A self funding project “Deep Energy Retrofit”

A self-funding project with “Deep Energy Retrofits”

These are not small projects. To achieve monthly savings in heating and cooling costs large enough to make the project “Self-Funding”, a home performance retrofit project will typically cost anywhere between $35,000 – $150,000, or more, depending on location, age, and size of your home.
Don’t get us wrong – You can piecemeal, or do your project in phases, as long as you follow the steps. But greater savings and results are achieved when the scope of work is done at the same time, and costs less in the long run, which is why we call it a “Deep Energy Retrofit.”

It usually replaces the entire heating and cooling system, including new duct work. The new heating and cooling equipment will be less than half the size of the current equipment. The new air distribution system will be smaller, simpler and air-tight. The HVAC system’s air flow will be balanced per each room (with no pressure interference, which allows the air to flow freely), refrigerant charge and the air flows will be tested, measured and set, to be within 10% of Manufacture Specifications.The project will seal the complex construction assembly which separates the exterior of the home from the attic and/or crawlspace, so that conditioned air cannot escape into those areas. Then towards the end of the project, BEST-Techs will add insulation in the attic, burying the new sealed and insulated ducts so that heating or cooling capacity is no longer lost to the unconditioned spaces.

Measured Building Performance projects also usually include replacing the home’s water heater, pool pumps (if applicable), and any lighting fixtures to LED fixtures which penetrate the attic ceiling. Typical projects also upgrade the bathroom exhaust fans to near-silent units and provide a system which provides the home with filtered air for ventilation.

Those are the usual hardware components of a project. If this sounds like a big, complicated project – it is. But the most important difference between individual component replacements and a home performance retrofit is that all of the critical energy features are redesigned and installed together, as an integrated system that has been tested, measured and proven!

The resulting home energy system is not only carefully engineered; it’s also measured in its critical aspects as it is being installed – by the certified technicians, with building science equipment and diagnostic tools that are specifically made for that trade equipment. BEST-Techs technicians’ final “Test – Out” reports are an absolute essential part of the project. These measured results provide certainty that the building envelope and the HVAC components will work as a highly comfortable and energy efficient system. As in sharp contract to the historically disappointing results of the traditional piecemeal approach to building houses and what most other remodeling contractors do – which is meet bare minimum code requirements, which equals a (D-).

The Biggest Mistakes Homeowners make when Remodeling and how to avoid them

NOT PLANNING YOUR BUDGET

The single biggest mistake homeowners make is refusing to set a budget or understate their budget, you are not negotiating cost at this stage of the process.  A professional will make sure they design your home to suite your lifestyle and budget. Contrary to popular belief, you will not pay more for a  home just because you disclose a larger budget.

NOT PLANNING YOUR REMODELING TEAM

It may surprise you that over 80% of designs never get built. The reason for this is simple, architect’s design major remodels that meet a consumer’s brief rather than their budget. The solution to this problem is quite simple, involve your builder at the design stage.

NOT PLANNING YOUR DEADLINE

Do you have an immovable hard and fast deadline for handover?  A professional builder will be able to provide a scheduled timeline once the initial design has been completed. This will enable you to visualize how long all the different processes such as construction drawings, engineering and quoting take.

NOT PLANNING YOUR LIVING SITUATION DURING THE CONSTRUCTION

Depending on the size and complexity of your remodel, you may have to partially or completely move out of your home for the construction work to take place.  Discuss options with your builder and consider what is best for your family and situation.

NOT PLANNING YOUR SELECTIONS

While it may appear, there is no rush to decide on the color and style of your bathroom tiles before you sign a building contract, it’s important to realize every selection decision has the potential to delay your project.  Making changes to your selections after signing a building contract can incur delays as new orders have to be placed and delivery times may impact the construction schedule.

BONUS- HOW TO FIND A SPECIALIST IN HOME REMODEL/BUILD FOR YOU

 Start by doing your initial research online.  Narrow it down to a list of no more than 3 custom builders who specialize in major remodels. Whether it is Code built, LEED, Greenpoint Rated or Passive House CA.

 

    IF YOU ARE READY TO SPEAK TO A PROFESSIONAL

 DESIGN/BUILD/REMODEL FIRM THAT SPECIALIZE IN

NET ZERO ENERGY REMODELS, PLEASE CALL US TODAY

714-330-4500

BEST TECHS CONTRACTING DESIGN / BUILD / REMODEL, INC

www.BESTTechsContracting.com

 

 

 

The Advantages of ZERO ENERGY HOMES

Have you been thinking of Remodeling or maybe you want to Build a new home?

With cost effective design and construction, Zero Energy Homes may add 5-10% over the cost of similar homes built to code.  The average monthly energy savings will be greatly increased, creating a lower monthly cost of ownership.  You will also be living in a more comfortable, healthier home with less maintenance.

I want to lay out at least 20 benefits of Zero Energy Living:

  1. Combat climate change
  2. Lower cost of home ownership
  3. Enjoy cleaner fresher air
  4. Own a more durable home
  5. Let the sunshine in
  6. Pioneer the future
  7. Live anywhere
  8. Enjoy year-round comfort
  9. Be healthier
  10. Relax in peace and quiet
  11. Stop paying increasingly higher utility cost
  12. Higher resale value
  13. Enjoy a clean source of energy
  14. Live in a low maintenance home
  15. Pay less in water bills
  16. Be positive
  17. Get instant hot water
  18. Light up your home
  19. Enjoy quick and accurate cooking
  20. Invest wisely

Designing and Building Zero Energy Homes takes a few steps to move in the right direction, we take the guess work out of the process.  BEST Techs Contracting a Design, Build, Remodel firm are the experts in the field of Home Performance Building, let us help you get the beautiful home you deserve.

Green Building

Green Building

Interested in remodeling or wondering about how you’re going to build your new home? If you’re looking for something that is done right, is comfortable, energy efficient and sustainable, BEST Techs Contracting can help you achieve the remodel or new home of your dreams.

Green Building Principles

Green building construction recognizes the influence that building design has on the surrounding environment as well as the building’s occupants. By constructing homes in a way that reduces their negative effects and increases their positive impact, BEST-Techs Contracting applies green building principles to every new construction project our team undertakes. We have, for example, designed homes using sustainable wood and local concrete to reduce the manufacturing impact and transportation emissions. We also aim to use recycled or no VOC materials whenever possible, particularly on floors and counters.  BEST Techs Contacting also uses no VOC paint and ensures a tight building envelope, high-efficiency HVAC systems and water saving features to guarantee occupant comfort, health and safety along with lowering utility bills.

Net Zero Energy and Renewable Energy Options

For homeowners concerned with the continued impact of their home’s carbon footprint, we can build to Net Zero Energy (NZE) specifications which allows a home to produce as much energy as it uses. This involves incorporating renewable energy solutions like solar photovoltaic systems, solar thermal, and possible wind energy. In addition to preserving the environment, you will be able to have minimal or no energy bills, giving you peace of mind and savings.

Green Homes in Los Angeles & Orange County

We have worked on green building projects throughout the region from Laguna Hills to West LA. Our BEST-Techs Contracting team has your best interest in mind, so start envisioning life in a comfortable, energy efficient and environmentally-friendly.

To Learn More, Please Call 714-330-4500 or Email Info@BEST-Techs.org

GREEN CERTIFIED HOMES

WILL YOUR HOME BE WORTH MORE MONEY?

You have finally saved enough money and found the perfect house for your family, now it’s time to purchase, Right?

What if you could decide between a home that was certified with a GREEN Label like “GREEN POINT RATED” for the Energy Efficient Upgrades that have been installed?

You would be informed by your Real Estate Agent that this particular property has no energy bills, more comfortable, healthier living environment and Eco friendly than any other house you have looked at previously.

Would you be interested in looking at the home?  Why wouldn’t you want to look at this house, it has recent renovations performed by an Energy Efficient General Contractor and now you do not have to worry about Energy Efficient upgrades.  After all the time and saving you have put in to find your home, the last thing you might want is to worry about is your furnace, hot water heater, maybe adding solar and many other appliances that can zap your energy usage and financially sky rocket out of control.  Purchasing and/or remodeling for the future is the BEST way to spend your hard-earned money, energy cost are only going up and our planet needs help.

Next time you think about purchasing a home or remodeling the one you own, take a look at the Energy Efficient Upgrades that can and will save you money and comfort not to mention your health from the day your remodel is complete!

 

We at BEST Techs Contracting give all our Energy Efficient Clients a manual for their home once the work is complete.  This manual we loving call our H.E.M.P. folder (Home Energy Maintenance Program) gives the client all the improvements listed and products installed along with an Energy Assessment Report that shows the Energy Reduction.  You will also have all the product manuals included with maintenance appointments for follow up visits at no cost to you.

We also offer Green Point Rated (GPR) Labels to our customers, their remodels must qualify for this label.  The GPR will give you the Certification your home deserves after an extensive energy efficient update. Take a look at the link below to read an article from BUILD IT GREEN about Green Labels for the residential market in the future.

Looking to the future…. Our Real Estate Professionals will be trained to recognize and properly communicate Energy Efficient features to their clients.  We will also start to see the MLS have designation for Green Labeled homes, allowing consumers to find these types of homes easier and understand how they are different.

We can all save money, live in a home that is ready for the world ahead and save the planet one home at a time!

 

 

Climate Change: How can we help?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Definition on Google from the Dictionary:

cli·mate change

noun

  1. a change in global or regional climate patterns, in particular a change apparent from the mid to late 20th century onwards and attributed largely to the increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by the use of fossil fuels.

The facts are upfront and real. Earth’s surface temperature has risen about 2 degrees Fahrenheit.  This is largely driven by the increase in carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions.  Most of these emissions occurred in the past 35 years, with 2016 the warmest year on record.  As the earth begins to heat up, the oceans rise due to melting ice sheets around the world.  The earth has lost upwards of 36 cubic miles of ice sheets between the years 2002-2006; and this number keeps growing ever year.  Snow caps are melting quickly from the northern hemisphere, and our extreme weather patterns are ever-changing for the worst.

What are the main contributors of climate change?

Most scientists will agree that human presence is to blame.  The “Greenhouse Effect” and its warning signs are real. Although we feel the symptoms of these emissions every day, we can control them:

  1. Carbon Dioxide – burning of fossil fuels
  2. Methane – waste in landfills, agriculture, domestic livestock
  3. Nitrous Oxide – soil cultivation from fertilizers, fossil fuel combustion
  4. Chlorofluorocarbons – synthetic compounds used in industrial applications

So if we can control the Greenhouse Effects, what then is the solution and how can we help?

The U.S. government is actively working on and investing in:

  1. Biofuels, or sustainable fuel made from plants, specifically for our jet engines. This can reduce the jet emissions by 50-70%
  2. Geothermal energy as a heat source from the earth
  3. Bioenergy, an abundant resource, as a renewable resource of energy

100% renewable energy by 2050 is not out of the question. By harnessing the technology of wind, water and solar, we are well on our way towards becoming more sustainable energy consumers.

Other ways that you as an individual can do to make a change:

  1. When making improvements to your home, think about saving energy costs
  2. Install more insulation to keep the air you cool/heat inside your home; you will in turn waste less energy
  3. Use a Cool Roof, which are usually light in color, instead of traditional dark roofs that retain more heat and in the long-run are more expensive
  4. Air seal your home before you think of remodeling, as this will seal leaks to the outside
  5. Replace your outdated HVAC appliances with energy efficient, small units. If you air seal and insulate correctly, you can spend less on smaller units that also cost less to use
  6. Do not forget to save water, especially in draught-prone California. Use recirculating pumps and on-demand call buttons for hot water use

There are so many easy ways to save our energy and water, it just takes different thinking than we are used to.  We have to start changing the old ways to make way for a more advanced way of living, and to ultimately save our planet.

See the last source link and take a carbon footprint calculator test to see how much CO2 your house is producing

Sources:

https://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/

https://www.epa.gov/environmental-topics/greener-living

https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/household-carbon-footprint-calculator

How Livestock Farming Depletes the Ozone

Meat-Consumption-JpgThe United States is the second highest country in the world that consumes meat, with an average American consuming 270.7 pounds per year[1]. Only Luxembourg beats this number, with an average of 301.4 pounds of meat consumed per person per year[2]. With this amount of food consumed by each person, it is no surprise that about 51% of America is farmland[3]. But with the high demand of food comes the high costs affecting our planet.

According to the EPA, the agricultural sector is the primary source of methane, or CH4, emissions in the United States[4]. To give you a broad scope of how this gas affects our planet, a 2013 study by the EPA concluded that CH4 accounts for 10% of all greenhouse gas emissions due to human activity[5]. Livestock is the major driver for the CH4 emissions, considering humans collect their manure to make fertilizer, which produces CH4. Farming livestock not only creates access greenhouse gases, but it also causes global land-use and land-use changes. Examples include deforestation, desertification, and the release of carbon from the cultivated soils, contributing to the overall destruction of habitats and the ozone[6].

But how exactly does eating one hamburger contribute to harming our planet? Let’s break it down. To feed the cow that will become the hamburger, you need 6.7 pounds of grains. Then 52.8 gallons of water are needed for both the cow and irrigation, and a total of 74.5 square feet for every cow to graze and for growing crops for the cow to eat. Lastly, an average of 1,036 btu of fossil fuel energy are needed for feed production and transport of the meat[7]. All of these resources are precious, especially now that fossil fuels are pricey and California is currently in a severe drought. These numbers don’t even include the cow’s waste or CH4 emissions. There may be one upside, however: cattle inventory has dropped since the 1970s. So, fewer cows are being slaughtered. Still, the United States has been producing more meat compared to the 1970s[8]. The question then arises, is it worth the unethical treatment of the animals and the access greenhouse gases to continue to eat meat? Let us start at the beginning.

With the introduction of agriculture over 10,000 years ago, humans relied less on the previous hunter-gatherer methods and more on the byproducts of domesticated animals. Before domestication, meat was a viable source of protein needed for early Homo sapiens and Neanderthals to survive. However, their environment was much different than the one we know today. Early humans lived in a much colder, harsher climate; a diet of only nuts and roots would not sustain you for long 10,000 years ago. However, nowadays meat is easily procured and produced for us. Modern conveniences like mass livestock farms and supermarkets have reduced our need for hunting, let alone direct domestication of our own livestock. Without the need to farm ourselves, the need to understand where our food comes from and how it is produced no longer interests us. As a nation, America no longer cares about the food we eat.

When we no longer care for the facts, we become disengaged from our health and the affects certain foods have on our bodies. According to the American Dietetic Association, “…appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases” (2009, Journal of the American Diet Assoc.). Protein is found throughout a variety of vegetables and fruits, and thanks to the modern age, incorporating them in your daily food is made easy through a variety of powders, simple recipes, and veggie “meats”.

With less consumption of meat and animal byproducts, we can dramatically reduce the greenhouse gas emissions caused by livestock farming, as well as the continued extinction of our forests due to livestock farmland. Even by going “meatless” once a week for a meal, or better yet a day, we help one step at a time to save our planet. But if eating less meat seems unrealistic, there are other options for those who want to lower carbon and methane emissions.

BEST-Techs is one of the only BPI Certified and GreenPoint Rated construction companies that will test and measure for harmful emissions in homes. Jason, the Building Scientist, tests gas burning appliances, furnaces, AC units, water heaters, and the many other mechanics in homes and checks for proper installation and working condition. Most of the time, homeowners do not realize that their everyday appliances emit odorless, and potentially fatal, carbon monoxide gas. Getting your home tested for CO2 and CH4 emissions is a simple and affordable way to help the environment. And unlike eating less meat, testing homes is a more direct approach to lowering harmful emissions that deplete our ozone.

 

[1] “A Nation of Meat Eaters: See How It All Adds Up”; http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2012/06/27/155527365/visualizing-a-nation-of-meat-eaters

 

[2] “A Nation of Meat Eaters: See How It All Adds Up”

[3] “Major Land Uses”;

http://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/farm-economy/land-use,-land-value-tenure/major-land-uses.aspx

 

[4] “Overview of Greenhouse Gases”; https://www3.epa.gov/climatechange/ghgemissions/gases/ch4.html

 

[5] “Overview of Greenhouse Gases”

[6] “The Role of Livestock in Climate Change”; http://www.fao.org/agriculture/lead/themes0/climate/en/

 

[7] “A Nation of Meat Eaters: See How It All Adds Up”

[8] “A Nation of Meat Eaters: See How It All Adds Up”

Remodeling? Speed vs. Cost vs. Quality

For as long as people have been buying and selling goods orSpeed Cost Quality
delivering a service, the conundrum of price vs. quality vs.
speed of delivery has existed. When acquiring a product or
service, do you really want it to be the cheapest?
Jason entered the construction industry when he was a
teenager, in the “Hands On” labor environment, which is
something he is no stranger to. “Even though I have many
years’ experience in sales and project management now, I
am still taken by surprise when customers expect the whole
package at the lowest price and as soon as possible.” Of
course, everyone wants the best deal or the best value for money on the best product in the least amount of time. That is human nature.  A reality check is in play when doing things right.
Jason and Penny have been studying building science for over 15 years, specializing in building
defects, Indoor Air Quality, Sustainability, Non-Toxic and No VOC materials, they have noticed
that this is a specialty field that takes a lot of time, patience, commitment, and most of all,
knowledge to fulfill their clients wants, needs and wishes.  This is where BEST-Techs Contracting
does its job. We offer a quality green renovation at a standard higher than our competition. We are committed
to providing our clients with energy efficient, Sustainable, Green Renovations that provide great Indoor
Air Quality, for a fair price and great value. We test, measure, and prove our End Results! These same standards should be applied by all contractors, but very few care about quality, due to lack of education and homeowner “Low Bid” mentality. Let’s take the car industry for instance. Lexus, Mercedes Benz, and BMW are top sellers in their
respective segments, but they are certainly not the cheapest. Yet people buy them, because they are known for quality and reliability. BEST-Techs Contracting wants to set the same example for the construction industry, “Do It Right The First Time Around!” says Jason Scheurer, Lead Building Scientist and Forensic Building Investigator. There are expectations to be made from our clients and we need to reach, and exceed them. The same should be applied in all industries, especially when choosing your contractor for doing green renovations to a house, as this is the biggest purchase the average person will ever make. So, you want SPEED, COST, AND QUALITY all wrapped up into one? When looking for your next contractor of choice, consider what matters most to you. Look to the graphic above for your expectations, which two will you decide on for your home’s investment?

 

Written by: Jason Scheurer, Jason@BEST-Techs.org
OC & LA – (714) 330 – 4500 | VEN & SB – (805) 308 – 6392

“HOME ENERGY SCORE” What is it?

score_graphic

Imagine you went to buy a new car and one of your first questions to the salesperson is “what is the estimated miles per gallon (EPA)”?  The salesperson says “I don’t know?” You ask yourself, “Why should I buy this car if I don’t know what the EPA is?”  This is the common practice for buying homes, we do not know what the utilities will cost us each month, but it could be a utility guzzler! The point of the story is, we should all know how much this home will cost us to heat, cool and more importantly how safe is the inside air we breathe?

A Home Energy Score (HES) is a testing method used since its conception in 2010 by the Department of Energy (DOE) to rate homes on their perspective utility use. Shouldn’t you have all the facts about a home before you make the largest, most important investment most of us will ever make? You are told what the cost is, how much the property taxes are, and the interest rate you will pay. How about the monthly cost of utilities (gas, electricity, water) associated with living in this new home you want to purchase?

BEST-Techs Contracting believes in testing, measuring, and proving your homes overall energy performance, and making that home a comfortable and safe environment for all the occupants, which means you and your family! When thinking about a Home Energy Score, you will want to understand what is involved and how this will change your thoughts on upgrades for your home. Let’s start with a few, very important points to keep in mind.

  1. Provide homeowners and homebuyers knowledge of home energy efficiency and cost-effective improvements to reduce energy use and costs
  2. Encourage use of reliable, consistent home energy efficiency information in real estate transactions to inform decisions, and build a market value for comfortable, energy efficient homes
  3. Integrate the Home Energy Score into financing products to help drive the market for comfortable, energy efficient homes
  4. An energy efficiency score based on the home’s envelope (foundation, roof, walls, insulation, windows) and heating, cooling, and hot water systems
  5. A total energy use estimate, as well as estimates by fuel type assuming standard operating conditions and occupant behavior
  6. Recommendations for cost-effective improvements and associated annual cost savings estimates
  7. A “Score with Improvements” reflecting the home’s expected score if cost-effective improvements are implemented

 

*information provided courtesy of Department of Energy U.S.

https://betterbuildingssolutioncenter.energy.gov/home-energy-score/home-energy-score-about-score

Conclusion:

The Home Energy Score is a widely recognized and influential tool in the Real Estate market place that leads to an improved U.S. housing stock with better indoor air quality, energy performance, lower utility costs, and greater comfort as well as more efficient use of our natural resources.

It helps build market value for energy efficient Single-Family, Multi-Family and Townhomes that improve overall quality of life for the occupants.

California is a leader in many ways when thinking of Energy Efficiency, but there are many states that are leading the way when it comes to Real Estate and the purchasing a new home.  The great State of Oregon has passed a new law regarding the Home Energy Score and has now required new listings on single family residences to show their Home Energy Score.  To learn more about the Home Energy Score and how this will affect your potential buyer/seller of the property you are interested in, please visit the web sites below;

http://www.hpxmlonline.com/hpxml-datasets/bpi-2101/

https://energy.gov/eere/buildings/downloads/home-energy-information-accelerator

http://www.homeperformance.org/who-we-are/what-is-home-performance

https://betterbuildingssolutioncenter.energy.gov/home-energy-score

 

Types of Air Conditioners [INFOGRAPHIC]

The year-round heat in Southern California finds most Orange County homeowners running their AC units on a constant basis. Still, many don’t know how their air conditioners work. Contrary to what most people assume, air conditioners actually pull hot air out of the home instead of just blowing cool air in.