pipe and fittings manufacturing also conserves resources. In fact, the manufacture of plastic pressure piping used in the building, construction, and transportation industries required 56,497 trillion fewer BTUs than iron and congregate/ aggregate alternatives.**
Because plastic pipe and fittings are dramatically lower in weight than metal piping, they save energy in transportation, a significant cost factor in today’s construction planning.

Benefit: Saves water and energy, ultimately lowering our consumption of natural resources.
As you are looking for your next new home, a second or vacation home ask your self one question… Can I save the earth? Well you may not be able to but you certainly can try.


For more information about the products we use, please check out the following websites:

www.trex.com
www.lennox.com
www.jennair.com
www.cemplank.com
www.amscowindows.com
www.osbguide.com

*http://hvac.bobvila.com/Article/858.html
** Based on a 1991 study by Franklin and Associates.
*** http://www.amscowindows.com/w101glassoptions.asp
2 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2005
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