home energy savingsMany home improvement companies will recommend a whole host of energy efficient options that should be performed on your home, and usually their advice coincides beautifully with the services that they offer.

No one wants to cast aspersions, but many of these companies only inspect the features that they can improve and do not really look at the big picture. For this reason, a savvy homeowner should get an independent energy audit to determine the best course of action. In particular, energy audits will inspect the following three main areas:

  • Windows and Doors – Testing will determine if the house is properly sealed.
  • HVAC System – A cost/benefit analysis will be conducted between the current system and a newer, high efficiency one.
  • Insulation – A whole house survey can determine if insulation is lacking in the walls, attic or subfloor crawlspaces.

With a thorough energy audit in hand, homeowners can now choose the most cost effective way to resolve their home’s problem areas. For more information on energy audits in particular or green home design in general, contact us at Trilogy Partners. We can be found online at TrilogyBuilds.com or you can call us directly at 970-453-2230.

Image: Shutterstock

The Dirt has a great interview with one of the co-founders of New York City’s High Line. Living in Colorado we are surrounding by nature’s beauty, but in a city like New York, it is a little more difficult to find some green space, especially outside of Central Park.

Photo via High Line

Robert Hammond is Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director of Friends of the High Line, the public park that was built atop an old, abandoned rail line on the west side of Manhattan. Hammond and Joshua David’s account on transforming the rail line into an award-winning park can be read in “The High Line: The Inside Story of New York City’s Park in the Sky.” In it Hammond talks about how he used to see parts of the abandoned rail line walking around Chelsea. He recalls that he didn’t really think much of the line until news ran that is was going to demolished. In the news coverage he learned that the rail rail line ran all the way from the Meatpacking District to Hell’s Kitchen, over a mile and a half long. Might not see, far for those of us living in Colorado, but it New York City, that is prime real estate.

To read more about Robert Hammond’s and the High Lines story click here.

The New York Times is reporting that there is a new niche for designers in the interior design industry– the recently divorced man. There are basically two scenarios in most cases of divorce, the women keeps the house or both partners decide to sell the house, either way the man is left looking for a new residence.

The Times found one designer in Los Angeles who actually prefers the divorced man above all other clients. Designer Susan Manrao tells the NYT “I realized my role in this project wasn’t simply to design a space, but to help rebuild a home.”

Manrao finds a balance designing the home for the new “bachelor” and the man trying to raise his kids. One of the most common requests says Susan is the big screened television.

Photo via The New York Times

And for the divorced dad with kids, Susan tells the Times they “often want their homes done quickly, to make the transition as smooth as possible for their children, which means they are apt to agree with her design decisions.”

Photo via The New York Times

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

So Men’s Health Magazine has come up with 10 renovations that will “make you rich.” Those are their words, not ours. We must say the title caught our attention, it even made us glance at their top 10 list to see if these were viable options.

With the advice of DIY Network’s Million Dollar Contractor, Stephen Fanuka, these home improvements can help make your home the “envy of your block.”

We wanted to take you step by step through these renovations and help you determine which will get you the biggest bang for your buck. Let’s start first with Fanuka’s first five steps.

1. “Decorate Your Doors” – Fanuka recommends switching out your knobs, hinges and cabinet pulls with finished metal ones. Yes, yes, and yes. This is a very effective cosmetic change you can make to your home without dropping a lot of dough.

2. “Mold Your Environment”- The Million Dollar Contractor says that “Adding molding on doors, ceilings, walls, and windows brings a third dimension to rooms, making them look bigger and more lavish,” says Fanuka. Molding does add a certain charm to your  home, but we would recommend taking that money and buying some paint. If there is money left over, than by all means add molding.

3. “Refresh Your Tiles”- We completely  agree with Stephen. A buyer does not want to see your old, dingy grout. For less than $20 you can re-grout your tile and save yourself the embarrassment.

4. “Single Out a Wall”- Fanuka recommends painting an accent wall to make the room pop. Beware of this advice and the color you choose. It could turn into a disaster if you go for a bold color choice that offends the eyes’ of your buyers. Or if you perhaps choose the wrong wall to accent.

5. “Lighten Up”- This is one change we stand behind 100%. Lighting makes all the difference in the world. It can really transform the appearance of a room.

Stay tuned for later in the week as we explore Fanuka next 5 design changes.

Source: Men’s Health Magazine

Colorado leads the USGBC’s (United States Green Building Council) 2011 list of the top 10 states for LEED-certified commercial and institutional green buildings. The finding are based on per capita and using the 2010 U.S. Census data. The list shows that the Colorado has close to 14 million square feet of LEED-certified space, and 2.74 square feet per person.

According to the USGBC there are over 44,000 commercial projects participating in the LEED program.

“Looking past the bricks and mortar, people are at the heart of what buildings are all about,” said Rick Fedrizzi, the president, CEO, and founding chair of the USGBC, in a press release. “Examining the per capita value of LEED square footage in these states allows us to focus on what matters most—the human elements of green buildings.”

Photo via USGBC

To see the entire list or to learn more about LEED visit www.usgbc.org.

Trilogy Partners. First-ever Net-Zero Energy Home in Breckenridge, Colorado

Although the notion of an energy efficient or even solar home is not a new concept, there are many modern solutions to the age old problem of staying warm and comfortable within one’s house. Although mountain homes are located in particularly strenuous environments, they do offer many unique approaches to both luxurious comfort and energy efficiency.

The first approach is from the planning and construction. It is best to embed as much of the house as possible within the earth. Primarily it is the exposure to the cold mountainous air and high wind currents which compromises the ambient temperature of the home.

From there it is best to angle the home to maximize solar exposure and minimize exposure to the other elements. Window placement allows to both warm the house and feed the plants which will flourish in the direct sunlight, and the plants in turn stabilize the ambient temperature and humidity.

Water for the plants can be captured from rainfall and snow melt, and further more this same water base can be warmed with rooftop solar water heaters. This captured water can be used throughout the house with little or no filtration necessary depending on the use.

If you are planning on building an energy efficient and sustainable home please give Trilogy Partners a call at 970-453-2230.

A recent survey commissioned by the experts at ServiceMagic Inc. reveals that consumers are finally understanding and reaping the benefits of energy efficiency.

Over the past year, the following eco-friendly features have been installed in homes all over the country:

  • Solar installations – up 52%
  • Heating – up 34%
  • Air conditioning – up 14%
  • Window coverings – up 17%

But what’s behind the demand for these energy saving features? ServiceMagic uncovered that consumers want to:

  • Save money on energy bills – 35%
  • Protect the environment – 25%
  • Improve home comfort – 23%

Other motives behind consumers’ energy efficient investments are the tax benefits that come with certain features such as solar panels, as well as the rapid return on investment they’ll earn.

For more information about our eco-friendly building solutions in Breckinridge, CO, call Trilogy Builds at 970-453-2230.

Information from Qualified Remodeler

Image from House Floor Plans Idea

Trilogy Partners. First-ever Net-Zero Energy Home in Breckenridge, Colorado

At Trilogy Partners we understand the importance of building homes with minimal impact to our environment. We are dedicated to designing energy efficient and sustainable custom homes for Colorado and that is one of the reasons why it was so important for us to build the first ever  zero net energy home in Breckenridge.

We believe that we can achieve superior results for our clients while still building eco-conscious homes. The Professional Builder has some great steps that we wanted to share about achieving zero net energy.

1. Design with production in mind
2. Think outside the box when it comes to materials
3. Staggered stud design pays off
4. Make sure your materials are readily available
5. Little improvements add up
6. Constant communication and collaboration are required
7. Evaluate partners before you begin
8. Management buy-in is crucial
9. Don’t beat up your trade partners
10. In-field supervision is critical, especially with first-timers

For information about zero-energy homes in Breckenridge, Colorado please give us a call at 970-453-2230 or visit us online at trilogybuilds.com.


What is the real cost of oil?

As the average price of gasoline approached $4.00 per gallon in the U.S., and as energy related disasters unfolded around the world, I began to consider the true cost of energy. There is the price posted at the pump, and in our electric bill each month. And then there is the true cost of energy. What was the cost of BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the gulf? Or the reactor meltdowns at Fukushima Daiichi in Japan?  We may never know. Talk about hidden costs. Coal fired plants produce half the nations electricity. It’s estimated that these same plants cause health related costs of $100 billion per year. A 2010 report from the Clean Air Task Force, The Toll From Coal found that, in the United States, particle pollution from existing coal power plants (caused some) 13,200 premature deaths in 2010, as well as 9,700 additional hospitalizations and some 20,000 heart attacks.

And then there is the cost of war. Can anyone really argue that our wars in the middle east are not to protect energy resources this country cannot do without. It’s offically called the war on terror, but Osama Bin Laden’s stated reason for abandoning Saudi Arabia and attacking the United States was the presence of U.S. infidels and air bases in Saudi Arabia, homeland to Mecca, the birthplace of Muhammad, founder of the Muslim religion. Why are we in Saudi Arabia? Iraq? Afghanistan? What is the turmoil all about? At the core of it all is just one thing. Energy in the form of oil reserves. And our presence in that region is to promote institutional stability so that oil can continue to flow to the United States and the rest of the world. For if that supply of oil was suddenly shut off the collapse of the world economy would follow shortly. And we thought the sub prime mortgage crisis was a problem.

So what is the cost of the war on terrorism, which, in fact, is largely a war on fanatics who believe that the U.S. should have no presence in the oil rich Muslim Holy Lands. Most sources seem to agree that the cost of the war on terror for the U.S. will be between $2 and $4 trillion dollars. That amounts to approximately $20-40,000 for each U.S. citizen. The U.S. consumes around 20,000,000 barrels of oil per day. That’s about 7.3 billion barrels a year, the cost being at around $100 per barrel or $730,000,000 of oil per annum. So each year our presence in the middle east adds hundreds of billions of dollars to the cost of oil.

And then, sadly, add to the cost of war the value of the dead and wounded. Estimates of war related deaths in Iraq vary widely from about 100,000 to more than 1,000,000. More than 5000 Americans have been killed in Iraq, and more than 30,000 wounded. How can we possibly estimate these costs?

So the true cost of oil = what we pay at pump + environmental consequences including global warming + cost of wars + cost of energy related disasters + loss of life or quality of life.

I recently read an article about the decline in popularity of CFL lightbulbs, which are three times more energy efficient with lifespans 5 to 10 times that of incandescent bulbs. I wondered why that was? Yes, CFLs cost more and there are other issues. But if you do the math, they save homeowners money and they are good for the environment because they require less energy. You would think they would be flying off the shelf. I think if people realized the true cost of the energy that was being wasted, CFLs might be more popular. For it’s clear that the cost of energy is far higher than our energy bills reflect. You may think you’re putting $4 gas into your car, but the real cost is much higher. In dollars, destruction, and death. Let’s be honest. An energy model that is carbon based clearly needs to be evaluated in terms of true cost and then compared to alternatives such as wind, solar, and even nuclear. What if instead of going to war in the middle east we put $2-4 trillion into alternative energy sources that were much more reliable than what the middle east has to offer. But we chose to spend our money on war rather then invest it in the future. Eventually carbon based energy will become too costly to be viable. But in the mean time, we owe it to ourselves, our planet, and the children of the future to invest in better technologies, to conserve where and when we can, and to make conscious decisions when it comes to choosing our source of energy.


Source: http://thebuzzkuzuka.com

By Glenn Meyers – The annual savings resulting from improvements in home energy efficiency provide a compelling reason to launch their own energy-efficiency plan.

The logical next step is to conduct an energy efficiency audit for the home or buildings according to Energy Star, a government program dedicated to energy-efficiency.

Many believe the home energy audit represents the first step in making a person’s home more efficient. According to Energy Star, while an audit can assess how much energy a home uses and evaluate what measures to take for improving efficiency; an audit alone won’t save energy.

ENERGY STAR can provide extensive information about home improvement projects to enhance energy efficiency, lower utility bills, and increase comfort. For do-it-yourself enthusists, it is relatively easy to perform a simple energy audit. Many sites including WellHome provide simple energy surveys that can take only minutes to complete.

For others, it makes more sense to have a professional energy auditor perform a more thorough audit. A home energy auditor can provide specific recommendations for improving the efficiency of a home. WellHome provides energy audits across the US, and is the leading provider of energy retrofitting and energy-efficient installations.

Jocelyn Broyles at Care2, an energy-efficiency company in California, points out that other basics need to be considered:

“While I’m all for energy audits, I’m also all for starting by cutting back on our energy usage, and making our homes more efficient, which can be done without an audit: turn off lights when not in use. Replace all bulbs with CFLs or LEDs. Weatherproof your windows and doors – this one is an amazing money and energy saver.”

Independent Energy Consultants (IEC) who is a partner in the U.S. Energy Star Program employs a number of practical means to lower energy costs in commercial and industrial facilities. IEC begins with low or no-cost initiatives to determine the best and worst performing facilities for companies and corporations.

For inefficient facilities, IEC will then progress through a series of logical steps to identify cost saving measures that provide rapid paybacks. As home owners and companies walk the pathway to energy efficiency, keep these key word in mind. Savings or paybacks, they add up to a very good end.

Source: Energy Star, Care2, Independent Energy Consultants

Source : Greenbuildingelements.com

Photo Source: The Buzz Kukuka

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