Real Deal

The Sentinel-Record - HER - Hot Springs - - Contents -

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s con­cerns about en­ergy ef­fi­ciency and “be­ing green” grow, more and more home builders are turn­ing to new ma­te­ri­als and new tech­nol­ogy to help con­sumers save en­ergy and cut their home util­ity bills.

One pro­gram that be­gan in 1992 by the U.S. En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency is the En­ergy Star Pro­gram which is a vol­un­tary pro­gram that helps save money through more en­ergy ef­fi­cient ap­pli­ances and elec­tron­ics.

“We do en­ergy star ap­pli­ances in our kitchens, which means sav­ings,” said Kris Tor­torice, a Real­tor with Malt Realty for six years, about the homes built at For­est Lakes Gar­den Homes.

In ad­di­tion to En­ergy Star ap­pli­ances in­stalled as stan­dard in most new homes to­day, those at For­est Lakes Gar­den Homes are built with ra­di­ant bar­rier sheath­ing un­der the roof­ing with keeps the at­tics about 30 de­grees cooler in the sum­mer than one built with­out the bar­rier, Tor­torice said.

Be­cause the ra­di­ant bar­rier blocks heat from en­ter­ing the home dur­ing warm months, and keeps heat from es­cap­ing dur­ing cold months, less en­ergy is needed for heat­ing and cool­ing, which re­sults in re­duced car­bon emis­sions and a health­ier en­vi­ron­ment.

Along with the ra­di­ant bar­rier, the homes are built with more in­su­la­tion than

re­quired by build­ing codes, Tor­torice said.

“We use more in­su­la­tion than what the code re­quires and we also in­su­late the in­te­rior walls for sound proof­ing,” she said.

Tor­torice said homes built at For­est Lakes also in­clude a mois­ture bar­rier un­der the bricks, stone and stucco to keep mois­ture from pen­e­trat­ing the walls of the home.

“It’s a bar­rier we put around the house when it’s built. It has a huge war­ranty on it and it’s re­ally good,” she said.

Along with high ef­fi­ciency heat­ing and air con­di­tion­ing units, the homes also in­clude tan­k­less wa­ter heaters, which can re­duce en­ergy con­sump­tion by up to 40 per­cent by heat­ing wa­ter only on de­mand and avoid­ing standby loss. Since the wa­ter heater only heats wa­ter when it’s needed, for as long as it’s needed, it shuts off when there is no longer a need.

“They are re­ally en­ergy ef­fi­cient. They don’t hold any wa­ter, but they don’t pro­vide in­stant hot wa­ter. How­ever, it is end­less. So when you turn it on and purge the lines to get the cold wa­ter out, when the hot wa­ter gets there you could run it all day and never lose hot wa­ter,” Tor­torice said.

A re­cir­cu­lat­ing func­tion is avail­able as an up­grade to the wa­ter heater so in­stant hot wa­ter is avail­able, Tor­torice said.

“To­day, ev­ery­one is go­ing green,” said Kathy Bon­ner, also a Real­tor with Malt Realty.

“When you can save on en­ergy costs, that is what ev­ery­one is go­ing to and it makes good sense to do that. We don’t com­pro­mise on qual­ity of con­struc­tion. Up­grades are avail­able, but there is no com­pro­mise on the qual­ity of con­struc­tion,” she said.

Bon­ner and Tor­torice said in­stalling “green” fea­tures adds a lit­tle to the cost of a new home, but those costs can be re­couped in just a few years, and they make a home more at­trac­tive to fu­ture buy­ers.

Kathy Bon­ner and Kris Tor­torice

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