Construction Corner | Benefits of Polar Blanket Insulation

Fiberglass Blown-in Insulation Systems, also known as the Polar Blanket, is one of the latest green building techniques used by Renaissance Homes. This system improves a home’s efficiency by filling the wall cavity completely, including the areas around pipes, cables and outlets. Polar Blanket gets into all the voids where traditional insulation can’t protect, creating a “blanket” of insulation and making a more energy efficient home. The Polar Blanket decreases air going through the wall cavity as it is applied as a dense pack application. The R-Value of polar Blanket is 23 and significantly helps reduce monthly utility costs by reducing air infiltration through the cavity walls. Renaissance Homes believes the Polar Blanket is one of the most important factors in energy efficiency and has allowed us to reduce monthly utility bills for gas and electric to $70 – $125 a month (without solar), depending upon size of the house. You can read more about Energy Performance Scores here and at our construction blog. Find out more about the benefits of Polar Blanket insulation by visiting us at one of our neighborhoods for a demonstration. Renaissance Homes is an award winning Street of Dreams custom home builder specializing in green building, remodeling and renovations for the Portland market. Visit our Design Studio to personalize your next home....

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EPS offers a clear view of home energy performance

In the market for a home that saves? Say hello to EPSTM. Brought to you by Energy Trust of Oregon, EPS is an energy performance score that helps smart homebuyers find equally smart homes – the kind that offer superior efficiency, comfort and savings. EPS lets you look behind the walls to see the true energy impact of a home. It reveals the estimated monthly and annual energy costs, the environmental impact, and it highlights specific energy-efficient features. EPS allows you to see the benefits of these homes more clearly, and even offers a side-by-side comparison of how each home’s energy score stacks up against similar-sized homes in Oregon. To receive an EPS, a home must be built to meet specific efficiency requirements. Keep in mind, with EPS the lower the score the better. Builders incorporate a range of energy-efficient solutions to qualify their homes for a score. Common features include improved insulation, tighter construction, efficient heating and cooling and, in some instances, solar energy systems. As the market for energy-efficient homes steadily increases, it’s important to be able to quantify their energy performance. EPS provides this ability, which makes it an incredibly valuable tool both for builders and buyers. How can you find an EPS home? It’s becoming easier and easier. In 2012, more than 1300 newly built homes received an energy score in Oregon. Talk to your real estate agent or builder about EPS, and be sure to look for EPS on home tours in your area. For more information about EPS, visit www.energytrust.org/eps or call 1.866.368.7878. Author: Energy Trust of Oregon Renaissance Homes is an award winning Street of Dreams custom home builder specializing in green building, remodeling and renovations for the Portland market. Visit our Design Studio to personalize your next...

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Improve the energy efficiency of your air conditioner

Be ready for the summer months and improve the energy efficiency of your air conditioner at the same time. To get the most out of your air conditioner during the peak summer months, Dave Teller, Renaissance Homes’ Quality Assurance Field Specialist, recommends that homeowners run air conditioning units  now for a few minutes to make sure it is working normally. If you find a problem now, it’ll be easier to get it fixed promptly rather than during  the peak of summer, when HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) contractors tend to be busier. •          Have a licensed HVAC contractor perform seasonal maintenance checkups for summer; they will make sure to also check the hose for algae or sediment buildup which causes your unit to become clogged and work less efficiently. •          To ensure that your compressor is working efficiently, make sure to clear all vegetation that could block it from getting adequate airflow. The sides of the unit require at least 12 to 18 inches of clearance for proper performance. •          To assure proper air flow in your home, ensure that the air supply registers are not blocked by rugs, draperies and furniture. •          Winter weather can be harsh and can crack and harden weather seals and caulking. By checking seals around windows and doors now, you’ll not only reduce your air conditioning bill, but could also catch the areas needing to be addressed to prevent water from entering your home and potentially causing destructive water damage. By practicing the tips mentioned above, you’ll better maintain your HVAC system and ensure that it will run — and work —  more efficiently. In the end, you will save money and have reduced energy bills, because it doesn’t have to work as hard to get the job done right. Renaissance Homes is an award...

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Construction Corner: Blower Door Testing

Air flowing in and out of a home can cause lots of problems. Air leakage can account for 30 to 50 percent of the heat loss in some homes. This is one reason why Renaissance Homes conducts a blower door test through a professional energy auditor upon completion of every home. It helps to determine the home’s tightness, reduce energy consumption due to air leakage, avoid mosture condensation problems, avoid uncomfortable drafts caused by cold air drifting in from the outdoors and make sure that the home’s air quality isn’t too contaminated by air pollution. How does it work? A blower door is a powerful fan that mounts into the frame of an exterior door. The fan pulls air out of the house, lowering the air pressure inside. The higher outside air pressure then flows in through all unsealed cracks and openings. The auditors may use a smoke pencil to detect air leaks. These tests determine the air infiltration rate of a building. Blower doors consist of a frame and flexible panel that fit in a doorway, a variable-speed fan, a pressure gauge to measure the pressure differences inside and outside the home, and an airflow manometer and hoses for measuring airflow. What is an Energy Performance Score? This blower door test is just one component of the cumulative test results that make up an EPS, Energy Performance Score, from the Energy Trust of Oregon. This performance score measures and rates the energy consumption and carbon emissions of a home. The lower the score, the better. A low EPS score identifies a home as energy efficient with a smaller carbon footprint and lower monthly energy costs. An EPS can range from zero to 200 — zero being the most energy efficient, 200 being the least. It’s an easy way to...

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Oregon snares #6 spot among nation’s LEED-savvy states

Oregon’s green-building prowess continues to pack a mighty punch. So says the U.S. Green Building Council, which reported Tuesday that the state ranks sixth in terms of per-capita Leadership in Environment and Energy Design projects. The list recognizes states with myriad projects that use less energy and water and emit less carbon than other types of building endeavors. “In the face of the extraordinary global challenge of climate change, our national imperative to create resource-efficient and cost-effective green buildings has never been greater,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair of the Council, in a release. “Oregon has a strong base of dedicated individuals who are using LEED to transform its built infrastructure into high-performing spaces that promote the health of our planet and the people who use these buildings each and every day.” The list is based on 2010 U.S. Census data and includes commercial and institutional green building projects that were certified throughout 2013. All told, Oregon hosts 47 projects that comprise nearly 7 million square feet of real estate. That equates to 1.83 of LEED-certified square-footage per resident. The LEED system isn’t the only green-building measurement system. The Portland-based Green Building Initiative’s Green Globes certification program received a General Services Administration endorsement last fall. Oregon’s notable LEED projects include the Wendell Wyatt Federal Building in Portland, the Raven & Rose restaurant in Portland and the Stafford Hills tennis and fitness facility. Oregon counts more than 2,800 LEED credentialed professionals throughout the state. Illinois ranks first, with 2.28 square feet of LEED-certified properties per resident. By Andy Giegerich | Sustainable Business Oregon editor | Read the post at Energy Trust of Oregon Renaissance Homes is an award winning Street of Dreams custom home builder specializing in green building for the Portland market. Visit our Design Studio to personalize your next...

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Save on Energy Costs This Winter

Whether you’re hoping to ease your impact on the planet or just want to save a few dollars, reducing your energy use can help you get there. In fact, 10 percent of renters in a recent Rent.com survey said that utilities are their biggest monthly expense, coming in third after monthly rent and groceries. Heating and cooling can be among the more expensive components of your utility bill. Luckily, making some easy adjustments in your home can dramatically reduce how much you spend on energy. Here are several tips to reduce energy consumption and maintain comfortable temperatures in your home this winter: 1. Use the sun for free heat. That bright orb in the sky should be the focus of temperature control in your residence throughout the year. Open the curtains on your south-facing windows during winter days to bring free heat into your home. Close your window coverings when the sun goes down to keep the heat inside. 2. Bundle up with warm accessories. This is one of the easiest ways to save on your heating bill. Instead of turning the heat up, put on a cozy winter sweater and warm socks. Keep throw blankets on your couch, and add an area rug to insulate the floor. 3. Use ceiling fans to your advantage. Homes that have better ventilation and airflow can be more energy efficient in the summer and winter months. Ceiling fans can be used strategically to achieve better airflow: counter-clockwise will push hot air up in the summer and clockwise will trap heat inside to keep your rooms warmer during cooler months. Turn your ceiling fan on a low setting to gently push hot air back down. 4. Adjust the thermostat at night. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can save about 10 percent per year on your heating bills...

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How the Housing Recovery Is Juicing Job Numbers

Home building was responsible for 20 percent of GDP growth in the last six quarters. An important reason why the economy has not recovered from the Great Recession as quickly as in prior economic downturns is that a traditional leader of economic growth – housing – has been stifled. In recent months however, housing has returned to contributing to economic growth, with home building alone responsible for 20 percent of GDP growth in the last six quarters. And when it comes to job growth and housing, it is often the change in payroll employment for home builders and residential contractors that attracts the most attention. As of April 2013, total home building employment (builders and contractors) stood at about 2.1 million according to the Labor Department, growing off of cycle lows. And just over the last year such employment is up almost 100,000 jobs. While building employment is substantial, there is a significant amount of other housing-related employment, whether connected to building, furnishing a house, or other housing needs. For example, there are firms – recognized as “associate members” in local home builder associations – who enable builders to build, providing a bevy of products and services, including lumber sales, windows, appliances or financial services. These firms tend to be small businesses spread out across the country. Take Select Signs located in Dayton, Ohio, which has a staff of seven full-time employees and provides products to residential and commercial builders and developers. The firm notes that, “When builders build, we see expansion in our own business. And this growth then spreads from us to our suppliers.” And of course, these beneficial economic impacts are not limited to building. As the chart above indicates, accounting for housing related retail sales, finance, leasing, property management, service provision and even furniture and...

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Acclaimed green building consultant gives Renaissance two thumbs up

Mark LaLiberte refers to Renaissance Homes as “one of the finest builders in the country.” LaLiberte, a highly regarded green building consultant, met with Renaissance’s director of production, Clark Dunning, and marketing coordinator, Nicole DeCosta, May 17 to swap building stories, share trends and learn what Renaissance is up to with its projects in Portland, Lake Oswego, Sherwood and West Linn. LaLiberte is the president of Building Knowledge Inc. and helps builders nationwide understand and apply proper building science construction principals to improve their homes. A friend of Renaissance Homes’ staff for more than a decade, LaLiberte’s visit and tour of several Renaissance homes under construction was beneficial and refreshing. “You’re leading the way,” he said while inspecting a home under construction in Multnomah Village. “You always have. That must feel good.” The team focused their conversations around air quality, insulation strategies, home maintenance and ventilation systems. “If you’re thinking about building a house, these guys have got it going. They’ll build you a high-performance house that is healthy, safe, durable and affordable to operate. It couldn’t get any better than that.” Renaissance Homes is an award winning Street of Dreams custom home builder specializing in green building, remodeling and renovations for the Portland market. Visit our Design Studio to personalize your next home....

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Construction Corner | Accessory Dwelling Units

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are self-contained, compact homes built on the same lot as a single-family home.  They can be garage conversions, basement living spaces or new detached units.  Sometimes called “in-law apartments”, “granny flats”, or “backyard cottages”, these small-footprint infill projects support sustainable, walkable, accessible neighborhoods. ADUs include a separate kitchen, sleeping area and bathroom facilities. An Accessory Dwelling Unit isn’t a new concept, but has been enthusiastically embraced the last few years in many cities, Portland being among the front runners. ADUs are infill development; they promise to increase density without changing neighborhood character. In the 1940s and ‘50s many American families rented out an extra apartment over their garages or in the basement of their homes as a way to earn some extra income to help with the mortgage payment or with other household expenses. In fact, backyard cottages, garage and basement apartments were a common feature in many communities across the country. This ideal was personified in the 1970s TV series Happy Days in which Fonzie lived above the Cunningham’s garage. Accessory Dwelling Units Benefits ADUs provide a number of benefits to communities, homeowners and renters. Most of the attention given to ADUs revolves around their potential for increasing the supply of affordable housing opportunities, ADUs help to address other social issues, particularly those relating to housing options for the growing elderly population. Produce Income – simple designs keep construction costs low so that rental income can exceed the debt and generate revenue from your rented ADU. Supplemental income offsets the high cost of a home mortgage, utilities, maintenance and real estate taxes. Multi-Generational Living- ADUs offer independent living spaces to meet family needs, but close to the nuclear family. Elderly family members can avoid both the emotional and financial costs of having to move...

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Construction Corner | LEED vs Energy Star

A growing number of people have heard of the Energy Star and LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) programs. Energy Star and LEED are helping to change the way we design, build, and operate better buildings. With energy costs likely to continue rising in the future, these programs will be talked about even more often. So what is the difference between LEED and Energy Star? LEED© LEED operates through the U.S. Green Building Council, USGBC, and takes a broad “triple bottom line” approach considering people, planet and profit, not just energy use. The triple bottom line factors in the economic, environmental and social issues present throughout the entire building process from concept, design, development and future operation. LEED is an internationally recognized program. LEED was created as a way to define high performance green buildings, set quantifiable targets and goals, recognize leaders, promote improvement over time, stimulate green competition and raise consumer awareness. LEED is a highly quantified and systematic approach to buildings of all types. Because it has accomplished so much and been so broadly accepted, LEED is becoming the standard by which many green buildings are measured. LEED quantifies a building’s performance in the following major categories: Sustainable building sites Water efficiency Energy and atmosphere Materials and resources Indoor environmental quality Innovation in design and operations LEED and Energy Star are complimentary to each other. Buildings may be both LEED certified and Energy Star rated. ENERGY STAR© Energy Star is a government program administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Its initiative is to reduce green house gas emissions through energy efficiency. The program focuses solely on energy use and  voluntary product labeling. Energy Star is designed to measure a building’s performance, create energy use goals, help monitor performance...

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EPA Study Reveals Shift in Housing Developments Across the U.S.

More communities embrace redevelopment WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a new report examining residential construction trends in America’s metropolitan regions, which finds that nearly three out of four large metropolitan regions saw an increased share of new housing development in previously developed areas during 2005 – 2009 compared to 2000 – 2004. Known as infill housing, this type of development provides economic and public health benefits to metropolitan areas while protecting the local environment. Infill housing saves money and energy by taking advantage of previous investments in existing infrastructure (such as water, sewer, and roads). This type of development can also help preserve open space, protect natural resources, and reduce transportation emissions and the amount of polluted stormwater washing off new roadways and other paved surfaces. Infill housing has also been shown to help raise property values, increase a community’s tax base, and attract retail businesses to serve the larger residential population. This report examines data on the location of new home development in metropolitan regions, as well as data on pre-existing land cover.  The report also includes a listing of resources available to local, regional, and state leaders who wish to coordinate land use, housing, and transportation policies. The findings of the report demonstrate that infill has become a significant portion of the U.S. housing market.  Among all 209 metropolitan regions examined, 21 percent of new homes were infill, while the remaining share was built on undeveloped land outside existing communities.  Seventy-one percent of large metropolitan regions saw an increased share of infill housing development.  Among 51 large metropolitan regions examined in this study, 36 saw an increased share of infill housing development during 2005-2009 compared to 2000-2004. For example, eight out of ten new homes in San Jose, Calif. were infill. New York,...

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8 Green Building Myths – BUSTED!

Green building — or sustainable building — involves incorporating eco-friendly elements into the design and maintenance of a home and minimizing the impact on the environment when building houses, condos and the like. More homeowners and builders are interested in green building and want to choose energy efficient features for their homes, so it’s important to know what is fact and what is myth. Peter Yost of Building Green LLC in association with GreenBuildingAdvisor.com addresses eight common green building myths. Myth #1: Green homes cost more than other homes. Sustainable building often requires more expensive building materials, smarter technology and complicated systems than conventional building. But when thinking long-term, green building actually saves money because the materials won’t have to be replaced as often. So while initial costs may seem like a lot, green building offers better value when you consider the life-cycle costs. For instance, upgrading to energy efficient windows might cost more up front, but the reduced load on your heating and air conditioning system will help offset that cost over time. Myth #2: Green homes look weird. In the early days of green building, builders focused on features that touted self-sufficiency and lower costs, which often detracted from a home’s design or architecture. These days, green homes don’t have to look strange unless you want them to. Virtually any home, regardless of home style, can have sustainable features. Myth #3: You can’t make an existing home green. Altering your home’s structure and operating systems — foundation, framing, wiring, plumbing — can be very expensive. But ‘greening’ an existing home doesn’t have to be a complete overhaul. Upgrading windows and HVAC equipment, putting more insulation into the walls or attic, sealing air leaks, and installing energy-recovery ventilation equipment are all examples of upgrades that will make a...

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LEED rating system for green building grows into global phenomenon

Twelve years ago, the U.S. Green Building Council launched a rating system called LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, hoping that architects, engineers, designers and real estate firms would improve energy efficiency and increase the use of recycled materials and nontoxic paint in their projects to win LEED-certified recognition. Now LEED has grown into a powerful brand and global phenomenon. There are 14,044 LEED-certified commercial projects, covering more than 2 billion square feet, in 140 countries. Another 34,601 projects are in the pipeline. “Green building is not a curiosity anymore — it’s a huge market,” said Aditya Ranade, a senior analyst with Lux Research inBoston. “The green building sector will be a $280 billion global industry by the end of the decade. LEED is dominant around the world, but there are other standards. The Green Building Council offers four levels of LEED certificates. They range from certified, in which 50% of the requirements are met, to platinum, in which at least 80% are met. Facebook’s data center inPrineville, Ore., for example, achieved LEED gold status. But as LEED has grown and green building technology evolves, so has the need to update the rating system. The Green Building Council, a nonprofit with 14,000 member companies, on Tuesday will release proposed changes known as LEED v4 that member companies can comment on. The draft changes, include increased technical rigor for energy performance and new categories that focus on integrated design, life cycle analysis of materials used and issues like indoor air quality. “In order for LEED to be relevant, it has to evolve,” said council spokeswoman Ashley Katz. “In 2000, people didn’t know what low VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint was. Now it’s what everyone uses.” The original idea behind LEED was to make buildings more energy efficient and reduce...

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October | National Energy Awareness Month

October’s National Energy Awareness Month is designed to promote smart energy choices. We all can do small things to save energy around our homes and work places. No matter how large the problem may appear, we all have the means to shape our energy future and move our nation toward energy independence. The following energy saving tips are from NW Natural Gas. Easy ways to save energy and money throughout your home. Taking a whole house approach to saving energy helps save you money and keeps your home at its peak comfort level. Many no cost and low cost energy saving improvements can reduce your home’s energy consumption and ease the strain on your budget during the cold weather months. Five easy changes Install a programmable thermostat and set it for 65-68 degrees during the day and 58-60 degrees at night. Change your furnace filters monthly or a minimum of 4 times a year. Caulk small holes and cracks around plumbing pipes, exhaust fans, dryer vents, sink and bathtub drains, fireplaces and countertops. Set your gas water heater thermostat to 120 degrees, or 140 degrees if you have a dishwasher that does not preheat water. Install high-performances shower heads and faucet aerators in all showers and sinks. You could save up to 10% on your water heating costs. No cost energy saving tips Adjust vents to keep specific rooms in your home at a desired temperature. Heat rises, so you may want to partially close upstairs vents. Do not close more than 1 or 2 vents in an average sized house. Restricting airflow too much can shorten the life of your furnace. Use kitchen, bath and other ventilating fans only as long as needed to vent moisture or fumes, especially in winter. In just 1 hour, these fans can blow away a houseful...

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Save Energy and Beat the Heat

Staying cool this summer doesn’t necessarily mean you have to pay a fortune to keep the air-conditioning running day and night. Here are tips—most costing less than $25—that will keep you comfortable and cut the typical $1,000 cooling bill by as much as half. What’s needed to get the temperature to drop? Only a little time and a few changes in your routine. The Right Setting Typical air-conditioning settings for a programmable thermostat at different times of day: • 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. = 75 degrees • 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. = 80 degrees • 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. = 75 degrees • 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. = 80 degrees Set the Dial Higher If you have central air, set your thermostat above 78 degrees. You’ll save 5 to 8% on cooling costs with each degree above that mark. For a typical household, setting the thermostat at 80 degrees saves 10 to 15%; raising it to 85 degrees will save 35 to 55%. Cost: $0 Benefit: 15 to 20% or more off your cooling bill Use a Fan A fan, which costs two to five cents per hour to operate, will make a room feel 4 to 6 degrees cooler. Also, a fan works well in tandem with an air conditioner because the dehumidifying action of the air conditioner provides drier air that the fan can then move around. Cost: Ceiling fans range from $30 to $200. Floor fans cost around $20 and whole-house fans run from $300 to $600. Benefit: Ceiling fans can decrease your cooling bill by up to 15%, while a whole-house fan can slash it by 50%. Practice “Texas Cool” “Texas cool” is a morning and evening routine that takes advantage of cool outdoor temperatures at night and keeps the heat at bay as much...

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Construction Corner | Green-Certified Homes Sell For 9% More

It has been a controversial question in the home real estate market for years. Do houses with lots of energy-saving and sustainability features sell for more than houses without them? If so, by how much? Some studies have shown that consumers’ willingness to pay more for Energy Star and other green-rated homes tends to diminish during tough economic times. Others have found that green-certified houses sell for at least a modest premium over similar but less-efficient homes. A new study involving an unusually large sample of homes sold in California between 2007 and early 2012 has documented that, holding all other variables constant, a green certification label on a house adds an average 9% to its selling value. Researchers also found something they dubbed the Prius effect: Buyers in areas where consumer sentiment in support of environmental conservation is relatively high — as measured by the percentage of hybrid auto registrations in local ZIP Codes — are more willing to pay premiums for green-certified houses than buyers in areas where hybrid registrations were lower. The study found no significant correlations between local utility rates and consumers’ willingness to pay premium prices for green-labeled homes. But it did find that in warmer parts of California, especially in the Central Valley compared with neighborhoods closer to the coast, buyers are willing to pay more for the capitalized cost savings on energy that come with a green-rated property. The research was conducted by professors Matthew E. Kahn of UCLA and Nils Kok of Maastricht University in the Netherlands, who was a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley. Out of the 1.6-million-home-transaction sample, Kahn and Kok identified 4,321 dwellings that sold with Energy Star, LEED or GreenPoint Rated labels. They then ran statistical analyses to determine how much green labeling contributed to the selling...

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Easy ways to reduce your home energy use

Taking steps to reduce your electricity and energy use at home is a smart choice — and the good news is you won’t have to replace all your windows or move to a yurt do it. Here are a few quick and easy projects to get you started. 1. Insulate electrical outlets. Insulate the electrical outlets in your house that are located on exterior walls. Your local hardware store probably sells foam socket sealers that will help block cold or hot outside air from entering your home. You’ll need a screwdriver to remove the outlet plates or switch plates, but the whole process shouldn’t take more than a few minutes per outlet. 2. Get an energy audit. Pay attention to your utility bill. Some utility companies occasionally offer a free energy audit, which typically entails a home inspection from a utility employee. If your electric bill seems high and you can’t figure out the reason, getting an audit is a great starting point for investigation; the results will help you understand the factors that may be affecting your energy use, such as drafty windows or a poorly insulated roof. 3. Switch to fluorescent light bulbs. Replace your incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs or LEDs. Compact fluorescent bulbs are brighter and more efficient than incandescent bulbs; they may be more expensive up front, but they’ll last much longer. 4. Give your fridge a hand. Vacuum the coils on your refrigerator. Pet hair and dust bunnies accumulate on the coils over time, causing the fridge to have to work harder to get rid of the heat. If you clean off the coils now and then, the fridge will have less work to do and will use less energy. 5. Block off unused heat registers. Be smart about heating and...

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Things That Make a Home a Good Home

Buyers spend a lot of time looking at properties online, touring homes on the Sunday open house circuit and talking to their real estate agent. They’re laser-focused on finding the best home that meets their needs. The problem is, buyers sometimes don’t take the long view of a property. They’re only looking at a home as a potential buyer — and not as someone who, years down the road, may also have to sell the property. Given that homes are such a big investment, there should be a little inside your head, picking away at your options and decisions. As the home buying market starts to heat up again, here are things you should consider when choosing your next home. 1. Location, location, location Perhaps nothing is more important than the three L’s, and there’s a reason why it’s said three times. Location is extremely important when it comes time to sell. You can have the worst house in the world with the ugliest kitchen and bath. But put it on a great block or in a good school district, and your home will be coveted. Location location location matters on so many different levels. At the highest level is the town where the house is located, then the school district, then the neighborhood and the block — right down to the location of the lot on the block. Keep all of this in mind when shopping. Also remember that while real estate markets rise and fall, no one can take a great location away from you. 2. The school district The school district is right up there on the list of what’s most important to many buyers. It’s not uncommon for buyers to start their search based solely on the school district they want to be in. Parents...

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Renaissance Homes Wins 2 Excellence Awards

Renaissance Homes took home awards for its website design and for its floor plan of the Vintage Montgomery home at the Home Builders Association (HBA) Excellence Awards on June 14, 2012. The HBA annually spotlights companies who have submitted entries in home building, remodeling and marketing categories. Renaissance Homes’ website, www.renaissance-homes.com, features an elegant, easy to navigate design, including search options equipped with a user-friendly layout and a list of move-in ready homes. The website was designed for the modern, busy home buyer and is convenient for those looking for specific criteria as well as those doing mobile searches. “With today’s busy lifestyle, we recognize the importance of a strong presence online and what an important tool that is for home buyers today,” said Randy Sebastian, President of Renaissance Homes. “It was an honor to be recognized in both categories by our peers in the industry.” Recognized for bearing the standard of excellence in building design, the Vintage Montgomery home located in the Sabin/King community replicates the old Portland classic architecture of the Four-Square. The home features intentional detail in both the interior and exterior, including numerous windows, arches, wainscoting, lighting, an under home garage and basement and an upstairs laundry room, which is unheard of in most older homes. It is also of interest that this winning home is a next-door neighbor to the home featured on the NBC TV series Grimm and is regularly captured on screen during taping. Built LEED Certified, Silver, and achieving Energy Star Status with an Energy Proficiency Score of 79, and monthly utility bills of $105 for gas and electric, the house also entails many modern conveniences and energy efficient features not found in most vintage homes. Renaissance Homes is an award winning Street of Dreams custom home builder specializing in green...

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Green homes increase | LEED certifies 20,000+

As green building increases in the United States, more than 20,000 homes have now earned certification from one of the nation’s most rigorous programs: LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.) “There are green homes, and then there are LEED homes. This milestone is evidence that the residential market is increasingly recognizing this fact,” said Nate Kredich, vice president of residential market development for the private U.S. Green Building Council, which launched the voluntary program in 2008. At least half the homes fell in the affordable housing category. Another 79,000 U.S. homes have registered for certification, which requires energy efficiency, water conservation, air quality and sustainable building materials. The LEED process can cost several thousand dollars in fees and inspections, so it’s mostly done by companies or affordable housing groups working on multiple units. It offers four ratings; platinum is the highest, followed by gold, silver and “certified.” Green homes are expected to grow from 17% of the U.S. residential market in 2011 to 29% to 38% by 2016, according to a 2012 McGraw Hill Construction study. USA TODAY | Wendy Koch | Posted June 14, 2012 All Renaissance Homes in our vintage collection in Portland are LEED certified, highly energy efficient and are located close to shopping, parks and transit centers. Renaissance Homes is an award winning Street of Dreams custom home builder specializing in green building, remodeling and renovations for the Portland market. Awarded the Portland Homebuilder’s Association 2011 “Builder of the...

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Green Building Goes Mainstream America

The green home is about to be upon us, in a big – or at least bigger – way. It may amount to one-third of the entire market by 2016, according to industry publisher McGraw-Hill Construction. Harvey Bernstein, the company’s vice president for industry insights and alliances and a civil engineer, explained how green has turned into a survival tactic for builders and remodelers, and why consumer sticker shock is no longer the issue it once was. “Even in the economic downturn, when a lot of homebuilders went out of business or were shrinking, those that were green have held their own or have grown,” said Bernstein. “In 2011, about 17% of all homebuilders would be considered dedicated green builders. We’re expecting that the overall green building and remodeling market will grow substantially in the next few years. By 2016, when we see the homebuilding market being back, we see one-third of all homebuilders committing to building at least 90 percent of their homes to green standards. Builders that aren’t knowledgeable about green are going to be left behind.” Green building is defined as a home that’s built to the ICC 700 standard (a collaboration between the National Association of Home Builders and the International Code Council) or to the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standard or another credible standard. Or if it isn’t build to a standard, it must contain energy-efficient, water-efficient and resource-efficient materials and must involve improved indoor air quality. Read the entire post at The Chicago Tribune | May 25, 2012 Renaissance Homes is an award winning Street of Dreams custom home builder specializing in green building, remodeling and renovations for the Portland market. Awarded the Portland Homebuilder’s Association 2011 “Builder of the...

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Renaissance Homes | Understanding Green Building Class

Renaissance Homes, Premiere Property Group and Lawyer’s Title are presenting: Understanding Green Building. Join us Thursday, April 5th at 5 pm for a one clock hour class for brokers. Randy Sebastian, President of Renaissance Homes and Clark Dunning, Director of Production will present: What is LEED? What is Energy Star? What is Polar Blanket Insulation? What is Rain Screen siding? What is an EPS score? How does Green Building affect appraisals? How low are the utility bills on a Green built new home? Join us for an informative discussion and learn about Renaissance Homes’ long standing committment to green building technology. Hors d’oeuvres and wine will be served. Date: Thursday, April 5th, 5 pm Location: Premiere Property Group | 5000 Meadows Rd, Ste 150 | Lake Oswego OR Contact: Amanda Andruss | 503.969.4939 | AAndruss@Renaissance-Homes.com Renaissance Homes is an award winning Street of Dreams custom home builder specializing in green building, remodeling and renovations for the Portland market. Awarded the Portland Homebuilder’s Association 2011 “Builder of the...

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Kids At West Hills Learning Center Take A Tour

The kids at West Hills Learning Center have been watching the progress on the new vintage homes at SW 31st in Multnomah Village with wide eyes and lots of questions. Yesterday, they finally got to take a tour! Renaissance Homes Production Manager Rich Williams and Quality Assurance Manager Mike Jeffords gave them a quick green building house tour complete with Renaissance Homes hard hats, green building coloring books, cookies and juice. Twenty minutes later they left happy and all smiles! Was it the cookies or the tour? We may never know! Renaissance Homes is an award winning Street of Dreams custom home builder specializing in green building, remodeling and renovations for the Portland market Awarded the Portland Homebuilder’s Association 2011 “Builder of the...

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EPS Score of 74 = $105 a month for gas and electric!

Renaissance Homes is setting the standard for high performance, green built homes in the Portland metro area. Our latest Energy Performance Score for a 2,607 sq ft home was a 74. A home built to Oregon code is 103. Our home rated 28% more efficient than Oregon building codes! Savings on energy bills translates to real money in your pocket each month. Older homes can run $300-$400 a month for heating and lighting bills. With energy efficient technology, Renaissance Homes can save you thousands in utility bills. Our included features give you the most up to date technology, resulting in superior energy savings. Every Renaissance Home includes: Polar Blanket Insulation; premium insulation system Open web floor truss system allowing HVAC ducting to stay within conditioned space Fresh air whole house ventilation system Energy Star appliances Vented Rain Screen siding system to prevent moisture intrusion Efficient ductwork – mastic sealed and protected during construction Energy Performance Scores are an independent assessment of a home’s energy consumption, costs and carbon emissions. The report was prepared for Renaissance Homes by the Energy Trust of Oregon. Estimated average energy costs for the home were $1,263 per year for natural gas and electricity. The Renaissance Home scored a 6.7 carbon score, compared to the Oregon average of 9.2 and a normal new home built to code would score an 8.5. To see the EPS Score click here: 946 SE Marion St_Fremont. Renaissance Homes is an award winning Street of Dreams custom home builder specializing in green building, remodeling and renovations for the Portland market. All homes in the city of Portland are LEED certified. Awarded the Portland Homebuilder’s Association 2011 “Builder of the...

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Green Home Buying | Know the Green-Living Standards

The term “green” is being used to market everything from food to furniture, and it’s also becoming an enticement for the biggest purchase most of us will ever make: buying a home. That’s why understanding certain environmental criteria before you shop for a new home can help you avoid the increasingly prevalent “green-washing” that misinformed or less scrupulous sellers and agents engage in when listing their properties. Here are five tips to keep in mind when looking for an eco-conscious home. Know the industry standards Rely on two green-living standard-bearers: the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), and Energy Star. The USGBC is known for its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program, which guides mainstream homebuilders on sustainable practices. Home shoppers and owners can use the USGBC’s Green Home Guide to get free info and tips. Run by the Environmental Protection Agency, Energy Star has certified over 750,000 new homes in the U.S., and its website offers a wealth of information on what to look for when eco-house shopping. Key green-building benchmarks Make sure the home meets these five green benchmarks: – Saves energy – Conserves water – Provides a healthy indoor environment – Protects natural resources – Reduces the impact on the community To save energy, check to make sure the home is Energy Star certified. Energy Star confirms effective insulation, efficient heating and cooling, and quality windows. To conserve water, many newer homes have under-sink flow restrictors and dual-flush toilets — be sure to check older homes for these add-ons. To ensure indoor air quality, determine if walls are covered with low volatile-organic-compound (VOC) paints, and whether cabinets are free from formaldehyde-containing materials. To see if a home protects natural resources, check for recycled content in carpets or tile and look for renewable materials such as bamboo...

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Survey | People want more green homes

It turns out that a green, energy efficient home built with sustainable materials is “most wanted,” according to a Yahoo! Real Estate survey of 1,500 current and aspiring homeowners.  Homeowners prefer a green home (50%) over a custom home (38%), water view (38%), suburb (31%), or living on the beach (27%).  Yahoo! found that homeowners don’t want urban locations, gated communities, or castle-style homes. Only 5% consider a tiny house to be a “dream house,” while only 10% want an ultra-modern home with glass walls. When asked about the top reasons for moving, survey respondents said they want a home that suits their style (47%), that’s larger (45%), that suits a life stage (44%), or that’s in a better neighborhood (30%).  About 27% would consider it a top reason to move when the home is “more environmentally sustainable.” Lastly, about 59% of people responding said they would prefer to own a home.  When asked for their reasons for not owning a home yet, aspiring homeowners said they lack a down payment (53%), lack capital/income (51%), or have insufficient credit (38%). Read more here. Find your green home at Renaissance Homes. Renaissance Homes is an award winning Street of Dreams custom home builder specializing in green building and remodeling for the Portland market. Awarded the Portland Homebuilder’s Association 2011 “Builder of the Year.” Source| Jetson Green | Dec 19,...

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Construction Corner: Winter Home Maintenance

As the cold and wet weather sets in, there are a few steps you can take to ensure your home serves you well through the coming months. Please take the time to check these items in and around your home and attend to any that need maintenance. Clean and test smoke alarms. Change the furnace filter. Operate the heating system. Adjust seasonal dampers and registers. Confirm that cold air returns are clear of furniture or draperies. Check the fit of exterior doors – the thresholds are adjustable – you can use a flat head screwdriver to turn the screws and raise the threshold. REMOVE HOSES FROM EXTERIOR FAUCETS.  “Frost Free” faucets will suffer a broken water line if the water in the hose freezes and expands into the pipe. This occurrence is not covered by your warranty.  Close hose bib shut offs, located under sink cabinets or in garage, and open hose bib to drain out water. Clean gutters, check downspouts; confirm that splash-blocks (if applicable) drain away from the house. Avoid using de-icing agents that contain salt on concrete walkways and garages. This can lead to “pitting” of the concrete. DO NOT BLOCK FOUNDATION VENTS unless extreme weather is expected with below freezing temperatures.  Blocking your foundation vents from fall to spring can cause excess moisture to collect in the crawl space. Cover only when necessary and remove once the temperatures rise. Decorate safely for the holidays. Do not overload circuits or use worn extension cords. KEEP SNOW / ICE CLEAR OF FURNACE AND HOT WATER HEATER EXHAUSTS. A build up of snow / ice around these exhausts will restrict the air-flow to the furnace and hot water heater that will cause these units to shut down. Window screens can be removed to keep them clean over the...

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Understanding New Home Certification

Renaissance Homes is the Portland leader in energy-efficiency and green building technology. All Renaissance Vintage homes in Portland are LEED® certified. Read more for details on each green certification. Northwest ENERGY STAR® certification is the basic building block in all the programs. ENERGY STAR certification ensures that a new home performs at least 15% above code through proper insulation, a well-sealed outer shell and energy-efficient equipment and appliances. Earth Advantage® New Homes is a green certification that uses ENERGY STAR as a point of departure but adds sustainability features and building processes that make the home healthier and more resource-efficient. Earth Advantage New Homes offers three possible levels of certification – silver, gold and platinum. LEED® for Homes is a holistic green certification developed by the US Green Building Council, for which Earth Advantage Institute is one of the largest providers. LEED for Homes is typically used by builders engaged in construction of high-performance homes. The program may involve a higher level  of interaction between the builder and the verification team to ensure that the home meets a broad range of requirements that are part of the standard. Read more at the Earth Advantage®website. Renaissance Homes is proud to be on the forefront of green building technology. Learn more about the Renaissance Homes green products and technology at Living Green. Renaissance Homes is an award winning Street of Dreams custom home builder specializing in green building for the Portland, Oregon...

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Construction Corner: Benefits of Rain Screen

Wet conditions are part of our climate here in the Northwest. Renaissance Rain Screen is a moisture management system designed to address and protect against the causes of water intrusion and the resulting damage that it can cause to a home. While there are different types of Rain Screen and many options used to meet the Oregon Code Requirement of a gap behind siding systems in residential construction, Oregon Building Codes Division acknowledges that a Pressure-Equalized Rain Screen (PER) system is best practice in fulfilling this requirement. State requirements of a drainage gap began with the 2008 Specialty Code. However, Renaissance Homes Pressure-Equalized Rain Screen was designed by industry leaders and has been in use since early 2003. Many quality homebuilders endeavor to follow in our footsteps due the Rain Screen’s proven superiority over conventional siding systems. Please note that Renaissance Homes Rain Screen System has been specifically engineered to supersede local building codes and traditional siding instillation recommendations. Here are a few resources to describe Rain Screen technology and specifically the Pressure-Equalized Rain Screen System: National Association of Home Builders Research Center Housing Zone Renaissance Homes sets the bar with superior construction techniques. You deserve it. “The best built homes Are Renaissance Homes.” –Randy Sebastian, President of Renaissance Homes. Renaissance Homes is an award winning Street of Dreams custom home builder specializing in green building for the Portland, Oregon market. Disclaimer: The information on the system presented herein is provided for informational purposes only. Renaissance Homes does not provide warranty, either expressed or implied, regarding the accuracy or completeness of information listed in the above external...

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Construction Corner: Indoor Air Quality

Many people have specific health problems which can be improved by addressing the air quality issues in their homes. It is not necessarily the home itself that is causing the problem. More specifically, it may be the conditions in the home, or the contents of the home that may be causing the issue. Dust, dirt, molds, pollen, pet dander, smoke, lint, bacteria, viruses, pollutants, chemicals, off-gasses from products around us and all kinds of other particles (microscopic and larger) exist nearly everywhere we go and everywhere we live. Except for the strictest clean room or clinical environments, they can’t be avoided. These things can irritate our respiratory system and make us sick. Most of our bodies fight off these pollutants and toxins naturally. When our bodies are not successful at fighting off these attackers, we get sick, until our bodies are able to develop the immunities to fight them off. That’s how a normal immune system works in a body. If your body is particularly sensitive or susceptible to any of these things, then you can get sicker more quickly than an average person because of all these things you come into contact with on a daily basis. One of the ways you combat this issue is through improved air filtration systems in your home or business. Depending on what you are trying to accomplish (what issues you are trying to resolve) will determine what level of filtration you need in your home or office. Options include (in order of increasing effectiveness) basic (standard) 1” filters, 4” enhanced media filters, electronic air cleaners (EAC’s) and air purifiers. Controlling humidity levels in a home is important. If humidity levels are too high or too low, bacteria and viruses propagate (multiply) readily. If ideal humidity levels are maintained throughout a home, it will inhibit the growth of bacteria, viruses and molds,...

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Renaissance Homes featured in HVAC Case Study

Earth Advantage Institute and the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance have produced a series of case studies that illustrate successful implementation of the “Ducts Inside” strategy, where the air handler and all ductwork are located inside the conditioned space of a new home. This practice can reduce home energy use by 15-20% compared to typical HVAC installations. The case studies were selected to represent diversity in the residential marketplace, including urban infill, suburban, one-story, two-story, custom, speculative and production-built homes. The Northwest builders, located in either marine or cold climates, are certifying their homes to one or more green certification standards: ENERGY STAR®, Earth Advantage®, LEED® for Homes, BuiltGreen®, or NAHBGreen®. Renaissance Homes was featured in the case study. Open web floor trusses have helped lower the Energy Performance Scores (EPS) of Renaissance Homes, which in turn lowers monthly energy bills for home owners. A lower EPS is a more efficiently performing home. Pyramid Heating & Cooling was the HVAC contractor. All the case studies can be found at www.ductsinside.org. About Earth Advantage Earth Advantage Institute works with the building and design industry to help implement sustainable building practices. Its nonprofit mission is to create an immediate, practical and cost-effective path to sustainability and carbon reduction in the built environment. The organization achieves its objectives through a range of innovative certification, education, research and technical services programs. About NEEA The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance is a nonprofit organization working to encourage the development and adoption of energy-efficient products and services. NEEA is supported by the region’s electric utilities, public benefits administrators, state governments, public interest groups and efficiency industry representatives. This unique partnership has helped make the Northwest region a national leader in energy efficiency. About Renaissance Homes  Renaissance Homes is an award winning Street of Dreams custom home builder specializing...

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Construction Corner: Rain Screen Siding

Since early 2003, Renaissance Homes has built all of their homes in the Portland metro and Vancouver/ Clark County areas with an exterior cladding system that is known as Rain Screen. Renaissance realizes that the average consumer may not be aware of these new and innovative building practices. Therefore, we offer the following description of the Rain Screen system. Moisture in many forms is prevalent in our Northwest climate. Over the years, builders in this region have come to expect those leaks as a “cost of doing business”. The typical construction method for most area builders has the exterior cladding system fastened firmly to the homes plywood or oriented strand board sheathing, which in turn, is attached directly to the homes studs.  When a leak or water penetration occurs with this type of construction, the water is literally forced through the wall and can spread in many different locations by a principal known as capillary action. The Rain Screen system addresses this problem. The Rain Screen system is designed to channel moisture and drain it from the siding assembly by employing firing strip to lift the siding off of the exterior wall. Thus the definition of Rain Screen is: a moisture management system incorporating cladding, an air cavity to allow for vertical venting behind the siding, a drainage plane, and an airtight support wall to offer multiple moisture shedding pathways. Rain Screens diminish the forces attempting to drive moisture into a wall. Renaissance Homes employs Pressure Equalized Rain Screen, (PER). PER carefully integrates exterior claddings, compartmentalized air spaces, generous ventilation and watertight / airtight (DuPont™ Tyvek® HomeWrap®) support walls. PERs terminate the pressure differential across cladding systems that are magnified by winds. This limits the opportunity for rain penetration beyond the cladding. The ‘Renaissance Homes Rain Screen System’ has...

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Construction Corner: Open Web Floor Trusses

Considered to be the ‘Cadillac’ of floor systems, open web floor trusses are growing in popularity over engineered joist systems. Their superior span capability allows them to create more spacious rooms free of awkward columns or support posts. Open web trusses are especially popular with contractors who can run ductwork and pipes between webs without having to cut through joist material.  Running ducts and pipes through the floor system can also eliminate dropped bulkheads. Mechanical systems are installed within the floor’s framing rather than hanging below. All the heat ducts run between the floors. This eliminates ducting in the attic or crawlspace and saves energy by NOT pushing heated air into a cold crawl space in the winter or sending cool air into a hot attic in the summer. This saves you money on monthly energy costs to heat and cool your home. The joists allow the heat ducts to be shorter and much more efficient. Any heat or cooling lost in the ductwork remains in the livable space. Plumbing lines run straighter and shorter allowing less pipe to be installed resulting in hot water savings. Renaissance Homes sets the bar with superior construction techniques because we believe you deserve it. “The best built homes Are Renaissance Homes.” – Randy Sebastian, President of Renaissance Homes. Renaissance Homes is an award winning Street of Dreams custom home builder specializing in green building for Portland, Oregon. Visit us online at...

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Oregon’s #1 LEED Homebuilder

Renaissance Homes has committed to building all of our Portland Vintage homes with the LEED certification. This makes Renaissance Homes Oregon’s #1 LEED Certified single-family homebuilder. We are dedicated to leading the industry in sustainable building practices. LEED: Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design was created by the US Green Building Council (USGBC). LEED is a voluntary program establishing a group of comprehensive and measurable building standards encompassing design, construction and building management. The LEED rating systems offer the ability for third party certification of building practices that promote the use of sustainable materials, energy efficient building standards, healthy indoor environments and reduced impact on the environment. Why is LEED important? LEED creates a national standard, it recognizes environmental leadership in the building industry, stimulates green competition, raises the public’s awareness of benefits and is transforming the building market. To preserve, conserve and sustain our resources for future generations, we must spread awareness and knowledge of “Living Green.” LEED ensures it achieves these standards, to preserve our environment for future generations. LEED is the most comprehensive and difficult certification to attain. No other level of certification is as comprehensive. LEED defines the language and benchmarks utilized by all industry. For years consumers have been beleaguered by the use of terms by marketers and manufacturers that offer unquantifiable benefits. The LEED standard defines and specifies the terms and metrics allowing us to measure innovation in eco-conscious materials. Many products on the market claim “green-ness” that upon further inspection qualify for little or nothing under the USGBC guidelines. LEED provides businesses and the public, the means to measure current environmental impact and future progress toward greater sustainable building. LEED creates incentives for companies to innovate in ways that are defined and measurable. With the gaining popularity of the LEED certification systems, manufacturers are...

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Certified Homes Outperform Non-Certified Homes

Earth Advantage Institute, a nonprofit green building resource, announced the results of its annual certified home analysis in the Portland metropolitan region for the 2010 to 2011 year. The study is part of the organization’s research efforts that include gathering data on green building valuation. Existing homes with a sustainable certification sold for 30 percent more than homes without such a designation, according to sales data provided by the Portland Regional Multiple Listing Service (RMLS) to Earth Advantage Institute. This finding is based on the sale of existing homes between May 1, 2010 and April 30, 2011 in Multnomah, Clackamas, Columbia, and Washington County in Oregon, and Clark County in Washington. Better sales prices were also seen for newly constructed homes with a sustainability certification. As a group, new homes with a sustainability certification in the six-county Portland metropolitan area sold for 8 percent more than new non-certified homes. This result continues a four-year trend in which new homes with a third-party certification for sustainable construction and energy performance have consistently sold for more than newly constructed homes that had not been certified. The term “certified home” includes homes that received an Earth Advantage New Homes, ENERGY STAR, or a LEED® for Homes designation, or a combined Earth Advantage/ENERGY STAR certification. Sales information is reported by participating real estate brokers to RMLS. The Portland metropolitan area region includes Multnomah, Clackamas, Columbia, Washington and Yamhill Counties in Oregon and Clark County in Washington. Portland RMLS was the first regional multiple listing service in the country to provide sales information for homes with green certification, at the request of the Earth Advantage Institute. RMLS began tracking information in 2007. Two important trends are shown by the four years of sales data. First, the market share of certified homes among all newly...

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Renaissance Homes wins Ultimate EPS award

Energy Trust of Oregon selected Renaissance Homes as winner of the 2011 Ultimate EPS award for the best EPS on a home over 2,500 sq ft on the Ultimate Open House Tour. The Cleary, 1608 SE 20th, won with an EPS score of 80 and estimated monthly utility bills of $111 per month. The Energy Performance Score (EPS), developed by Energy Trust, provides a clear and quantitative way to compare a home’s energy use and costs. The lower the score, the better. A low score means an energy-efficient home with a smaller carbon footprint and reduced utility costs. Renaissance builds all Vintage homes as LEED and Energy Star Certified. We also go many steps further in our green initiatives and install Polar Blanket Insulation, high-efficiency furnaces, tankless water heaters, low VOC paint, whole house ventilation systems and RainScreen Siding. If built to normal Oregon code, the Cleary would have been 104. The average Oregon home is 101. Renaissance Homes significantly exceed Oregon building code. Energy efficiency, utility costs and environmental impact are important factors to consider when buying or building a home. The EPS now gives homebuyers a way to comparison shop between homes based on these factors. It also gives homebuyers a sense of how many energy upgrades were made to the house beyond what Oregon energy code requires and how the home compares to an average home built in Oregon. A home’s EPS is based on many factors, such as the home’s size, level of insulation, air leakage, heating and cooling systems, major appliances, lighting and water heating: Improved insulation and windows—Properly installed insulation and high-performance windows help keep heat inside during winter and outside during summer. Well sealed house and ducts—A house with tight construction and ducts reduces air exchange between the house, crawl space and attic....

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