Archive for the ‘Think Green’ Category

Windows: Your Material Options for Style & Efficiency

Monday, December 9th, 2013

There are many styles of windows to choose from, but beyond what shape and function you’d like your windows to take you’ll also need to choose what kind of windows to install.

With materials ranging from vinyl to wood to clad-wood to composite and fiberglass, it is important to choose a window that best fits your home, your lifestyle and your budget.

Vinyl
Quite simply, vinyl is low-maintenance, remarkably energy-efficient and the most affordable option. The only draw-back? Limited colors. For many people knowing you never need to repaint, stain or refinish more than makes up for this limitation. For others it means they need to look to wood or clad-wood to give them the flexibility they require.

Wood
The warmth, beauty and durability of wood window frames continues to make wood frames worth the price and maintenance. With energy-efficient options that meet or exceed ENERGY STAR® guidelines, wood frames offer more features and nearly unlimited interior and exterior color options.

Clad-Wood
To help rid homeowners of exterior window maintenance, some window companies produce wood frames “clad” in vinyl or aluminum. This combination of materials makes the frame supremely durable and maintenance-free on the exterior, while giving you the beauty of natural wood on the interior side of the frame — which can be painted or stained any way you wish! This perfect combo typically costs more than ordinary wood frames, but if they are within your budget, clad-wood frames are both beautiful and practical!

Fiberglass or Composite
Meet the latest addition to the window frame world — fiberglass and composite-frame windows. Priced somewhere between vinyl and wood, these more-affordable window frames are extremely durable, maintenance-free and more energy efficient than vinyl. In addition, unlike vinyl windows, some composite frames can be painted to compliment your palette.

The range of material options means you really can find the windows to meet your project needs, all while accounting for energy efficiency and budget considerations! Remember, material choice alone is not enough to discern the quality of the windows you want to install. Be sure to pay attention to the hardware and function: windows should work easily and feel good to use.

Once you’ve selected the right windows for your home, be sure installation goes smoothly and correctly! Improper installation may not only cause damage to your brand-new windows, in some cases it will also void your warranty. Let the experts at Sass Construction help with your window installation and put your mind as ease.

Want to know more about all the components of an energy efficient window? Check out this Ideabook on Houzz and this article at This Old House.

Contact Sass Construction about your interior or exterior remodeling needs, including new window installation. We are a full-service remodeling company serving Eden Prairie, Chanhassen, Chaska, the West Metro, Minneapolis, and the Twin Cities MN area.

 

Green Remodeling Part 2 of 2: Using Green, Energy-Efficient Products as You Remodel

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

Last week we focused on planning for a green remodel, Energy saving remodeling MNwith the intention of saving you money and energy down the road.  This week we’re going to discuss green products you may want to implement as you remodel your home with energy-savings in mind.  Consider these important categories:

Electrical: Research newer light fixtures that utilize less energy.  And choose energy-saving light bulbs to go with them!  Energy-saving light bulbs can make a long term difference in your energy bill — changing out just one lightbulb in your home to an energy-star certified lightbulb can save you $6 a year in electricity costs and more than $40 over its lifetime.  Imagine that number times all of the lightbulbs in your home!

Plumbing:  Less is more when it comes to water!  Many new plumbing products exist today that are high-effeciency or low-flow, ultimately saving 20-30% more water than the previous generation of products.  Water efficient toilets, showerheads, and faucets have all taken the market by storm.  Not sure where to turn for more details or what facts to trust?  The EPA’s WaterSense program labels water-efficient plumbing fixtures that have been independently tested and certified to meet efficiency and performance standards.

Windows & Doors:  Look for features like low-emissivity (low-e) glass ratings, which represents a window glazing that can help control solar heat gain and loss.  Multiple panels of glass, a good window frame, and additives such as argon between glass panels for insulation are also features to keep an eye out for in windows and doors, keeping heat in during the winter and out during the summer.  Adding a skylight to a room when remodeling is also a good way to save electricity — it can greatly reduce energy costs when properly placed.  Want a clearer understanding? Energy.gov offers performance ratings for windows, doors, and skylights.

These are just a few areas that can effect the overall functionality of your home.  If creating a green environment and eco-friendly home is important to you, then take the time to evaluate all of the products you bring into your home during the remodeling process.

  • Check product facts, making sure that hype translates to a product that is truly green.
  • Evaluate the lifespan of your products and whether they can be recycled or reused later.
  • Consider product ingredients and materials to see if they’re toxin-free.

Making smart choices will bring you one step closer to the healthy, eco-friendly, and energy-savings home you want to have!

Remodeling questions?  Connect with us here at Sass Construction to evaluate your project today!  Serving Chanhassen, Chaska, the West Metro area, and surrounding Twin Cities MN suburbs. 

Green Remodeling Part 1 of 2: Green Remodeling to Protect Your Home & Save You Money

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

Remodeling, in and of itself, is green.  Rather than starting from scratch, you are making use of resources and space that already exist.  Go you!  Green Remodeling Tips Twin CitiesBut now that you’re making the effort to remodel, let’s discuss what other eco-friendly or “green” decisions you can make that will ultimately protect your home (and your pocketbook) in the long run.   Here are a few strategies you might want to consider as you make remodeling decisions:

*Make a Plan – Green remodeling is purposeful and requires a good plan in order to create a home that is comfortable, energy efficient, and healthy.  Decide which remodeling efforts must be completed now, and which can wait till later, and then create a plan to do them with the least amount of waste.

*Consider Energy Use – Though we would all love to live in a zero energy home (where your home produces as much energy as it consumes) this can be a costly project to retrofit.   Start with smaller changes and work your way up to bigger ones.  Here are some energy-efficiency ideas:

  • Insulate windows and doors – This simple step can keep you from losing one third of your home’s heat during the winter and prevent just as much from coming in during the summer.
  • Check your attic and walls for proper insulation – Since heat rises, starting in your attic will make a difference in energy loss.  If you already have proper insulation in your attic, check the insulation on your exterior walls next.  Today technology exists that can take a reading of you home to determine what areas need extra insulation to preserve warmth.
  • Take big steps when necessary – Extensive changes, such as a new boiler or a window replacement, cost more and take longer, but may be your next steps.

*Re-use and Recycle – As you tackle bigger remodeling jobs, decide which aspects of your home can be reused and recycle as much of the waste as possible.

*Implement green products as you replace and remodel.  (Read more on this in part 2 here!)

Not sure where to start?  Check out this Green Building Strategy Checklist and decide which steps might be a good fit for your home or remodeling project.

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Ready to jump-start that remodeling job or make your home more energy-efficient (& cost-effective)?  Contact us here at Sass Construction in the Twin Cities to begin creating a remodeling plan today!

Green Heating Options

Monday, December 5th, 2011

As the temperatures outside are dropping, we are turning up the heat inside. This year, as you turn your thermostat on, consider installing one of these energy-efficient, renewable or alternative heating methods:

Radiant-Floor Heat: Radiant-floor heating delivers heat through the floor—usually through a hot-water tubing system embedded in a concrete slab. The heat is distributed over a large surface area and, as such, it can be delivered at a relatively low temperature while still achieving the same results as a traditional heating unit. The heat is delivered uniformly and warms people directly (through the floor) as opposed to warming the air around them. As a result of all of these factors, most homeowners are able to maintain lower thermostat temperatures as compared to other systems.

Geothermal Heat Pump: Geothermal heat pumps work by drawing heat from the earth into your home. Unlike heat drawn from the air, the earth’s ground temperature is much more constant and consistent. It is this consistency which makes geothermal pumps efficient, comfortable, and quiet heating units.

While geothermal pumps can be more costly to install than traditional heating systems, their energy efficiency can help to offset these initial costs. For example, according to the US Department of Energy, geothermal heat pumps use twenty-five to fifty-percent less electricity than conventional heating or cooling systems. In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency now includes geothermal heat pumps in the types of products rated in the EnergyStar® program. Lastly, geothermal pumps are mechanically simple and placed below ground. As a result, most have very minimal maintenance costs.

Are you ready to install an alternative or renewable heating system in your home? Contact us today for more information!