Parts of New England and the Northeast battled record-setting snowdrifts this weekend after winter storm Nemo left as much as 3 feet of snow including The House Designers’ head architect’s private Long Island craftsman style home. Nemo put most of the major cities in the Northeast on lockdown for the entire weekend as gale-force winds and coastal flooding left hundreds of thousands without power and motorist stranded on the Long Island Expressway.
Craftsman house plans
The above home, designed and owned by The House Designers’ best-selling architect, Jerry Axelrod, is one of the many craftsman style home plans available online at thehousedesigners.com. To check out the lavish floor plan of this beautiful home including lots of beautiful interior and exterior photographs click here.
According to reports from Weather.com, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine and New York had accumulations of 30″ or more with Hamden, CT setting a record high of 40″.
After spending the weekend digging out, many Northeast residents are dealing with the aftermath of having their homes damaged from Nemo, particularly roof damage. If you find yourself needing a new roof, it’s a great time to consider the benefits of covering your home with energy-efficient roofing.
Nemo blasts northeast
Before the next big storm hits the Northeast, homeowners should make sure their home is prepared for winter. The editors of The House Designers, who sell the best-selling, most popular online construction-ready house plans in the U.S. offer consumers great resources through their weekly e-newsletters and Product Ideas article section including an article on How to Weatherize Your Home for the Winter and Home Energy Saving Tips.
To start receiving these free publications simply click here to subscribe.
When purchasing your house plans, you are probably looking forward to stepping through the front door of your new home. Imagine the flooring you will be stepping on. Is it tile, carpet, or hardwood? Hardwood floors are one of the most sought after commodities when people buy a home. So if you are building a home it is logical you might want to consider laying down some hardwood floors throughout your new home. The real question is, do you go with prefinished or unfinished hardwood flooring.
The difference between prefinished and unfinished hardwood flooring is simple. Prefinished hardwood is already coated with polyurethane and ready to be installed. Unfinished hardwood panels are raw wood that need to sanded and polished. Here are some advantages of both.
The Pros of Unfinished Hardwood
Unfinished hardwood has several benefits, including smooth edges. Prefinished hardwood often has a slightly beveled edge that can create slight grooves in the floor. The other benefit is that it can be color-matched to existing hardwood within the home. Additionally, unfinished hardwood also costs a little bit less. With unfinished hardwood floors you are paying less for the wood and more for the labor. The wider you go for the planks, the wider the difference in price.
The Pros of Prefinished Hardwood
There is less maintenance involved with a prefinished hardwood floor. An unfinished hardwood floor usually has to be coated two to three times with a polyurethane finish. A plank of prefinished hardwood floor plank is coated with five to six coats before it leaves the factory. As such, these planks do not need to be sanded or refinished as often. As an added benefit, when installing it, you don’t have to worry about sanding or finishing the floor. You can install the flooring and walk on it the moment you finish. Not to mention, most prefinished flooring jobs can be done within one to two days.
When it comes to installing hardwood flooring, the decision between prefinished and unfinished hardwood flooring is completely a matter of preference. You need to weigh what is the most important to you and make a decision. One thing is for sure, a hardwood floor is preferable on the housing market and you can’t go wrong with a hardwood floor for your home.
According to The House Designers, finding the right home builder is just as important as finding the perfect house plan, since it is the general contractor’s technical expertise that will be responsible for constructing the home. Before purchasing house plans it is best to consult with a builder to confirm the house plan is suitable for the lot, lifestyle and budget.
There are plenty of ways to find competent, qualified builders to guide consumers through the entire home building experience. Companies like The House Designers provide consumers with a free builder listing and tips to help consumers find local builders, as well as provide a marketplace for builders to offer their services.
“Although there are questionable professionals in every industry, rest assured that most professional residential builders are competent, qualified individuals who are more than capable of building your dream home,” said Tammy Crosby, Chief Operating Officer of The House Designers, who sell the best-selling, most popular online construction-ready house plans in the U.S. The website offers a free building directory making it easy to find local builders.
“Mostly we hear great comments about our customer’s general contractors, but occasionally customers share stories about costly delays, problems with roof and foundation construction, and other construction problems,” Crosby said. “The good news is that it’s not hard to find great builders and by doing a little homework, you can find quality builders that offer expert craftsmanship.”
Look for builders that specialize in building a similar home in the same price range. For example, a builder who specializes in constructing small ranch homes may not be the best choice for a luxury Mediterranean or craftsman home that requires lots of architectural detailing. Interest in building an ENERGY STAR® home will require a builder who understands the EPA’s guidelines and building techniques so the home will qualify once built.
For consumers looking to build their own home, here are some helpful tips to help choose the right home builder:
- First and most important, ask to see the potential contractor’s most recent work. If possible, speak with homeowners that have been in their homes for over a year. This will provide a real assessment on the quality of the home, number of problems and overall feedback about the builder. Be sure to ask the general contractor how many houses they build annually. Being in business for years, doesn’t necessarily mean they are credible.
- Looking for builders on the internet can save plenty of time and money. Most successful and reputable builders will have websites with testimonials, photographs of completed projects, pricing and information about the building process. Many will offer free online estimates of construction costs and some may offer flexible financing options.
- Contact the local home builders’ association to obtain a list of builders who construct homes in that area. Local builders can be found at nahb.org/findanhba.
- Make sure that the builder is licensed in the building area so they can obtain the necessary permits and are familiar with the local building codes.
- Referrals are key, especially from family, friends and neighbors to allow for a tour of the home and an opportunity to ask questions about their home building experience. Running into costly surprises while building a home can easily put a homeowner over budget.
- Make sure that the contract is easy to read and that it’s easy to understand. A confusing contract should be a red flag. Also make sure the contractor offers a guarantee in writing for the work they perform.
A great place to start looking for a builder is The House Designers’ Preferred Builders listing which is also a great resource for quality builders to promote their business.
“Our free Preferred Builders Program is a great way for builders to market their companies and reach thousands of house plan purchasers looking for general contractors,” said Crosby. “We now offer house plans that builders can receive in minutes in our new PDFs Now! collection.”
The House Designers recently introduced this new collection of PDFs Now! to allow builders and consumers to receive their home plans in minutes in their inbox. A PDF version of the construction drawing makes it easy to print as many copies of the blueprints as needed, including smaller copies (8.5” x 11”) from a home or office printer. Quickly and easily email builders, sub-contractors, supply stores and more for budgeting and estimates making it convenient to shop around and receive competitive pricing on your new home building project!
For an added convenience most of the house plans on thehousedesigners.com are available in an electronic PDF format and can be emailed within 24 hours. View the PDFs Fast house plan collection to see what designs are available.
Consumers can also download free worksheets for building a new home and sign up for free weekly e-newsletters featuring the latest in home design and innovative, energy-efficient building products.
Craftsman is one of the most popular architectural styles and as such is a popular choice in selecting a house plan. Craftsman house plans are designed around the trends from the early 20th Century arts and crafts movement. There are a number of options when it comes to a craftsman style house plan. They can range from a small bungalow to a spacious two-story home, but they are always designed to be informal, warm and inviting.
Craftsman house plans emerged from the American Victorian style with changes being made to suit the lifestyle of the emerging American housewife. For example, since an American housewife typically did not have live-in servants and did much of the housework herself, including watching the children, a floor plan with clear sight lines had to be constructed. This meant the kitchen had to be integrated into the main house and the dining room pantries replaced the typical Victorian butler’s pantry.
Elegance was also at the heart of the Arts and Crafts movement by incorporating handcrafted wood, glass and metal work. The Arts and Crafts movement also preached a philosophy that encouraged originality, simplicity of form, local natural materials and visibility of handicraft. The craftsman style remained popular until the 1930s, but its timeless design still makes it a popular house plan style even today. Take a look at our collection of Craftsman house plans for a home that is sure to inspire you.
The word Victorian seems to be thrown around a bit when describing house plans. Characters in books and movies constantly seem to be living in Victorian houses, but what does Victorian really mean today?
When you hear the word Victorian used as an adjective, it describes something that dates back to the reign of Queen Victoria. Many notable changes occurred during Queen Victoria’s reign, including architecture itself. Today, a Victorian house plan is patterned after the 19th and 20th century styles of architecture, including gabled and hipped rooflines, bay windows and a generous use of decorative trimmings.
There are notable differences between today’s Victorian house plans and the Victorian houses erected in the 19th century. For instance, a historical Victorian house plan wouldn’t include a garage, mostly because cars hadn’t been invented meaning there was no need for a garage. Chimneys were also a common feature in historical houses, because houses were heated by a fireplace. Most often, a fireplace would be in every room. Today, Victorian house can be found without chimneys since house are warmed by the use of central heating.
One common feature in Victorian house plans are sash windows and bay windows. Plate glass arrived in 1832, five years before Queen Victoria took the throne. True Victorian windows had six and later four paned windows with a vertical glazing bar down the middle. Bay windows were also a feature of Victorian houses. If you want something that is truly Victorian inspired, then you should consider decorating around your windows exterior.
Of course, technology today is different, and while we don’t need a fireplace in every single room, the decorative look of a Victorian house plan is a draw for some people. With its asymmetrical facade, decorative porches, and steeply pitched roofs, whether you want a house out of the history books or something with a bit of a modern edge, a Victorian house plan is usually a good choice. Check out our collection of Victorian house plans for functional, decorative takes on this popular and timeless design.
Whether you are building a new home or you are remodeling your kitchen, the question of whether to install a gas or electric stovetop is somewhere near the top of your list. The question of whether one is greener than the other, well, I’m sorry to say there isn’t a perfect solution, but here are a few pros and cons to each option.
According to the Department of Energy, 4.5% of the energy used in a household is from cooking, so deciding whether you want a gas or electric stovetop is more a matter of preference than it is reducing your carbon footprint. The fact is that gas stovetops provide instant heat and provide cooks with greater control over the temperatures, making them more efficient than their electric counterparts.
The energy for the stoves is either traced back to an electric power plant or a natural gas line. In short, you are still drawing power no matter what you decide to use. What are some green alternatives to a stovetop for those who love to cook.
Well, there’s a microwave. Most of today’s microwaves use convection technology and work well when cooking smaller dishes. If you are cooking for a larger family or plan on making roasts every so often, then consider a stovetop that uses induction heating. Induction stovetops create heat faster by magnetically accelerating metal particles in steel, cast-iron, and some stainless steel pots. Induction stovetops transfer 90% of the heat they generate to the pot, as opposed to 35 to 40% for gas stoves, and 70% for electric stovetops. The only drawback is the price tag. Induction stovetops can cost between $700 and $1,300 where as traditional gas and electric stovetops only cost about $300.
Whether you’re a casual or a professional chef, how you choose to select your appliances and design your kitchen is a matter of preference. If cooking is your passion, take a look at our collection of fabulous kitchen house plans, any of which will look great with a gas or electric stovetop.
The editors of The House Designers present the 10 best-selling house plans of 2012 from a collection of over 6,000 home designs from America’s leading architects and designers. These popular home designs share many similarities, including size, energy-efficiency and open and flexible living spaces. Of the top 10 home plans, 9 were less than 2,500 sq. ft. When it came to architectural style, all of these homes were craftsman, cottage and ranch house plans with a preference for attached garages, basement foundations and bonus spaces. Each plan features an outdoor living space in its design from lanais to barbeque patios to in-ground pools. Nine were one-story homes – a trend that is expected to continue as Baby Boomers age and new homeowners look for floor plans to age in place.
“We found that these 10 house plans are representative of the new home design trends of 2012 which include outdoor living spaces, cost-effective designs, green design elements and building products, open floor plans and bonus spaces,” said Tammy Crosby, Chief Operating Officer of The House Designers. “Homeowners and builders are looking for smaller floor plans, but don’t want to sacrifice luxury amenities and aesthetics of homes with much larger footprints, which is why these house plans are so popular.”
Here is a list of the top 10 best-selling house plans of 2012 from The House Designers:
1 – For the third year in a row, the L’Attesa di Vita House Plan remains The House Designers’ best-selling design. At 2,091 sq. ft. this versatile craftsman house plan features every amenity a homeowner could desire including a deluxe master suite, office, open kitchen and family room with a cozy breakfast nook and walk-in pantry. For outdoor living space there’s a lanai and barbeque porch with fireplace. It’s easy to extend your living space with a 349 sq. ft. bonus room above the two-car garage and optional basement floor plan with a spacious guest suite. View the floor plans and 25 images of this popular home design.
2 – Similar in design to the L’Attesa di Vita is the La Meilleure Vie House Plan with its gorgeous blend of stone and wood exterior. This home is 2,847 sq. ft. and features a three-car garage with a large 934 sq. ft. bonus room designed as a recreational space with a media, game and billiards room. Entertaining is made easy with a large family room and amenity-filled kitchen that opens to a covered lanai and barbeque porch. View this craftsman cottage house plan.
3 – The trend in ranch house plans with a craftsman, cottage styling continues with the third most popular home from The House Designers called the Montagna di Grazioso House Plan. This home was designed with great attention to detail to maximize its 2,106 square footage including a fabulous kitchen design for a small space featuring innovative storage solutions and plenty of workspace and seating. A walk-in pantry is essential for homeowners who like to stock up on supplies. View this craftsman house plan.
“You would think that these top three homes would be costly to build because of all the stone and wood, but the opposite is true thanks to companies like Fypon®, Therma-Tru®, Cultured Stone® by Boral® and Ply Gem®,” said Crosby. “These companies offer gorgeous veneer, fiberglass and polyurethane products that mimic the look of the real product without the high cost or maintenance. Because they are lightweight and easy to use they are favored among builders as well.”
4 – The Long Meadow is an elegant country house plan with a craftsman façade and flexible interior design. A three-car garage, screened porch, spacious country kitchen, a 1,535 sq. ft. bonus area and an optional 2,352 sq. ft. basement make this home irresistible! View the floor plans to this country cottage house plan, including the finished basement floor plan.
5 – The Vita Encantata House Plan joins the top three best-selling house plans in its flair for exterior appeal and love of entertaining with outdoor living spaces and an open kitchen and great room. There’s a 302 sq. ft. bonus space above the two-car garage and an optional finished basement to extend the home’s 1,838 sq. ft. to almost double its size. Take a tour of this popular craftsman cottage house plan with European styling by clicking here.
6 and 7 – While most homeowners expect a certain level of green elements in their home design, many are looking for a higher standard of green building, which is why interest in The House Designers exclusive collection of ENERGY STAR and Green House Plans continues to grow. The 1st place winner of the 2012 ENERGY STAR Home Design Competition is the sixth most popular house plan, followed by the popular Tres Le Fleur House Plan. These homes are extremely energy efficient, aesthetically appealing and well designed for their square footage.
8, 9 and 10 – The final three house plans are classic craftsman ranch house plans designed with room to grow. The Halstad House Plan is just under 3,000 sq. ft. and features a functional floor plan with two bedrooms and a 581 sq. ft. bonus space above the three-car garage. When it comes to curb appeal and room for indoor/outdoor entertaining this home is a solid ten. The Mountain Cottage with Optional Bonus Room comes with an enlarged master bath floor plan option and finished bonus suite. The Sturbridge II House Plan features a compact floor plan with four bedrooms, an office and a bonus space.
In the Middle Ages, a cottage usually housed agricultural workers and their friends and families. Back then the term cottage did not just comprise a house, but also a barn and usually a fenced in yard or piece of land enclosed by a gate. Today, the word cottage conjures up a different image to each and every person.
A cottage generally means a soft cozy dwelling that typically resides in a rural or semi-rural location. Cottages are usually small structures with limited square footage and limited interior space. There are a variety of cottage styles, including English, French, German, American and Victorian, but there are a few characteristics that unify cottage houses.
Cottages are meant to be small, inexpensive buildings and their construction reflects such. Most cottages are one-story buildings with a hipped roof. Gabled roofs are also common in cottages. Cottage house plans also tend to overlap with ranch and country house plans. These homes are extremely well suited for a year-round dwelling, an art or writing studio or a quaint living space for aging parents.
Our cottage house plans collection has a variety of homes with ornate roofs and welcoming hearths for that cozy appeal. The cottage house plans collection is not just limited to small, charming homes but also includes larger, informal home plan designs as well.
Depending on where you plan on building, heating in the winter months will definitely be a concern. The crackling of a fire is a timeless winter tradition, but whether you want a fireplace for a yule log, making winter s’mores with the kids, or just recreating the feeling of a ski lodge in your living room there is one downside to a wood burning fireplace, and that is heat loss.
When a fire is lit most of the warm air is pulled out of the room to feed the fire. A lot of the heat energy produced by the fire is lost up the chimney and in the materials around it. Though the charm of a wood burning fireplace sounds great, it’s not a very eco-friendly way to warm your house, especially when it is below freezing. That’s where a fireplace insert comes in.
What is a fireplace insert?
Fireplace inserts are designed to increase the efficiency of a fireplace. The fireplace insert is constructed as a fireproof box surrounded by steal or cast iron and fronted by insulated glass. This creates a closed combustion system where the steal and cast iron help to trap the heat. Some inserts even have a blower that pushes hot air back into the room. If properly installed, a fireplace insert can be much more efficient than a traditional wood burning fireplace.
Electric Fireplace Inserts
Electric fireplace inserts are the simplest and least complicated to install. There is no combustion involved and therefore no chimney is required and thus no permit. Electric fireplace inserts include a small heater which outputs to 5,000 BTUs (British Thermal Units). They also allow you to adjust the flame size and can be used with or without the heat component.
When it comes to installing an electric fireplace insert you only have to make sure that the insert fits the fireplace opening to work properly. The cost of operating an electric insert depends on the electrical rates in the area.
Gas Fireplace Inserts
If you have access to natural gas where you are building, you might want a gas fireplace insert. Installing a gas fireplace insert takes more time but the energy produced is between five and eight times as much as electric inserts (25,000 to 40,000 BTUs), enough to comfortably heat a medium sized room.
The gas fireplace insert is aided by two tubes that run from the insert and up the chimney. One tube draws in fresh air to feed the fire and the other is for exhaust. Once it is installed there is very little maintenance needed aside from cleaning the fireplace door. The gas burns cleanly so there is no need to clean your chimney, but it can be difficult to determine if the gas is leaking, so a carbon monoxide detector is a must.
Wood Fireplace Inserts
Wood fireplace inserts offer the beauty of an open fireplace with the performance of a state-of-the-art wood stove. Wood fireplace inserts are less effective than gas fireplace inserts, with an efficiency rating of only 50 percent.
The main disadvantage of a wood fireplace insert is the emissions. The smoke from the wood sticks to the chimney as creosote, which is combustible, or released as air pollution. However, the EPA has stepped in and certified some wood fireplace inserts to make sure that they burn wood efficiently. If sized and installed correctly, an EPA-certified wood fireplace will reduce fuel consumption and maintenance on both the chimney and insert.
When it comes to supplemental heating, a fireplace is a great way to add ambiance, but if you are concerned about heating costs, then a fireplace insert can improve the efficiency of your fireplace and bring many cherished memories. If you aren’t ready to consider adding a fireplace insert just yet, but you are still concerned about heating costs, then take a look at The House Designers’ Collection of ENERGY STAR® approved house plans.
Building a new home will probably be one of the biggest and most exciting projects of your lifetime and it all starts with finding the perfect house plans. Shopping for a house plan can be an overwhelming process if you don’t know what to look for, which is why The House Designers has created a user-friendly website to ensure your search is easy and enjoyable. You’ll want to look for a floor plan that is functional, comfortable and meets the needs and lifestyle of your growing family.
Before starting your house plan search you should make a list of all essential features you want like how many walk-in closets, number of bathrooms and bedrooms, kitchen layout, number of garages and how much bonus space you’ll need. While it is easy to get carried away by aesthetics especially when you’re looking at thousands of beautiful homes and photographs, make sure that your floor plan is practical and affordable.
Equally helpful is writing a list of the things you DON’T want so you’ll be able to eliminate homes from your house plan search. If you know exactly what you want in your new home it is best to go right to the advanced search section, which will make finding your house plan easier.
If you already have the lot for your new home then you will need to find a house plan that will fit the lot. If your lot is on a slope you should consider a house plan with a walkout basement. If you have a narrow lot, the size of your house plan will be limited to a certain width so consider a two-story home for extra living space. The House Designers offers a wide selection of two-story house plans, narrow lot plans and sloping lots in a variety of sizes, shapes and architectural styles.
Of course, if you don’t have any lot limitations you can enjoy browsing a wide variety of house plan styles and specialty collections offered at thehousedesigners.com.
Here are some great tips to help you understand the many features and details available when looking at floor plans:
1 – Total Square Footage The total square footage of the home refers to the finished portion of your house plan. Areas like garages, porches, bonus spaces and attics are considered unfinished and are not calculated in the total square footage of the home plan. Be sure that when you purchase your house plan you have calculated the additional square footage into your budget if you plan on finishing them.
2 – Foundation Options You will need to select a foundation option based on your geographical area and needs. Options include basement, slab, crawl space or post and pier foundation. If you can have a basement this is a great way to increase your living space (it’s typically the same size as the main floor) and add value to your home. You may not be able to afford to complete your basement at the time of construction but down the road you’ll be glad to have the extra space.
3 – Kitchen Layout The kitchen is the key ingredient to any good home design so be sure that the kitchen layout is one that fits your needs and lifestyle. There are five common kitchen layouts depending on the size and style of the home: G (also known as the peninsula), L, U, single-wall and galley, which can easily be customized by adding the right cabinetry, appliances and accents. Check out this great article for selecting the right kitchen layout by clicking here.
4 – Bonus Spaces As you begin your search for a house plan you may want to look for a design that includes a bonus room or optional living space. A bonus room is an extra space in a home that has not been given a specific designation and can be built out at a later time. It offers homeowners the flexibility to create a unique space that fits their particular needs and lifestyle.
5 – Customizing Your Home All of the house plans on The House Designers website can easily be modified to create a custom home without the high costs associated with hiring a designer to draw your plans from scratch. Their home plan specialists are available to determine if your changes are simply redlining changes or structural changes that require plan modifications. The House Designers offers free modification quotes on all their house plans. Simply call 866-214-2242 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for help finding the right house plans.
From now until midnight Monday November 26, 2012 save 15% off all House Plans from The House Designers
As Thanksgiving Day approaches this Thursday, many people will be preparing turkeys in their ovens. Some people, on the other hand, might try to deep fry their turkey.
You might recall Allstate’s Trouble Never Takes A Holiday Commercial featuring Dennis Haysbert standing in a leaf-filled backyard in front of a turkey deep fryer informing us that of the 2 million people who deep fried their turkeys last year, 15 succeeded in setting their homes on fire. To avoid that unfortunate fate, here are some quick tips to stay safe with your deep fryer.
Pay Attention to Where You Fry
The first rule in deep frying is the same as when you barbecue, do not cook indoors. You will be working with hot oil and propane gas, so make sure your deep fryer is set-up outdoors, in an open space where it won’t be knocked over.
Also, do not fry your turkey on a wood deck, since wood does catch fire easily. Concrete isn’t the best surface either if you are concerned about oil stains. Try to fry on asphalt or a grassy area, but that alone is no guarantee that your house is safe. A few precautions before you set the turkey into the fryer will help as well.
Before You Fry
Before you fry your turkey, set your bird in the fryer and cover it with water till it is about two inches above the turkey. Then take the bird out and measure the water or mark the inside of your fryer. This helps you determine how much oil you will need to fry your turkey. It also helps to minimize spills that can cause fires.
How to Fry
On Turkey Day heat the oil between 325 and 350 degrees Fahrenheit, then slowly lower the turkey into the fryer. This will minimize spills and thus keep the risk of fires to a minimum.
Then, let your turkey fry. Be sure to consult the instructions that came with your deep fryer for guidance on how long to cook your turkey. (It is usually around two to three minutes per pound.)
Remember if you are planning to deep fry your turkey, please make sure that you do it safely. Keeping your cooking area clear of spills and other hazards will eliminate a turkey frying disaster and ensure that that dining room table has a lovely entree for the big meal.
Whether you are basting a turkey or setting up a fryer in your driveway, be safe and have a Happy Thanksgiving.
No really, there is much more on daylight savings time then you think. There is about two hundred years of history for a practice most of the United States does twice a year. While many states and territories observe this practice on Sunday November 4th, it is not mandated for all states and territories. Federal Law instead, stipulates that any region that does observe daylight savings sets their clocks back one hour at 2 a.m. on the last Sunday of October. This practice might seem a bit silly, but there is a very thought out rationale to this dating back hundreds of years.
The idea behind daylight savings is to extend the number of daylight hours in the evening in order to save electricity. Benjamin Franklin gets the credit for this idea, but it wasn’t put into wide spread practice right away.
The first instance of daylight savings being put into wide use was World War I. Germany implemented the practice in order to help conserve energy for the war effort, and Britain followed suit as did the United States. In 1918, President Wilson wanted to keep the time change, but it was repealed because farmers thought it kept them out of sync with the cities.
The same thing happened in World War II. The government instituted daylight savings but then when the war ended, the more industrialized country, didn’t care much about losing the evening light. So they left the clocks alone and chaos ensued. In 1966, the issue was resolved with the Uniform Time Act of 1966, which stated that states did not have to observe daylight savings but if they choose to, the whole state had to comply. Furthermore, the federal government would determine the dates to “spring forward” and “fall back.”
Since it was implemented, daylight savings has been extended three times and it now encompasses from March to November. However, none of the history answers the million-dollar question. Does manipulating a clock really change the way we consume energy?
When daylight savings was first proposed in the late 18th Century, its goal was to try to eliminate the use of incandescent lighting, which was the primary use of electricity. However, energy usage patterns have greatly changed in the last 200 years. Today, there is a lot of dispute over the modern effects of daylight savings, a sampling includes:
- An Australian study in 2000 found that when daylight savings was implemented during the winter months, energy consumption did not decrease. Yet, the morning peak load and prices increased.
- A 2008 study monitoring Indiana before and after the adoption of daylight savings concluded that residential energy consumption increased between 1 and 4 percent due to extra afternoon cooling and extra morning heating.
- In 2007, he United States Department of Energy concluded that overall energy consumption decreased by 0.5 percent during the extension of daylight savings. However, this report did not examine the use of heating fuels, nor did it analyze the entire eight month period.
When it comes to how daylight savings will affect your building plans, unless you are planning on building your home in Arizona or Hawaii, there is no avoiding the dark evenings that will start next week. However, if you decide that daylight savings is working against you, and you don’t want to pay an astronomical heating bill, then consider the selection of exclusive ENERGY STAR® home plans offered through our site.
Years ago, Sarah Lawrence College in New York bought up all the houses on a street called Mead Way. One of those houses used to be dubbed Warren House, until it got a green makeover in 2008 and became known as Warren Green. About to enter its fifth-year of green-living, the house that provides living space for thirteen Sarah Lawrence students, has been a cornerstone of Sarah Lawrence’s Sustainability Initiative.
When the house was renovated, the changes included additional insulation, energy efficient appliances, and solar panels. These renovations can be made to any house, but if you are looking to build a new home there are a selection of energy efficient house plans to look into.
Keep in mind that a green home does not save the environment on its own, you have to look at how you use the green technology you put into place. The residents of Warren Green, apply to live in the house and after extensive interviews agree to live by a set of green living rules. These include:
- Doing full loads of laundry, and using cold water whenever possible.
- Using electric light as little as possible, and using compact florescent lightbulbs, also known as CFLs.
- Cooking collectively to minimize the electricity used in your home, minimize the use of small-appliances, and attempt to use your appliances at off-peak hours.
- Turning off, and unplugging all electronics when not in use.
With these tips, the interior of your home will be just as energy efficient as the exterior. Take a moment to look at the selection energy-efficient house plans, including a selection of exclusive ENERGY STAR® house plans, in our gallery. All of the ENERGY STAR® house plans are 3,000 square feet or less and are designed for efficiency and affordability without sacrificing style and amenities.
The benefits of these home include reducing your energy costs by 20 to 30 percent and our green house plans include location-specific cooling calculations, water heating specs, and everything you need to know to make sure that your new home will meet the stringent ENERGY STAR® standards.
Planning to build a green home is a remarkable adventure that you will be grateful for in years to come, but whether your plans to build are in the near future or a few years away, then take some of the green living tips above to heart and start lessening your carbon footprint today.
During October’s Energy Awareness Month, Mark Clement, host of MyFixitUpLife home improvement radio show provides timely advice on selecting ENERGY STAR® qualified windows, doors and roofing products to the home to help homeowners save on yearly energy costs.
Ambler, PA (PRWEB) October 24, 2012
Homeowners looking to make smart, energy-efficient investments in their homes should always start with ENERGY STAR® qualified products. That’s the advice of Mark Clement, host of the MyFixitUpLife home improvement radio show and website.
“The easiest first step when looking to purchase doors, roofing, windows or any other major product for the home is to request ENERGY STAR® qualified products,” says Clement, a professional contractor with 20+ years experience. “A product that meets ENERGY STAR® requirements for a specific geographic area is constructed to help make the home as energy efficient as possible. Using several ENERGY STAR® qualified products together can really help ease the energy burden on the home, which can help save homeowners a great deal of money each year on energy costs.”
During October’s Energy Awareness Month, Clement offers these tips for homeowners:
Tip #1 – Visit the government’s ENERGY STAR® website at http://www.energystar.gov to learn as much as possible about energy efficient home products before making an investment in a major product for your home.
Tip #2 – When installing or replacing windows or patio doors, always choose ENERGY STAR® qualified, vinyl-framed products like those from Simonton Windows®. Vinyl is an excellent insulator, and some of the best windows have fusion-welded corners and multi-chambered construction for increased energy efficiency. When combined with a Low E glass package featuring a dense (but harmless) Argon or Krypton gas fill inside the units, these windows and patio doors can help lower energy bills by keeping a home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.
Tip #3 – When it comes time to replace your roof, look for a “Cool Roof” that will help lower your home’s overall energy costs. A Cool Roof is measured by two properties, solar reflectance and thermal emittance. EcoBlend® polymer roofing tiles from DaVinci Roofscapes® have been verified by the independent Cool Roof Rating Council to meet or exceed requirements for ENERGY STAR® qualified roofing products to reflect sunlight and heat away from the home, helping increase the overall energy efficiency of the structure. These durable, impact-resistant polymer tiles are available in slate and shake profiles in a variety of colors.
Tip #4 – If you’re constructing a new home, consider an approved green home plan that meets the strict requirements of ENERGY STAR®. The House Designers offers an exclusive collection of more than 800 innovative, sustainable designs from leading architects and designers that come in a wide array of architectural styles and home sizes to choose from when building a new home.
Tip #5 – If your front entry door has air leaking in or doesn’t close properly, it’s time to invest in a new door. Stylish and secure, more than 94 percent of the fiberglass doors manufactured by Therma-Tru® (including those with decorative and privacy glass doorlites) meet national ENERGY STAR® qualifications. For added energy efficiency, homeowners can request the Tru-Defense® Door System* that includes enhanced weatherstripping, corner seal pad, door bottom sweep and profiled sill that all work together to provide strength and stability in the entry door.
For more home improvement tips, visit http://www.myfixituplife.com.