Are Solar Panels Right for My Home?

Are Solar Panels Right for My Home?

It may be surprising to realize that a person does not have to live in a warm, sunny climate to see savings pile up from solar power. Solar is a smart investment in most areas, especially those with higher electricity costs. Learn more about the power of solar panels to help achieve cost saving and energy efficency goals for your new custom home.

 

Incentives and Rebates

A variety of incentives and rebates offered for homeowners switching to solar power exist at federal, state and local levels. This varies depending on region but incentives and rebates can reward residents with significant cost savings as prices are decreasing and incentives are less important overall for homeowners.

 

Orientation and Age of Roof

Ideally a home will have a south-facing roof. West and east facing roofs can have sufficient energy as well depending on the roof. Solar can be installed on roofs with angles anywhere from 0 to 45 degrees. An installer can mount panels at the perfect angle to maximize energy production. The age of the roof is part of the equation as it doesn’t have to be brand new but planning to replace it is important and, as a general guide, if the roof needs to be replaced in 5 years, it is best to have it done prior to having panels added.

 

Roof and Obstructions

The best way to work solar panels into a roof is to make sure the area is free from chimneys, skylights and dormers which serve as obstructions. The installer may be able to design the system around them depending on the roof.

 

Shading on Roof

Shadows from trees, neighboring buildings and other shading issues can decrease electricity production. While a building’s shadow may not be something a person can change, the branches can be trimmed to decrease effect on panel’s production.

 

Electricity Rates

The price of electricity in the area is a key factor in going solar. Installing solar panels makes sense most places but cost savings will vary depending on the price a person pays for utility usage. Due to variations in energy prices, some cloudier areas may reduce cost savings.

While solar works for almost all homes, the best candidate homes for installations include the following characteristics:

  • South or west-facing roof
  • Roof angle of 30 degrees
  • No obstructions on roof
  • No buildings or trees which cast shadows
  • New or relatively new roof

With these qualities, an ideal candidate may not exist for solar depending on age of the home, location and other factors. The best idea is to call Brookstone Homes to find out how we can assess your property for solar panels and see how we can create an opportunity to save money for you and your family.

 

If you’re ready to build a custom panels for your home, call Brookstone Homes. We will disclose all the information you need to make the best decision before and during the home building process.

Call us to find out how to get started.

The Basics of Insulating Your New Custom Home

The Basics of Insulating Your New Custom Home

The average person may not consider what it takes to insulate a home. Unless the heating and cooling system is not working properly, most people do not think about insulation. While it helps regulate a home’s temperature in the winter and summer, it is also necessary to seek efficient insulation to keep energy costs down. Learn more about the basics of insulating a custom home.

 

Types of Insulation

One of the most common forms of insulation is fiberglass batt or pre-cut sheets. Fiberglass insulation is used typically in the attic, crawl spaces, wall and floors. Large production builders may opt to use fiberglass insulation. The advantage to fiberglass batt insulation includes:

  • Affordability
  • Easy installation
  • Long history of safety testing
  • Fire resistant
  • Typically lasts lifetime of the building

 

A second option for the homeowner can be blown-in or loose-fill fiberglass. This is typically used in unfinished attic floors or finished walls and hard-to-reach places. Cellulose is a blown-in insulation but consists of fibers from recycled newspaper, paperboard stock or wood.

Rock wool or mineral wool insulation has been around for awhile, since the 1920s and ‘30s and is made from melted rocks spun into fibers. It can come in batt, roll and loose-fill forms to be used throughout a house with fire resistant properties.

Spray foam is another type of insulation which is chemical-based. It is mixed on site and sprayed within the walls and attic where it is thoroughly distributed between and over rafters.

 

Question of How Much

The amount of insulation required in a home is based on the Department of Energy and International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) climate zone map, which recommends levels of insulation needed for homes located in eight U.S. climate zones. Climate is an important factor with insulation and determines how much is needed. Proper insulation for climate zones depends on checking resistance to heat flow, which is printed on the product’s label. The higher a product’s “R-value,” the greater the insulation power.

 

Energy Audit

An energy audit can be performed to determine whether home insulation is sufficient or performing as well as it can be. Even inside newer homes, adding more insulation may improve the thermal performance somewhat. Additional insulation is common in energy-efficient or high-performance building models. It must be installed properly for it to work at all so it matters who does the work and how well it is done so air leakage can be minimized to save the homeowner money.

 

If you’re ready to build a custom home of your dreams, call Brookstone Homes. We will disclose all the information you need to make the best decision before and during the home building process.

Call us to find out how to get started.

How Much Square Footage is Right for Your Family?

How Much Square Footage is Right for Your Family?

Larger homes can offer plenty of amenities to growing families but smaller, cozier homes are making a comeback in the marketplace for a variety of reasons. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, of course. Ultimately it depends on the needs and preferences of each home buyer as to how much square footage is right for your family. Let’s explore the ins and outs of selecting the right size home to suit the family’s needs. If you have questions, remember that the custom home design experts at Brookstone Homes are here to help you through the decision making process.

 

Space Usage

Once home buyers discover a home that suits their needs and preferences, the focus shifts from size to function. Growing families, school districts, neighborhoods, and affordability all play a consideration into a home size because how it will be lived in often determines how big a house really needs to be. Experienced homeowners are usually specific about square footage needs because they’ve experienced having too little or too much and want to get it right this time around. Some families know exactly what is needed while others need time to figure it out. Consider the amount of furniture and storage space you’ll need, as well as where the family tends to spend most of their time. Having adequate space to spend time together as well as to get away from each other for privacy helps keep a harmonious balance in the home.

Bedroom-Living Space Ratio

In spite of the steady rise in square footage, proper design is critical in any size home.  What might be good for one buyer may not be suitable for another. It depends on the way square footage is assembled and how the floor plans are laid out. The bedroom to living space ratio is a key consideration and depends largely on the size of the family and how family members utilize the space of the home. A typical rule of thumb is that for every bedroom the home must have sufficient space for two people to sit in the dining and living area. Grandparents, parents, and children should have their own space for privacy from other family members.  

 

Budgeting

One obvious factor is the higher cost of new homes. Some custom home buyers want the extra space to accommodate their desires for extra room and luxury amenities while others figure out a budget to fit their needs and find ways to get creative about the best way to lay out a home. While the size of a home generally depends on the available budget, there are many ways to creatively use custom home floor plans to get the best use of the available space. Typically a builder likes to go through the scenarios and make sure what a homeowner wants will fit in with the square footage available in a home and budget.

 

Master Suites

Home Buyers are often surprised by the functional use of space in a home and how much square footage can be purchased and creatively utilized. Many buyers see value in larger homes and end up buying a bigger residence than they originally planned. The love of space is so great that some empty-nesters will upsize rather than downsize to finally enjoy  the extra space and quiet in the home. Extra space in the master bedroom can be a splurge once the kids leave the house, and who could blame you? Sometimes the extra work to create a master suite of a parent’s dreams is recompense for all the money and space given to kids over the years. Sometimes a family just desires to have a getaway within the home and create a haven that is just for the parents to indulge in some quiet space away from kids and the chaos of life.  All options are completely reasonable and we encourage you to splurge on yourself as much as the kids and extended family.

 

Whatever a family’s desires, it is helpful to decide how much square footage is needed and how the space will be utilized. Once that is determined, it’s easier to build the home of a family’s dreams and create the special nest that everyone has dreamed of.

Brookstone Homes is ready to build your custom home with the right square footage and designed to your specifications. We are ready to help you achieve your dream build. Call us to find out how to get started.

Custom Home Builder

Questions to Ask When Hiring a Custom Home Builder

Selecting the right custom home builder for a new dream home can make a huge difference between a building experience that is delightful and high quality or one that is unpleasant and leaves a bad taste in a buyer’s mouth. Choosing the right custom home builder starts with asking the right questions.

 

Reputation

A home builder’s reputation is very important, along with relevant professional credentials. Especially in a tight community like Cincinnati and surrounding suburbs, word travels quickly about the pros and cons of working with a given custom home builder. Be sure to ask around and learn as much about a potential building partner as possible. Check the company history and ask questions like the following:

  • How many years have they been in business?
  • Is the company bonded and insured?
  • Is the company a member of the local builder association?
  • Are any referrals or testimonials available?
  • Does the company have a good reputation?

Brookstone Homes is proud to have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and plenty of glowing customer testimonials available from our satisfied clients.

 

Ten Key Questions

Home buyers need to ask lots of questions in the process of seeking that forever home. One of the ways to do that is to create a list of important questions that you’ll want to ask when you speak with your custom home builder. This way you don’t forget important points during your conversations or meetings with prospective builders.  Start with the following ten to get started:

  • Does the builder use floor plans supplied by the homeowner?
  • How does customization work?
  • What energy-saving features are offered?
  • Does the intended community have a homeowners association (HOA)?
  • What is the process for quality inspection during construction and final walk-through?
  • Who will be the direct point of contact for questions?
  • How often will the home buyer have access to property during building process?
  • Is there a warranty?
  • Do you have references from former buyers available?

 

References

References are very important to home buyers in the process of buying a new home and hiring custom home builders to execute on your dreams. Checking with others who have used the builder helps solidify their work ethic and the quality of their finished product. A good reputation speaks volumes if customers are satisfied. Check with subcontractors, vendors, banks or commercial builders to find out about how bills are paid, financial responsibility, and whether ratings are consistent for good work and customer satisfaction.

 

Change Orders

Custom home builders handle change orders differently. Find out how your prospective builder handles change orders to make sure there are no hiccups in communication along the way. If change orders are too much, it can overwhelm the builder. Asking questions up front and creating a positive, open communication channel with the builder is the best way to ensure a fun, easy process from start to finish for builders and buyers.

 

Ultimately, it pays to go with the gut. If it feels right and everything checks out, it’s probably a good match. Taking the time to ask the right questions can help feel out whether this will be a good match to build that beautiful custom home the family has always wanted.

If you’re ready to build a custom home of your dreams, call Brookstone Homes. We’ll walk you through the process and disclose all the information you need to make the best decision before and during the home building process.

Call us to find out how to get started!