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FAQS

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WHAT ARE WE?

We are a company predicated on changing existing and antiquated building practices.  We have considered all the currently available building technologies and have brought a better combination of newer and far better products to the market.  As important as these better products are, we look at each home as inter-related sub-systems that combine into a living, breathing home that provides, not only efficiency far beyond todays traditionally built homes, but a safer and healthier living space with exceptional air quality.

WHAT DO WE DO?

We start with the building envelope and use either SIPS (Structurally Insulate Panels {NOARK LINK HERE}) or ICF (Insulated Concrete Form), depending on the specific application, and then build a conditioned/semi-conditioned space that extends to the limits of the building envelope.  This means that your attic is a sealed attic (not externally ventilated).  We then integrate the rest of the sub-systems in the house (HVAC, water distribution, windows, etc.) based on the extraordinary performance of the wall system.  Done correctly, this yields a home that is safer, quieter, far more efficient, easier to maintain, and more comfortable in which to live.  Essentially, we are trying to bring home construction into the 21st century.

WHERE DID WE COME FROM?

We were born from the desire to build a better home.  Our founder started doing research in 2007 and 2008, leading him to a relationship with Texas A&M University and the construction of the Texas A&M Residential Research Study Home.  The goal was to use known and available construction technologies and products and simply build a better home.  After a year of product, technology, and approach research we arrived at an integrated coordinated 'building system' that preforms exceptionally and was within a reasonable additional cost of construction.  The reward for the moderately high up-front cost is the fact that the total cost of living (electricity, gas, insurance, upkeep and mortgage) of such a house is actually less than homes built to current building standards.  Now with a team of highly dedicated and skilled people, we wish to continue to pursue that desire by brining forth the idea that green residential homes shouldn’t be an option, it should be a standard.

WHY DO WE EXIST?

We exist because, while there are lots of builder that build an aesthetically beautiful home, there are precious few who focus on what is behind the sheetrock.  And what is behind the sheetrock matters tremendously.  Those system and products are exactly what determines so much of what happen in the living space and the day to day costs of living in the home.  And, while building codes have forced builder to better homes, we are the only company who has made the home's performance a top priority and spend the additional money and expertise to build an extraordinary home—on both sides of the sheetrock.

HOW ARE WE DIFFERENT FROM TRADITIONAL BRICKS AND STICKS CONSTRUCTION AND WHAT IS A SEALED ATTIC?

Traditional builders know what they know.  They build versions of the same construction design that has been around since before air conditioning: an insulated, air conditioned, wood-framed living space under a ventilated attic.  Usually fiberglass batt insulation (sometimes foam) and all your critical sub-systems (hot water, HVAC air handlers and ducting, electrical, plumbing) all are put and struggle to function in an attic that is as hot as 140 degrees in the summer and cold in the winter.  Such an attic is open to humidity, bugs, mold, rodents, and whatever else can crawl or chew its way into the space.  We, on the other hand, build a house that functions on every level and one in which you will be as pleased to discuss what makes the house function as you are to talk about the finishes.
We seal our attics.  The insulation is the roof deck, meaning that the attics in our homes are semi-conditioned (not direct AC venting) which are typically 2-4 degrees warmer or colder than the living space, and have very similar humidity.  Imagine how much less stress all the systems in your attic suffer if they aren't exposed to the excessive heat, cold and humidity that happens in a ventilated attic.  And the available storage in such an environment is an important but rarely considered benefit. And that is just the attic.  The advantages of SIPS or ICF construction over traditional framing and insulation are tremendous: less external air infiltration, better insulation, better air quality, dramatically lower electric bills, quiet indoor space, less susceptible to natural disasters, and so much more.  
We build a house that functions on every level and one in which you will be as pleased to discuss what makes the house function as you are to talk about the meticulous finishes.

WHY DOES BUILDING TECHNOLOGY MATTER?

Building technology has advanced tremendously in the last 50 years.  Unfortunately, the use of the antiquated, but highly profitable, home construction techniques has not appreciably changed.  What we do is not new, nor is it unproven.  It is more expensive to do and requires a coordinated system-approach.  The home is more than a sum of its parts, it is an interdependent, integrated system that, if done correctly, provides extraordinary performance and quality and will save you thousands in the long run and marks progress toward a more sustainable world.  That's what we do.

WHAT ARE SIPS PANELS?

SIPS panels are Structurally Insulated Panels which are made in a variety of iterations by a number of companies.  Essentially it is foam insulation formed into panels and structurally reinforced with, in our case, OSB in the inside and outside of the wall system.  It is engineered and assembled to prevent as much air infiltration as possible, provides extraordinary insulation and sound reduction, and facilitates exceptional air quality.  SIPS are a more logical alternative to more antiquated methods of framing and insulation.
We looked at several manufactures and chose NOARK.  They have extraordinary production facilities and their products have undergone extensive study and testing.

WHAT IS A ZERO ENERGY READY HOME

A Zero Energy Ready Home is the home of the future. This is a US Department of Energy program that certifies and denotes homes that are built to perform at another entire level with regard to energy efficiency and air quality.  Not only the function of the home but the programs pays careful attention to the health aspects of the home, through Indoor Air PLUS, and the Zero Energy Ready Home certification.  This certification requires, but also leaves no doubt about, a significantly higher performance and quality of construction products and modalities.  They require substantial design and construction inspection and documentation in order to receive certification.  But for the effort, our homes denote a sea-change in home building.  Not everyone will appreciate or understand the difference, but those who do will live in a house that will be dramatically more efficient, healthier, safer, and more comfortable.  

WHAT DOES IT COST?

While there is no doubt that our homes are more expensive to build, which should be obvious, and will garner a modestly higher sales price, the 'cost to live' in our homes has proven to be less than conventionally built homes.   'Cost to live' includes not only mortgage, but electricity, gas, insurance, on the month to month basis.  The slight increase in the monthly mortgage cost is more than offset by significant reductions in electrical, gas bills, and insurance discounts.  
I learned a long time ago this lesson:  Buy good tools.  They last longer, do the job better and, in the end, save you time aggravation and money. Buy a better home, it’ll last longer, do its job better, and in the end will leave you happier, richer and healthier.

DO WE USE SOLAR PANELS?

Yes. On the 4023 Lanark Ln. duplex, there will be solar panels on each unit that, according to the experts, should provide more energy than a typical family of 4 will consume on an annual basis. This dovetails with the SIPS wall systems, Energy Star Appliances,  and LED lighting to qualify these homes for the many accolades and certifications they have received.

SO WHAT ABOUT AIR QUALITY?

A healthy home and a beautiful home are not always the same thing.  Air quality starts in the planning and product choice stages and carries through the design and construction stages.  The choice of pain, walls, HVAC, the sealed attic, etc. all play into the levels of humidity and VOCs in the home.  We plan for this from before we design the home and focus on it until we turn over the key to the front door.  We have been awarded the Indoor Air PLUS certification, assuring the homeowner of the results of our efforts.

HAVE MORE QUESTIONS?

Get in touch with us to get started on your energy efficient custom home today!

4023 Lanark Ln.
Houston, TX 77025

832-265-7353

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