Homebuyers are quickly realizing that there’s a new symbol of excellence in energy-efficient homebuilding: the Zero Energy Ready Home (ZERH) certification from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Currently only select builders meet the levels of excellence and quality required for ZERH certification – but their numbers are growing as homebuyers learn more about the program.
The gold standard in green homebuilding used to be the ENERGY STAR® Certified Homes designation. But ZERH certification goes far beyond ENERGY STAR in every category, including comfort, quality, durability and energy efficiency. A ZERH home is typically 40 to 50 percent more energy-efficient than a typical new home – even without solar or other on-site renewable power. Could this be the future of home construction?
“A lot of builders don’t feel the need to change, but they soon will,” says Scott Sanders, CEO of BrightLeaf Homes, a ZERH-certified custom homebuilder in the Chicago area. “Homebuyers definitely understand the benefits associated with lower total costs of ownership. A ZERH home might cost $5,000 more, but it could save you $100 per month forever in energy bills. It’s easy to do the math.”
BrightLeaf’s homes feature photovoltaic solar panels, passive solar design, R5 windows, attics insulated with blown cellulose and much more. “We target move-up buyers who understand the long-term benefits of exceptional energy savings,” says Sanders.
California’s Title 24 code, which requires all new homes in the state to be zero-net energy by next year, has helped raise awareness about technologies like PV solar panels and radiant barrier sheathing. The ZERH program now takes that momentum nationwide, putting homebuyers directly in touch with local builders who meet DOE’s highest standards.
“Having this third-party certification really helps our marketing efforts,” says Sanders. “The buyer knows that we’re committed to multiple goals like achieving healthy home environments, minimizing construction waste, and reducing energy consumption.”
Likewise, SALA Architects in Minnesota aimed to renovate a 1907 Victorian home to bring it to net-zero energy standards while preserving its look and charm. To renovate the home with zero net energy consumption, the team would need to rip off the existing siding in order to replace the insulation with a more efficient system of materials resulting in a tighter, more insulated home.
The resulting re-side would need to be both durable for harsh Minnesota winters and also match the look of the home’s original siding. During the deliberation, they compared engineered wood siding vs. fiber cement siding. SALA Architects ultimately chose LP® SmartSide® Smooth Texture Lap Siding to preserve the home’s historic aesthetic, while assuring the durability needed to resist hail and extreme weather conditions.
You know Gorilla Glue® is strong—you likely have a few bottles in your toolbox. What makes Gorilla Glue so famous is among the same reasons why LP uses resins based on this tough technology in its LP Legacy® Premium Sub-Flooring. Let’s dive into the reasons why Gorilla Glue Technology® is so strong.Continue Reading
As a builder, you are often looking for ways to make the most of your time on the jobsite while still delivering excellent workmanship—and durable wood siding details such as outside corners often require added attention to detail. To help improve jobsite efficiency LP Building Solutions offers LP® SmartSide® Outside Corners, siding accessories that come pre-assembled for added ease and a great look.
For years, plywood materials such as T1-11 shed siding have been a top choice for outdoor structures. They can be used for everything from shed flooring and walls to furniture, which makes them a convenient option—but they’re not the only option. Despite plywood being top-of-mind for many, engineered wood products can help boast a greater value when it comes to outdoor structures.
A multigenerational workforce is not a new concept, but as a new community of tech-savvy builders enters the industry the gap between generations may seem wider than ever. Though there are some natural challenges that come with it, a multigenerational workforce also provides a more curious and diverse environment for all skill levels and ages.