Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Prevent Mold in Your New Green Home

Mold and mildew can not only cause structural problems in a home, they are the cause of many illnesses and allergies – making them one of your home’s worst enemies. Cleaning and getting rid of mold can be a very difficult, expensive, and time consuming project. If you’re building a new energy efficient home, an important consideration in its construction is controlling moisture to prevent mold and mildew buildup.

There are two types of moisture that can enter a home: bulk moisture and vapor moisture. Bulk moisture can get into a home around windows, doors, and leaks in the roof, as well as from condensation from pipes and ducts. Vapor moisture forms as a result of cooking, showering (yes, those long, hot showers), laundry, changes to the humidity level in the home, and just general living.

How do green homes manage moisture? A few ways are by having:

  • A well-designed floor plan and careful placement and orientation of the home on the lot to take advantage of solar access and shading;

  • Energy efficient insulation system to keep the house warm in winter and cool in summer which heps reduce condensation and mold growth;

  • Well-sealed, energy efficient windows and doors;

  • Good ventilation with heat recovery ventilation (HRV) units and extraction fans in the kitchen and bathrooms.

Moisture control starts with the green home design. Talk to an architect about your plans to build a healthy, energy efficient home for your family and build a new home that manages moisture and prevents mold!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

AIA Architects: Billings Index Sending Positive Signals

A new press release generated by the American Institute of Architects reports a positive change in the number of inquiries for possible new projects, calling this “an early signal towards a recovery for the design and construction industry”.

The AIA uses its Architecture Billings Index (ABI), a leading economic indicator that provides an approximate nine to twelve month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending, as a means of gauging an increase or demand for design services.

The October ABI new projects inquiry score was 58.5, following the 59.1 mark in September (any score above 50 indicates an increase). The October ABI rating was 46.1, up sharply from 43.1 in September. This score, however, indicates a continued decline in demand for design services and the AIA remains cautious, saying “it is far too early to think we are out of the woods.”

Using our very accurate BA&A index, we can report a significant increase in new project inquiries for new home construction and green building, especially from people building in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire.

If you are thinking about building an energy efficient home, visit our website to learn about our Design Services and Architectural Fees (yes, our fees are listed on our website!).

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Home Builders Applaud Congress on Extending Home Buyer Tax Credit

November 5, 2009 - The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) today applauded Congress for passing legislation that will extend and expand the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit, stating that this will provide a much-needed boost to the fragile housing market and economy.

“We commend lawmakers for acting in a bipartisan manner to extend the first-time home buyer tax credit beyond its Nov. 30 deadline and expand it to a wider group of home buyers,” said NAHB Chairman Joe Robson, a home builder from Tulsa, Okla. “The tax credit has proven to be a powerful economic incentive. Today’s action by Congress will further stabilize housing and the economy by creating new jobs, stimulating home sales, reducing foreclosures, cutting excess inventories and stabilizing home prices.”

The new law will extend the $8,000 credit for first-time home buyers for sales contracts entered into by April 30, 2010 and closed by June 30. Further, it has been expanded to include a new $6,500 credit for owners of existing homes who are purchasing a new home as a principal residence. An existing home owner can claim the $6,500 tax credit if they have been residing in their principal residence for five consecutive years out of the last eight. Additionally, the income eligibility limits to claim the full credit amount for both groups of home buyers have been raised to $125,000 for individuals and $225,000 for married couples.

NAHB estimates that the extended and expanded home buyer tax credit will create 211,000 jobs and generate 180,000 additional home sales in the coming year. It is also expected to generate $9.6 billion in wage income and $6.9 billion in federal, state and local taxes.

The legislation, which also extends unemployment insurance benefits and offers relief to cash-strapped firms by providing broader tax benefits for businesses with net operating losses (NOLs), is expected to be signed into law shortly by President Obama.

“The new NOL rules will throw a lifeline to struggling businesses, allowing them to continue making payrolls, paying business loans and otherwise keep their doors open until the economic recovery takes hold,” said Robson.

Source: http://www.nahb.org

Home Design Specific to Your Location

Building in different localities means addressing issues specific to your site location. Here are some design issues to consider when building a home…

On a mountaintop:
Terrain and slope
Solar gain
Prevailing winds

On a lake:
Solar gain
Comprehensive Shoreland Protection Act or applicable guidelines and restrictions

In the suburbs:
Solar gain and shading
Architectural Review Board guidelines and regulations

One of our clients is building an energy efficient home on top of a mountain in southwestern New Hampshire (Jaffrey). The 73-acre property faces east and runs from hilltop to the bottom with a fantastic 180-degree view from Mt. Monadnock due north, to Temple, Kidder, and Barrett Mountains to the east, to Mt. Watatic and even Wachusett to the south.

The terrain where the house will be sited is fairly level, which will save money in excavation costs.

The home will be situated with the main living areas (living room and master bedroom) facing east and south. The majority of windows is located on these elevations to take advantage of the fantastic views. Our clients will incorporate solar hot water and geothermal heating systems and are considering using a wind turbine to generate electricity. Click on the link for more photos and the floor plan for this energy efficient one-story house.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Designing & Building a Custom Home: Free Seminar November 21, 2009

Join us for our next free seminar on Designing and Building a Custom Home!

Seminar topics include:

Property: What to look for when buying land

Custom home design: The steps involved in designing your home and energy efficient options, including Energy Star certification

Building a home: Selecting the builder best suited for your custom home

PLUS, walk the Granite Ridge view lots located in the Prospect Hill Development (picture below), Georges Mills / Lake Sunapee, NH with Green Architect Jeremy Bonin and Realtor Dan O'Halloran after the seminar.

Saturday, November 21, 2009
10:00 AM - Noon

Bonin Architects & Associates Office
209 Main Street
New London, NH 03257

This informative event is perfect for anyone looking for land or has recently purchased land and is interested in building an energy efficient custom home.

Registration is required - seating is limited! For more information and to register online, click here.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Architectural Firm Open House Success

We celebrated the Grand Opening of our new architectural firm office in New London, New Hampshire last week. What a great turnout! We had over 70 business owners, residents, and Chamber of Commerce members here - and for quite a while there wasn't room to move! Thank you to all of our old friends who came to congratulate us and to all of the new friends who came to introduce yourselves and learn about our architectural services.

Yankee Communications was also on hand for the festivities and grabbed our Principal Architect Jeremy Bonin for an interview which will appear on Kearsarge Valley Magazine in the next couple of weeks (watch for a blog post!).

Our neighbors in Baynham's Square (Ellie's Cafe & Deli, Vessels & Jewels, and The Banks Gallery) also held open houses that night and visitors were able to visit all of the Square's businesses. Hot hors d'ouevres were provided by Ellie's Cafe and we concluded the evening by sharing a cake decorated for the occasion.

If you didn't get a chance to come to the grand celebration, please stop by anytime to say hello!