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How does Pretty Good sound?

Would a "pretty good" house be good enough to earn your money? How would you feel about buying or building a "pretty good house"? That's the code standard, a Pretty Good House (PGH), would be just north of Code Minimum.

Think I'm kidding? Serious industry thinkers wonder whether PGH should be a certification or standard, like LEED,  net zero, etc. to inform consumers about what they're buying. For those who don't know, building TO code is a minimum legal standard of structural integrity, performance and safety. PGH would be just above that lowest bar. Sound appealing in exchange for your hundreds of thousands?

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How cool is this?

LIFX reinvents the light bulb                                                                                                                             

Image courtesy LIFX

Our industry is innovating everything from insulation to lighting and wood screws. Construction and design are experiencing a renaissance of new products, applications and methods and I'll share what we're discovering as we scout and research for our clients.

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Why do you cost more?

Wish we had a dollar for every time we're asked, "Why are you expensive?" Answer: quality, the best or nothing, we refuse to do anything inexactly. The time, labor and top shelf materials required to do excellent work costs money. True craftsmanship isn't cheap, there are no "good deals", you're not buying a can of corn.

If you don't read another sentence, understand that, more than most industries in which you get what you pay for, most often you get LESS THAN what you pay for in construction because companies squeeze profit margins to win business and then take shortcuts racing to completion within a cost intensive industry (e.g. labor, materials, equipment, company overhead). We go against the grain because we don't want to build slop that falls apart inside of seven years.

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A Nation of Old Homes

70s_house

Seen this house? Like me, you might've grown up in one, or now come home to it daily.
 
Did you know that well over half of our nation's houses were built more than three decades ago? With a median (i.e. halfway point) year built of 1974, the vast majority of our nation's residential houses are functionally obsolete and you are chucking money putting lipstick on a pig if you do anything short of a total gut and retrofit of an existing house. Building science has in fact changed that much in the last five years.
 
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Don't get green washed.


Feeling Green Washed? (A numbing sensation similar to cramming for finals.) Don't know what to believe about "going green"? And the alphabet soup of acronyms, how do you even remember much less choose?

I'll admit we do sometimes, keeping abreast of the alphabet soup of industry acronyms, certifications and designations. Below I've written a short glossary of some primary certifications (certainly not a comprehensive list). Bottom line, it's all good although skeptics argue the purported savings from "going green" are unverifiable and simply marketing fluff from industry participants trying to reinvent themselves post housing bubble.

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Smart Money Insulation

 

Money out the window, literally


Have a hunch you're heating and cooling the Great Outdoors? The wrong choice of insulation can chew your wallet, each and every month.

Home owners often treat insulation as an afterthought but it is arguably the most important building component for boosting efficiency and savings. Yet owners try to go cheap. After all, how sexy is insulation? Insulation isn't cool like geo-thermal or solar systems. You're just stuffing it inside the walls and between the joists where nobody sees it. Who cares? Just put anything in there so at least there's something between the inside and outside, and save a buck while you're at it, right?

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