Transforming Reclaimed Wood into Beautiful New Floors

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Reclaimed Heart Pine Flooring

Wood flooring is widely considered to be a timeless design choice regardless of what your preferred design style may be. If you are considering replacing the flooring of your home in Atlanta with wood, consider using reclaimed wood instead of newer wood products. Reclaimed wood is salvaged from previous projects, and it tends to have much more character than new wood.  In addition to character, reclaimed wood offers several benefits to a home design:

  • Reclaimed wood is wonderful for the environment.
    The American Society of Interior Designers urges incorporating it into green design. It’s the most sustainable choice over petroleum-based materials like carpeting and vinyl. Rather than biodegrading in a landfill, it’s resurfaced and gets a second life as a beautiful wood floor.
  • Reclaimed wood is frequently stronger and more durable than fresh wood. That’s because in comparison, old-growthtimber has had time to grow stronger and is therefore harder than first-generation, virgin flooring stock. It’s as much as forty points harder on the Janka scale, which measures how much force it takes to embed a steel ball into a wood sample.
  • Reclaimed wood is beautiful and has unique properties. Sometimes it’s available in extra-long lengths or wide widths. It can be less expensive than virgin wood stock, and it often has special character and aging. After being refinished, some aged woods only require clear coating because the natural vintage tone of the wood is so appealing. And of course, it can be stained to any shade just like any other lumber.

Sixty percent or more remodelers and designers use wood flooring for kitchens and bathrooms, and reclaimed wood like oak and heart pine are durable enough for high traffic patterns. They can be sealed with polyester varnish, though bathrooms that have high humidity are better served with Tung oil, which is absorbed into the wood and maintains flexibility.

If you want to remodel your Atlanta home with reclaimed wood, Renewal Design-Build will be happy to help. Contact us for information or call us at 404-378-6962.

The Wonders of an ENERGY STAR Certified Refrigerator

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Renewal Design-Build

When we work with homeowners on green home renovations in Atlanta, one of our first suggestions is to replace old appliances with Energy Star Certified counterparts. Something as simple as replacing your old refrigerator with an Energy Star certified refrigerator can save as much as $1,100 over the refrigerator’s lifetime. This is just one of the wonders of a refrigerator that meets Energy Star certification requirements.

A Positive Return on Your Investment

While Energy Star certified refrigerators may cost more initially, you’re guaranteed to receive a return on your investment. Energy Star promises homeowners will recoup the extra money spent – and then some – within a reasonable amount of time through energy savings.

 

Out with the Old

Did you know 61% of Atlanta homes were built prior to 1960? Many homes have been passed down to newer generations with well-maintained infrastructures and appliances intact. However, appliances were considerably less energy efficient prior to the 1990’s. If you own a refrigerator that’s more than ten years old, you’re spending a minimum of $200 more on energy than you need to.

Reduce Energy Consumption

Energy Star certified refrigerators are guaranteed to use 15% less energy than models that aren’t certified. They use 20% less energy than standard refrigerator models that meet minimum government requirements for energy efficiency. That is a significant difference in energy usage and therefore energy costs.

To maximize energy savings and minimize your carbon footprint, consider the following:

  • Read the EnergyGuide label carefully to compare energy use with other models.
  • Top-mounted freezer models are 10%-25% more efficient than other models.
  • The biggest savings are gained by refrigerators in the 16-20 cubic feet range, so don’t buy more fridge than you need.
  • Ice makers and door dispensers use 14%-20% more energy.

Green home renovations are a great way to update your home and reduce your carbon footprint. Make an appointment for a Renewal System Solutions energy assessment to learn more ways your home will benefit from energy efficient modifications.

 

Hands-Free Faucets for a High-Tech Bathroom

bathroom remodeling design

Renewal Design-Build

Among the more popular home upgrades today are those that enhance the convenience of daily life at home and those that improve conservation of energy and water. One small yet significant home upgrade that accomplishes both greater convenience and improved water conservation is the hands-free faucet.

You have likely encountered hands-free faucets in nicer public restrooms, where they are used to improve sanitation.  In your own home, a hands-free faucet can be installed in the bathroom or the kitchen as a convenient way to avoid turning on your faucet with soapy or grimy hands, creating a mess on your faucet’s lever or handles.  These faucets have many additional benefits that make them a good choice for your green home renovation:

  • Hands-free faucets can help to significantly reduce the amount of water that you use in your home. The faucet automatically turns on when a user’s hands approach the sensing field. Once the hands are out of range, the faucet turns off the flow of water within seconds. The typical hands-free faucet uses approximately 30 percent less water than traditional faucets.
  • Though hands-free faucets are relatively new to home use, they can accommodate just about any decor style, coming in a variety of designs and finishes.
  • Many hands-free faucets offer a thermostatic valve, which helps control the temperature of the water being released from the faucet to prevent the potential for hot water scalding. For this reason, this intuitive technology is ideal for a home with young children or older adults. This feature also helps to reduce the amount of energy it takes to heat the water.

All and all, a hands-free faucet has a number of environmentally friendly advantages in addition to offering a sleek, intuitive design for your bathroom. To learn more about green home renovations in Atlanta, please contact us at Renewal Design- Build.

 

What's Involved in a Home Energy Assessment?

In recent years, it has become exceedingly more popular among homeowners to alter the way we utilize energy in our homes. Having an energy-efficient home is not only beneficial to the environment, and your finances but is also more comfortable for the homeowners.  Nonetheless, the overwhelming majority of households are not energy-efficient… yet. This is particularly true for those that were built decades ago.

But how exactly can you determine your home’s energy needs? A home energy assessment, sometimes called a home energy audit, will tell you everything you need to know. The Building Performance Institute is a certifying body for energy assessment contractors and provides standard and quality assurance for the energy retrofit industry.

Home energy assessments are a valuable tool to see where your home is losing valuable energy so that you can address the problem and make your home more efficient overall. A comprehensive assessment will usually involve lots of different facets.

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Renewal Design-Build

Insulation inspection

Insulation inspection is crucial to a thorough home energy assessment. It involves an evaluation of insulation levels in different areas and recommendations for improvement tailored to the specific house.

Heating and cooling system inspection

This portion of the assessment will assess all of the heating and cooling equipment as well as the duct system(s).  Duct leakage is often one the greatest areas of energy loss in homes.  An assessment will include combustion safety testing for gas-fired equipment and result in recommendations for maintenance of existing equipment, as well as planning for eventual replacement.

Lighting inspection

Professional home energy assessments will take into consideration the energy spent on lighting your home. This will include examining the currently installed lighting, and recommendations for more energy efficient options such as compact fluorescent or LED light bulbs.

Air leaks

Most homes have a lot of gaps or cracks that can allow air from the outside to enter your house and conditioned air to leak out, especially if the house is older. Such leaks can contribute to high energy bills, discomfort and poor indoor air quality throughout the year. The right tools can detect these leaks so that they can be sealed appropriately, cutting down on expensive energy loss.

While there are a few things you can do around your house to get some energy savings, a comprehensive assessment will always be your best bet. It’ll save you time, money and the headaches that come along with taking care of repairs yourself. For an energy assessment of your home in Atlanta as well as all of the improvement services, contact Renewal System Solutions at 404-378-6962.

Replacement Windows Catching on with Homeowners

Atlanta home remodeling

Replacement windows offer a handful of benefits for homeowners.

If you’re looking into green home renovations in Atlanta, replacing your windows is an excellent place to start.

In a list of home improvements based on their cost vs. the overall increased home value after one year, the National Association of Realtors estimates that replacement windows increase a home’s value by approximately 97% (against the original cost of the windows).

Beyond this financial benefit, utility companies often give rebates for new, energy-efficient windows, which can amount to hundreds of dollars at the year’s end.  And the more energy-efficient your windows are, the less you’ll be spending on heating and cooling. Leaky, poorly sealed windows lose heat in winter and cool air in summer, which translates to a tremendous loss in energy and money. After replacing old, single-pane windows with properly sealed double pane products, you’re more than likely to see a difference in heating and cooling costs almost immediately.

Besides the ability to save a few bucks, replacement windows are also safer for everyone in your home. That’s because older windows often contain some dangerous materials like lead paint. Once it begins to chip and flake off, it becomes a health hazard to children, adults and pets. Did you know that exposure to lead can have negative effects on your nervous, reproductive and cardiovascular systems?

Another danger posed by old windows is in the physical sense. Cracked and broken windows are also hazardous, particularly in winter when cold weather makes them more brittle.  Drafts from leaky old windows are another potential risk, increasing the likelihood of illnesses especially for children and the elderly.

Finally, if the financial savings, energy savings, and health benefits of new windows aren’t enough incentive, consider the aesthetic value of new windows.  New, freshly painted and sleek windows will automatically make your home more attractive inside and out.

Need help with updating your Atlanta home with a much needed renovation? Contact Renewal Design-Build to find out how we can help!

The Low Down on Dual Flush Toilets

We blogged recently about design features suggested for an aging in place bathroom. Such features make it easier for anyone in the home to maneuver comfortably and safely despite their age, height or physical condition.

Features that make for a green, eco-friendly or sustainable bathroom are a bit different, though. If going green with your remodel or renovation is a priority, you’ll want to pay special attention to elements that will help you to save water, energy and money. One of the easiest ways to accomplish all three in the bathroom is with a dual flush toilet.

dual flush toilets Atlanta

So what exactly is a dual flush toilet? Is it something that you should consider for your bathroom remodel?

dual flush toilet gives the user two flushing options with the ultimate goal of conserving water.  We live in a country with aging water infrastructures, which makes this type of toilet ideal as it uses less water than traditional commodes that most homes currently have.  In fact, older toilets use anywhere from 3.5 to about 7 gallons per flush (GPF). Dual-flush toilets can save upwards of 15,000 gallons of water per year, because they have two buttons – one for a light flush at 0.9 Gallons and the other for a heavy flush at 1.6 gallons.

Some counties in Metro Atlanta are already mandating the use of low flow toilets and will not even allow you to sell your home without first making this change. Therefore, if you plan to remodel your bathroom in the near future, a dual flush toilet can offer a modern upgrade while meeting necessary environmental requirements. Depending on which county you live in, you may even qualify for a rebate by opting for a low flow or dual flush toilet.

At Renewal Design Build, we have incorporated dual flush toilets in several of our Atlanta bathroom remodeling projects. We welcome you to view our extensive portfolio of bathroom renovations to see how a dual flush toilet can complement the overall design.

For more information about energy efficient improvements for your home, please contact us at 404-378-6962.

What's So Great About LED Lighting?

The trend of going green with home design, particularly with the use of energy-efficient materials, has exploded in recent years. And if you’ve heard of LED lighting, then you probably already know that it’s one of the easiest ways to decrease your carbon footprint at home.

What is LED lighting anyway? And what makes it so “green”?

LED lighting
LED stands for light-emitting diode. Light is produced as electrons that move through a semiconductor material to illuminate a diode. These diodes are small and can be integrated into small areas, allowing for a greater variety of lighting options such as under kitchen cabinets or in the shower.

LED lighting differs from the traditional incandescent lighting that you’re probably very familiar with. How so?

  • Appearance: LED light is much more natural looking and whiter than the yellowish light given off by incandescent bulbs, especially when those bulbs begin to age. The light from LEDs shine where it is pointed, unlike incandescent bulbs that shine in all directions. Smaller LEDs allows homeowners more flexibility, particularly because homes can now have extra lighting in places that may not have been as feasible with traditional bulbs.
  • Efficiency: Incandescent light bulbs release 90% of their energy as heat. Have you ever touched a hot light bulb? Ouch! In contrast, LEDs should be cool to the touch since little heat is released. And this also makes them safer than standard bulbs. LEDs require less electricity which amounts to about $5 per year for each bulb that is replaced with an LED fixture. That could amount to huge savings for the average household.
  • Life: The average lifespan of a regular bulb is anywhere from 750 to 2,000 hours. For Energy Star rated LEDs, you should between 25,000 and 50,000 hours of life. What a difference a bulb makes!

Is the lighting in your Atlanta home up to par? If not, Renewal Design-Build can come up with some energy-saving custom solutions for you… all you have to do is contact us!

Is Geothermal Heating and Cooling Right for Your Atlanta Home?

If you’ve made the decision to live an environmentally friendly lifestyle in 2013, one of the first places to start with this transition is your home.  While there are a number of possible green home renovations in Atlanta to consider, perhaps one of the more unique solutions is a geothermal heating and cooling system.

 

geothermal heating Atlanta

One of our major home renovation projects featuring geothermal heating and cooling.

Otherwise known as earth-coupled technology, the concept of geothermal heating and cooling utilizes in-ground pipes and a heat exchanger to accentuate the effects of the temperature gradient, therefore providing a superior and environmentally friendly heating and cooling solution for your home.  While this type of system can be quite an investment on the front end, it can offer a significant cost savings long-term if you plan on staying in your home for the next 20+ years.

There are several reasons why a geothermal heating and cooling system could be a viable option for your Atlanta home:

  • The government is currently offering a 30% tax credit for the cost of a newly installed geothermal system.  There is no cap for this tax credit, which will expire at the end of 2016.
  • A geothermal heating and cooling system will save a household approximately $1,600 during the first year that the system installed since there will be no need to pay for conventional heating and cooling.  Going forward, the average household can expect to save $500 a year from this type of system.
  • The average geothermal heating and cooling system can easily offer 20 years of reliable performance, therefore saving homeowners the unnecessary annual maintenance costs of $500 that would be associated with a conventional HVAC system.

Take a look at one of our award-winning projects in which we incorporated a geothermal heating and cooling system.

Renewal Design Build has completed a number of green home renovations in Atlanta and can offer several solutions to make your home more energy efficient.  For more information, please contact us at 404-378-6962.