Friday, May 28, 2010

Open House: Custom Home, Sunapee NH

Custom Open House with Q&A with Green Building Experts
near Lake Sunapee, New Hampshire
Saturday, July 10, 2010
4:00 PM - 6:00 PM

The Dartmouth - Lake Sunapee region in New Hampshire is a great four-season resort area to live, work, and raise a family!  Whether you like swimming or skiing, hiking or biking, or any other outdoor hobby, you can find it here. 

If you are thinking of building a home or are purchasing a home in Sunapee, New London, Newbury, or another surrounding town that needs a renovation, call to register to attend our next Open House near Sunapee Harbor on scenic Lake Sunapee!

Not only will you be able to tour a beautiful custom home, you'll be able to interview area green building experts at a Q&A discussion.  Gather your questions and ideas for Green Architect Jeremy Bonin of Bonin Architects & Associates, Custom Builder Everett Pollard of Northcape Design / Build, and Dan O'Halloran of Colby Real Estate!  Ask about:

Green building materials
Local construction costs
Green home design & why it is important
Solar and geothermal heating
Metal roofs vs. asphalt shingles
Shoreland Protection Act guidelines
and more!

Registration for the Open House is required, and the address & directions to the home will be given to registrants only.  Register today by calling Bonin Architects at 603-526-6200!

Looking to relocate here? Watch a video tour of the Lake Sunapee - New London area, created by realtor Dan O'Halloran:

Friday, May 21, 2010

Checklist for Hiring a Builder or Remodeler

You have a home design you love - now it's time to find a builder. Here is great information from the National Association of Home Builders we want to pass on. If you are building a new home or addition, or remodeling your home, use this checklist to help you select a builder to perform the work.
  • Does the builder or remodeler have a permanent business location and a good reputation with local banks and suppliers? 
  • How long have they been in the building business? It usually takes three to five years to establish a financially sound business. Will they be around after the construction is complete to service any warranties?
  • Have you called your local Better Business Bureau? They can alert you to any complaints.
  • Does the builder/remodeler have sufficient workers compensation and general liability insurance? If not, you may be liable for any construction-related accidents on your premises.
  • Will the builder/remodeler provide you with names of previous customers? Ask them if they would hire the builder/remodeler again.
  • Have you seen the builder/remodelers work, both completed and in progress? Check for quality of workmanship and materials.
  • Are you able to communicate with the builder/remodeler? Remember you will be in close contact with them throughout the construction process and afterward as you live in your new home.
  • Will the builder/remodeler provide you with a complete and clearly written contract? The contract will benefit both of you. Review it carefully.
  • Be cautious of unusually low-priced bids. If the builder/remodeler is unable to pay for the materials and labor as the project proceeds, this may indicate a potential problem.

 Your architect can also refer builders in your area and set up interviews to match you with the best builder for can also refer builders in your area and set up interviews to match you with the best builder for your project.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Solar Technology: Solar Shingles

Solar Energy is often incorporated into our residential architecture.  Leading the pack in new solar technology is the Dow Chemical Company.

Dow has been developing Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) building materials that enable solar energy cells to be incorporated directly into the design of commercial and residential building materials such as roofing systems, exterior sidings, fascias and more. Dow’s BIPVs make solar power accessible and affordable for homeowners.

From solar product to an experienced solar support team, Dow offers an integrated, seamless solar solution that's intuitive to set up, install, use and maintain. Most importantly, it's backed by decades of innovation and on-the-ground R&D knowledge.

The Dow POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingle delivers true building-integrated aesthetics by integrating PV functionality into an asphalt roof-shingle form factor. It utilizes high-efficiency, CIGS-based, PV cells manufactured on a flexible substrate. These cells are laminated and subsequently over-molded into the final shingle design using conventional materials and polymer processing methods. Dow's groundbreaking technology integrates low-cost thin-film photovoltaic cells into a roofing shingle design, which represents a multi-functional solar module. The innovative product design reduces installation costs because the conventional roofing shingles and solar generating shingles are installed simultaneously.

The DOW™ POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingle was named one of the "50 Best Inventions of 2009" by Time magazine, and is expected to be available in 2011.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Protect the Environment: Pick 5

Being green architects, we are very concerned about our ecosystem as a whole.  All of us working together can make a huge difference in protecting the environment. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a new “Pick 5” program designed to identify areas of improvement and take action. The object is to look at the list and pick five things you can implement in your daily life.

1. Use less water! Take showers instead of baths, fix leaks, and turn off the tap when brushing your teeth. And buy efficient fixtures by looking for the WaterSense label.

2. Commute without polluting! Use public transportation, carpool, walk, or bike whenever possible to reduce air pollution and save on fuel costs.

3. Save electricity! Do a home energy audit, get programmable thermostats, buy Energy Star products, turn stuff off when you’re done, and change your bulbs to compact fluorescents.

4. Reduce, reuse, recycle! Try to find products with less packaging, take reusable bags on shopping trips, creatively reuse other products, and recycle what's left.

5. Test your home for radon! Radon is a naturally occurring, odorless gas that can seep into your home and cause lung cancer.

6. Check your local air quality! When you exercise outdoors, use your local air quality forecast to help plan the best time for a workout or run.

7. Use chemicals safely! Read pesticide labels carefully. Lock up pesticides, paints, and cleaners where kids can't reach them.

8. eCycle! Take your old computer, DVD player, or other electronics to a recycling center. This helps keep hazardous substances out of the landfill.

9. Enjoy the outdoors safely! Find out the quality of beach water from your state office and get the UV Index to protect yourself from the sun.

10. Spread the word! Teach others where you work or go to school. Encourage people to Pick 5 for the Environment!

Of course, this is a short list, feel free to add items you feel you can tackle to improve your local community and personal environment.