More than meets the eye: what’s happening behind your stucco and manufactured stone

More than meets the eye: what’s happening behind your stucco and manufactured stone
Stucco and manufactured stone have been used in the building industry for ages. These claddings are well known, and well used for their leading properties in fire resistance, durability, and aesthetics. In fact, according to the Census Bureau’s recent Survey of Construction, 25% of homes built in the US in 2017 used stucco cladding; second only to vinyl, which was used in 27% of homes. This number is predicted only to increase, with stucco usage expected to continue to grow across the globe, especially in North America. Although it is evident stucco is a strong choice for several reasons, many builders are still scratching their heads when it comes to tackling their biggest challenge with this type of finish – moisture. Moisture is a critical concern for stucco and manufactured stone homes. Without the right protection, uncontrolled moisture can lead to mold, wall rot, and decay, and eventually have an impact on both the aesthetics and structural integrity of the home. Though... read more
 

Denver-Area Housing Market Forecast

The outlook for the Denver-area housing market is bright, but we should be wary of persistent labor challenges and effects on housing demand.

Denver-area housing has been on a wild ride in 2020.  With a COVID-19-induced slowdown driving permit totals to multi-year lows in the spring months, permit activity came roaring back in the summer.  The metro area approved 3,258 single-family permits between June and August, down just 0.8% when compared to the same time last year.  Multi-family permits suffered a larger decline, although with 506 permits approved in the last six months, multi-family activity fell just 17.7% versus 2019.  The uncertain outlook for Denver housing construction in coming months is affected by countervailing factors.  On one hand, note that local permit offices were closed for a time to prevent community transmission of coronavirus, and pent-up demand for new permits may have played a role in the strong summer rebound.  Additionally, labor market disruption this year has reduced the pool of qualified buyers, suggesting that homebuyer demand may yet weaken.  Nonetheless, the big surprise of the year is housing’s outstanding resilience despite the very real challenges the industry has faced.  

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SelahVista Homes Start with Health

Custom home builder Steve Weise has teamed up with REALTOR® Brenda Nunes to offer homebuyers a truly unique option in the small central Washington community of Selah: A zero energy development where all 60 homes feature 5-star Built Green and Indoor airPLUS certifications. The homes at SelahVista give homeowners peace of mind of owning a healthy home where they pay nothing for energy. Steve became keenly focused on healthy homes after one of his custom home clients hired him to build a home without the toxic chemicals common in conventional construction. In the process, he realized that he himself had been suffering from his own occupational exposure to the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted by the adhesives ubiquitous in standard home construction. 

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Selling the Value of Zero

Homes, especially production homes, are usually sold as commodities. This is understandable because in an up market all homes go up in price together and in a down market prices fall together — at these times features and benefits seem less relevant. As a result, traditional home selling often relies on marketing to create “perceived” value, rather than selling the real value of a home. In a commodity market, marketers sell the “sizzle,” rather than the “steak,” focusing on superficial qualities or square footage rather than true value to the buyer. However, buyers’ behavior makes it clear that they do not view a home purchase the same as buying a commodity, such as a bottle of milk. For buyers, a home purchase is a very complex, personal process involving weeks or months of searching, inspecting, comparing features, and falling in love with homes. When sellers treat homes as commodities, and convince buyers to do the same, they don’t connect to the true values and risks that...

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Affordable Housing is a Political Choice

Local and national housing policies have squeezed affordable housing out of the market. Learn why change is needed & how we can improve housing policy.

Roadblocks to Afforable Housing Affordable housing is a political choice. Local and national housing policies have squeezed affordable and attainable housing out of the market. Since the Great Recession of 2008, homebuilders and developers have faced roadblocks at nearly every turn when trying to build shelter products that are affordable for the buyers below the median income. The U.S. Is Facing a Severe Housing Crisis The United States may be facing its most severe housing crisis in history. It has been declared in articles in Foreign Affairs and Bloomberg recently. Home Builders have known that this was developing since the end of the Great Recession. Federal government restrictions have largely engineered this shortage. These restrictions respond to a phenomenon called the "HomeVote," a term coined by William Fischel.[1] HomeVote drives up home values for those that are already homeowners. These homeowners are motivated to stop growth in order to limit supply and...

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Occupy Mars - Then What?

Occupy Mars - Then What?
Back in 2012 Dutch company Mars One announced they would “establish a human settlement on Mars in 2023.” In 2014 NASA said they were developing the capabilities needed to send humans to Mars in 2030. And three years later, Space X founder, Elon Musk, said he would send people to Mars in 2024. We apparently missed the window for the shortest distance between Earth and Mars in 2018 when the two planets were separated by only 35m miles. Theoretically, this would have allowed space travelers to make it to Mars in about 200 days - compared to the 250 normal days of travel. But whether we send someone sooner or later, there’s still that little challenge of producing energy on Mars. Mars is home to unpredictable tornados and the biggest sandstorms in the universe (that we know of so far, I suppose). I experienced the aftermath of a sandstorm once when I woke up in Greece one morning and found the entire landscape around me covered in red sand. Locals explained it was from a... read more
 

Can Mary Kondo Bring Joy To Your Hunt For A Green Home?

The stories behind the home building and home buying process are not dominated by chapter after chapter of Joy. They are often more like a bumpy, confusing and even heartbreaking saga of anxiety and regret. In a recent survey, Homes.com found that one in three Americans ended up crying during the home buying process. In fact, of the 2,000 home buyers surveyed, 13 percent of respondents cried “a lot.” Why does this happen? It’s a story that starts like a coffee table book and quickly morphs into part physics text book part legal desk reference. Mired in complexity and told with words that only obfuscate the process it can be a nightmare for beginners. Consider first time homebuyers. (Maybe you have been one, or are hoping to be one.) Terms like “escrow,” “appraisal,” “equity,” “encroachment,” hit you from the financial side. Move up from a builder grade project to higher performance sustainable construction. Then you get acronyms and words like “SEER,” “ERV,” “Tonnage” from the mechanical side and “U-Factor,” “Solar Heat Gain” and “Visible Transmittance” from your window brand and it goes on and on. Sadly, most people just don’t know what they are getting into and most brands don’t curate the complexity well.

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DOE Announces $80 Million Available for Projects Enhancing Energy Demand Flexibility

DOE Announces $80 Million Available for Projects Enhancing Energy Demand Flexibility
The Department of Energy recently announced $80 million in funding opportunities for Innovative Building Technologies and Practices that will impact various areas of the building industry and further U.S. leadership in advanced building science and technology. The Buildings Energy Efficiency Frontiers & Innovation Technologies (BENEFIT) 2020 opportunity is looking to support projects that enhance energy demand flexibility across buildings and the electric power grid. “Projects funded under this FOA will help advance innovative building technologies to move toward a new generation of building energy technologies,” said Daniel R. Simmons, Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in a DOE release. “These projects will further U.S. leadership in advanced building science and technology.” Topics that can be submitted include projects surrounding: Thermal storage research Advanced heating, ventilation, and AC systems that are able to provide demand ... read more
 

Cracking the Builder Rebate & IECC Performance Path Code

Learn how to increase your builder rebate profits with the use of the Performance Path

Builder Rebates & IECC Performance PathOffset Your Costs The energy regulations and code requirements for builders along the Front Range of Colorado can be challenging. Moving targets, tougher environmental requirements, and increased building costs can all make it difficult to make a profit in today’s building industry. Adding another subcontractor for energy compliance requirements can feel like one more regulation that only increases the cost of construction. We get it. But EnergyLogic can also open doors to rebates which can offset the costs of our required energy compliance services and return additional money into the builder’s pocket. Maximize Your Potential The three major Front Range utility providers offer rebates to builders to incentivize the construction of energy-efficient homes. 

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Weber State University’s Solar Decathlon Home is For Sale

A Solar Decathlon home is on the market in Utah

Earlier this year, students from Weber State University’s Department of Construction & Building Sciences participated in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon Build Challenge along with student teams from colleges around the nation, and world. The Weber State team, consisting of seniors and juniors in both the Bachelor of Integrated Studies program and the interior design department, had a goal to create a sustainable, environmentally-friendly home that would be viable for anyone to build. The home was built with a tight envelope and includes an efficient ERV as well as a mini-split system that will allow the inhabitants of the home to control temperatures in each room.

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