Thursday, June 13, 2013
With the summer temperatures rising, so does the need for more energy for your home. Make sure your home is running at the highest efficiency possible by following these simple tips. They can help lower your energy bills and leave you cool and comfortable all summer long!
1. Keep the blinds closed during the day. By keeping your blinds closed during the hottest part of the day, you’ll block heat from seeping into your home. For added insulation from the heat, use heavy drapes or curtains to block out the sun’s rays.
2. Adjust your thermostat to run at least two degrees warmer than you normally would. Consider using a programmable thermostat so that your air conditioner isn’t working hard to cool your home while no one is there to enjoy it. According to Kentucky Utilities, a programmable thermostat can save up to 12% on your home energy costs. Avoid placing lamps or TV sets near your room air-conditioning thermostat. The thermostat senses heat from these appliances, which can cause the air conditioner to run longer than necessary.
3. Use ceiling fans to cool your home. Even when your air conditioner is running, turn your ceiling fans on so you can spread the cooled air more effectively throughout your home without having to adjust the thermostat. According to energy.gov, if you use air conditioning, a ceiling fan will allow you to raise the thermostat setting about 4°F with no reduction in comfort level.
4. Consider planting shade trees or shrubs in areas of your yard that receive full sun during the day. Not only will you save on energy costs, but you’ll give your home more curb appeal! An air conditioning unit that operates in the shade uses less energy than one operating in the sun, however when planting, make sure to keep limbs far enough away from the unit so that they don’t block airflow.
5. On really warm days, avoid using your oven. Stick to using a crockpot, the microwave, or grilling out. Heating your oven up daily adds more heat to your interiors and therefore requires your air conditioning cooling system to work harder and longer. If you need to do laundry, wait until the sun has gone down so that you aren’t heating your home more than necessary.
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Smart Buyers can save money in energy and maintenance costs by choosing newly constructed homes, even over homes that are just a few years old.
Today’s new can peform as much as 50% better than the average existing home, which means lower monthly utility bills. Energy Smart Ball Homes are better insulated, more tightly constructed, and more efficiently heated and cooled than older homes.
New Ball Homes include warranties that protect the buyer from unexpected maintenance bills. Existing homes can come with hidden costs, like a roof or furnace replacement in the first few years of ownership, or a major appliance replacement.
These days, good design is value-conscious. New Ball Homes offer better use of space, with more finished area over the garage, less empty second story space, and better overall value than designs from just a few years ago.
Buyers who choose a newly constructed Ball home get the advantage of the most popular floorplans and options on the market today, and a professionally selected décor. Buyers of existing homes get the colors and products chosen to suit the taste of the previous owners.
Newly constructed Ball Homes have a brand new, never-been-lived in kind of clean and freshness (especially in the tubs, showers, appliances, and carpet) that a home that has been lived for years can’t match.
Colors and design trends come and go, and newly constructed Ball Homes offer the benefits of today’s preferences in colors, textures, and design. Older homes often have dated color schemes, designs that have gone out of style, or a mismatch of styles from being updated over time.
The luxury options available in all price ranges of new homes far exceed what was being built even ten years ago, especially when it comes to kitchens and master baths.
Extra storage, flexible use rooms, and downstairs guest suite options are all on the list of preferred features these days. Kitchen islands and breakfast counters are popular, as are built-ins like bookcases, desks, and TV connections above fireplaces. Outdoor living spaces like covered porches and patios are in high demand. New Ball Homes have the advantage of these preferred features, which most older homes just can’t offer.
Buyers of new Ball Homes have the advantage of being able to move into a home that is just the way they want it. By contrast, buyers of existing homes often face a long process of updating an older home while trying to live in it, which can be time-consuming, inconvenient, and full of unknown expenses.
* Based on comparison of an actual 2586sf home built to 2012 Energy Smart standards with a HERS score of 83 and estimated annual energy costs of $1477. Compared to a simulated 2586sf home built to typical 2000 standards with a HERS score of 138, with an estimated annual energy cost of $2185. Annual savings of $708 over 5 years total $3,540. **Material and labor estimate for shingled roof replacement on a 2500sf home as estimated by area building professional. ***Based on estimate by area HVAC professional for a 2500sf home with two units, using existing ductwork and efficiency standards comparable to new homes.
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
At Ball Homes, we are committed to increasing the energy performance of each of the homes we build. That is why we are one of the first builders in the nation to adopt the RESNET Energy Smart program. As a member of the program, each of our homes is individually inspected by a member of a national network of independent energy raters and given a score based on its energy efficiency. For more information on the program, read this previous blog post.
It is important for us to give our customers a quality, energy efficient home that is more affordable to maintain, more comfortable, and have a higher value than other homes. A more energy efficient home allows homeowners to have a lower cost of ownership and could allow them to get a higher resale price when it comes time to sell.
In order to pass important information onto our customers, we have to make sure our Ball Homes Specialists have up-to-date information on the construction processes of our homes. On Monday morning, Lexington Ball Homes Specialists met with Alex Carter, an independent Energy Rater, to go through one of our new construction homes and educate them on what a rater looks for in a home. Agents were able to ask questions and physically see what Ball Homes is doing to be a leader in the Energy Smart program. Alex was able to give great information to our Sales Team that we can pass on to our customers. For more information on the Energy Smart Program, contact a Ball Homes Specialist today!
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Monday, September 24, 2012
A cold front has moved into the area, just in time for the beginning of Fall. We’re just two days into the new season and already we’re starting to see the leaves fall and the temperatures drop. Kick off this new season by taking the time now to prepare your home for the cooler temperatures ahead. Taking the time to complete these tasks now will ensure that you and your home will have an easy transition into the coming months.
1. Inspect the roof, gutters and drainpipes. You may want to hold off until later in the fall (when most leaves have dropped) before cleaning the gutters, but doing a visual inspection now is a good idea. If any branches and leaves fell during summer storms, remove them so they don't cause blockages during autumn rains. Inspecting your roof now will leave ample time to have repairs or a replacement made before winter.
2. Have your chimney cleaned before you light the first fire. Check your fireplace for residual soot, blockage, or creosote. Schedule to have a professional come out and clean your fireplace before you strike up a match. If you have a wood-burning fireplace, move your firewood to a covered area for easy access. Make sure you inspect for insects before moving the wood, otherwise you’ll run the risk of bringing them into your home.
3. Tidy up the porch. Falling leaves means lots of yard debris to pick up. Sweep away any dead leaves or branches to create a warm and inviting area to welcome your guests to your home. Add some brightly colored flowers, like mums, to planters by the front stoop, or hang a seasonal wreath on your door.
4. Prepare your doorways with rugs and mud trays for dirty shoes. When the wet weather strikes, make sure your flooring is protected by large rugs and boot trays by entrances. Add a basket or small bins for papers and cold-weather accessories to help keep entrances organized and clutter-free.
5. Clean, repair, and put away all lawn furniture and equipment. Close down and drain all lawn fountains, sprinklers and hoses before the freezing weather hits. Clean and put away all lawn care tools. After the last use of the year, prep your lawn mower for the winter.
Do you have any other tips to prepare your house for colder weather?
Friday, August 24, 2012
Ball Homes is proud to be among a handful of Lexington builders to participate in a brand new Energy Smart rating system by RESNET, a leading national network of independent energy raters that promotes energy efficiency. As a participant in this program, each and every Ball home will be inspected and tested to ensure that it meets the criteria of having the title of an Energy Smart home.
After each home has been tested, RESNET will give it an individual rating certificate that shows the home's HERS rating index. This index is the industry's standard by which a home's energy efficiency is rated and its energy performance is calculated. Each home's HERS score will help buyers project energy costs and compare with other homes in the area. It also estimates the annual energy savings compared to the average existing home. The lower the score, the more energy efficient the home.
The current industry standard for home efficiency on the HERS index is a score of 100. Ball Homes is committed to going above and beyond that standard. Our new homes have consistently averaged a score between 75-85 for each home. That is a 15%-24% difference! Compared to the average existing home with a HERS index of 130, the same Energy Smart home will save 45% to 54% in energy costs, which amounts to hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year!
Better scores are achieved by thorough sealing and insulating to reduce holes and cracks in the home's "envelope," improved blocking to restrict the flow of unheated or uncooled air, and better insulation practices. Since the energy rater is involved throughout the construction process, the home can be tested and checked as it is being built, and best practices are assured.
Each Energy Smart home is individually inspected and tested by a certified home energy rater using a thermal bypass inspection checklist for such features as tightness of construction and ducts, high efficiency heating and cooling equipment, and effective insulation and blocking. Homes also undergo a final blower door test to evaluate and improve air leakage into the home, and a duct blaster test to locate and seal any leakage in the HVAC system.
Energy Smart homes mean lower utility bills, more comfortable homes with more consistent temperatures between and across rooms, and improved indoor air quality. More efficient energy use also means environmental benefits for everyone, including reduced air pollution generated by the production of energy at power plants.
Ball Homes’ commitment to this program not only shows our stance on energy efficiency and conservation, but also our focus on building quality homes!