A while back we talked about the design-build system’s main advantage, the personal element. While that is a huge bonus, it is far from the only thing that makes a design-build system superior to other forms of construction. Every part of a project – planning to execution, money and time – is more efficient than with the architect-contractor method.
A design builder is an expert in both architecture and on-site construction. This one simple fact makes a world of difference. Just because an idea works well on paper doesn’t mean it will work well in execution. Conversely, when you focus solely on construction, it is easy to lose site of the ‘larger picture’ of the project as a whole. Having expertise in both fields allows the design builder to put together a plan in detail right from the start, rather than having to go through multiple revisions.
This difference goes right to the bottom line of the project. Less revisions and changes to the design means less time taken to build a project and, in the end, a lower cost. When a plan is put together with a detailed knowledge of the crew building it, the designer can play to their individual strengths. This keeps the construction moving along smoothly, which again will lower the cost and time taken for a project.
At North Twin Builders we have the expertise to get your project off the ground and keep it moving. Our knowledge of the trades, coupled with a desire to keep the client involved in every phase of the project, keeps our customers happy and our projects in demand.
Thank you for following along on our blog.
North Twin Builders is proud to partner with Focus On Energy
to help our clients become more energy-efficient!
Focus On Energy has been working with Wisconsin residents since 2001, achieving international recognition for its efforts. The program has worked with over 2.7 million households in the state, helping homes and businesses save $730 million dollars! The following is a list of programs and ways that Focus On Energy can help your household become more energy-efficient.
1) Home Performance With Energy Star Program
- Schedule a home energy assessment to determine how much energy your home is using. Following the recommendations given, you can add value to your home, reduce your energy bills by up to 20%, and improve the comfort of your home. The best part – this program takes household income into consideration, making energy-efficiency attainable for everyone!
2) Express Energy Efficiency Program
- Focus On Energy will do a walk through your home and explain ways to reduce your energy use, as well as installing free products, such as energy-efficient light bulbs or shower heads. This 45 minute appointment will help you save money right away!
3) Lighting And Appliance Program
- Did you know that Energy Star washers can use 35% less water and 20% less energy than older models? Or that your lights make up 20% of your electric bill? This program can help you find and take advantage of savings on Energy Star products.
4) Appliance Recycling Program
- Don’t know what to do with that old fridge you recently replaced with an energy-efficient model? If it’s still running, call Focus On Energy and you could receive a $40 reward, along with the reassurance that your appliance will be recycled responsibly. If you haven’t replaced your old model yet, check out the Refrigerator Retirement Savings Calculator on the Focus on Energy website.
5) Attic Air Sealing And Insulation Cash-Back Rewards Program
- Improperly insulated attics can allow heat to escape your home. Hire a Home Performance with Energy Star Trade Ally to insulate and seal this trouble area and you could be reimbursed 75% of the cost. And we promise that you will notice the difference in your home’s air temperature and thus heating bill!
6) Residential Rewards and Enhanced Rewards Program
- Combining energy-efficient heating and air-conditioning units with #5 above can save you up to 20% on your utility bills. An Energy Star furnace alone can save you as much as $400 on your electric bill in a year. As if these aren’t enough reasons to upgrade, Focus On Energy offers cash-back rewards for buying energy-efficient models!
7) Geothermal Heat Pumps Program
- If you are considering renewable energy options, this program is for you! Check the equipment specifications and you may be eligible for a $650 cash-back reward.
8) Solar Electric Systems Program
- Solar electric systems use sunlight to generate electricity, and can significantly reduce your energy usage and costs. This program rewards homeowners for their steps towards energy-efficiency with a cash-back as high as $2400.
9) Focus On Energy New Homes Programs
- By hiring a builder that partners with Focus On Energy (North Twin Builders!), you ensure that your new home will be at least 10% more efficient than building codes require. With attention to energy-efficiency throughout the design and building process, your contractor can help you increase the indoor quality of air, improve comfort, and save you money in the future on utility bills. To ensure that your home meets the efficiency requirements, a building performance consultant will conduct two separate site visits to inspect your home and perform tests. Your home will receive a Focus On Energy New Home certification, which can increase your homes long-term value and future sale potential.
And Last But Not Least… Focus On Energy Business Incentives
- Many people in Vilas County own small businesses or rental buildings with multiple units. Focus On Energy has programs to assist businesses of all size, including energy assessments and custom options.
Contact Focus On Energy Today To Learn More
Visit the Focus On Energy website or call 1-800-762-7077
With our alliance to Focus On Energy, North Twin Builders is able to better provide our clients with informed options when remodeling or building a new home. This, in turn, gives our clients the chance to save money on future utility bills while making their home more comfortable and lessening their environmental footprint. The bottom line – you see the Focus On Energy logo on our website because we are dedicated to helping our clients become as energy-efficient as possible!
Make The Commitment to Energy Efficiency Today - Contact North Twin Builders!
North Twin Builders knows that your home is your sanctuary, somewhere you feel safe and something you take pride in. Whether it is a new custom home or long standing cabin, a home maintenance schedule can extend the lifespan, help you save money, and ensure the safety of your family!
Why Do I Need A Home Maintenance Schedule?
Picture this – you are settling down for a nice winter evening at home after a hard day’s work and, out of the blue, you feel a drop of water hit your forehead. You look up and see a small drip coming through the ceiling. Belatedly, you realize you should have inspected the roof before all this Northwoods snow settled in. You sigh, put a pot under the drip, and resolve to call a roofer once the snow melts. However, before you know it, the ‘small drip’ has spread throughout the room. Now you are facing a major roof replacement project that will cost thousands, and that’s without serious damage to electric wiring or mold issues.
Performing routine home maintenance can prevent a costly issue from popping up at the most inconvenient time. Thorough inspections can reveal potential problem areas that can be solved with minor repairs, often that a home owner can perform themselves. Even small projects that require calling in a professional are more cost effective if taken care of in a timely manner.
Performing seasonal maintenance tasks can also help you extend the lifespan of all the appliances in your house, as well as helping you save money on utility bills. And when you live in an area that winter weather lasts more than a season, you can’t argue with the importance of keeping that pesky heating bill down. More importantly, neglecting home maintenance can result in injuries along with unforeseen expenses. Fires starting due to neglected clothes dryers cause $75 million dollars in damages a year, countless injuries, and even death. All of which could have easily been prevented!
When Do I Need a Home Maintenance Schedule?
The answer is now and always! Even a new home requires general upkeep. This is even more important if your home was built a couple decades ago. Buying or building a home is a costly investment, and one that should be protected.
The middle of a long and extremely cold Northern Wisconsin winter may not be the right time to perform all of the tasks that need attention, but it is perfect for planning ahead. Take advantage of the weather and spend some time developing a maintenance schedule that will fit into your busy life.
How Do I Make A Home Maintenance Schedule?
Make a list of the items that need to be taken care, decide when each should be accomplished and figure out a system to make sure you follow through. The majority of maintenance only needs to be performed once a year, and spring and summer are a great time for these things but others need to be done once a month or several times a year.
To help you get started, read through the following list for some tasks that should be included in your maintenance schedule. Every home is unique, so any complete list should be personalized.
- Perform an inspection of your roof and attic space. Check for leak sources or visible wear. Clean off debris and trim branches that can cause damage. Pay special attention to your chimney. Schedule a chimney cleaning.
- Clean, inspect and repair gutters.
- Walk around the outside of your home, watching for chipped paint or breaks in stone foundation.
- Check decks or patios for loose boards. Clean and re-stain as needed.
- Perform air leakage tests on doors and windows visually or with the aid of incense. Replace weather stripping or caulk as needed.
- Inspect window screens for damage that will allow pests access. Repair or replace as needed.
Although a home owner can perform most maintenance tasks on their own, there can be a need or benefit to calling in a professional for inspections, repairs or remodeling. In the above listed tasks, for example, a roof inspection should be completed on occasion by a professional with the right equipment and technical knowledge.
The appliances and major systems:
- Check all HVAC filters monthly and replace as needed.
- Ensure that all heating vents are clean and unobstructed.
- Call a professional annually to fully clean and service heating systems.
- Inspect water heater – check that the temperature is no higher than needed. Watch for any dripping. Flush out completely once a year.
- Vacuum and clean refrigerator coils (you can save $100 a year by ensuring your fridge is running at its best).
- Check and clean dryer vent and all exhaust vents.
- Inspect fire extinguishers monthly for adequate pressure and visible wear.
- Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors several times a year, and replace batteries twice a year.
Get Started Today:
- Regularly check for icicles that can damage home.
- Inspect tubs and showers – re-caulk as needed. Remove shower head and clean sediment.
- Check grout in bathrooms and kitchens to prolong tile life.
- Test all water valves – turn off and back on to check for problems and extend life.
- Inspect indoor water pipes for drips. Check all nozzles and drains for proper functioning.
- Defrost all freezers to get rid of buildup and increase performance.
- Deep clean oven and range hoods.
- Visually inspect basement for signs of mold or other problems.
How Do I Stick To A Home Maintenance Schedule?
Try writing out a schedule on a calendar and placing in a spot you will see frequently. If you are a spreadsheet lover, set it up on your computer divided out by task, time you would like to accomplish, and when you last performed the task. You can include notes on any issues you found and a plan for follow-up.
Luckily for today’s busy home owners, there are apps available to help you. Check out the BrightNest app, which covers home maintenance and organization. The HomeSavvy app allows you to customize your maintenance schedule and set alerts, as well as gives you DIY tips. Or try MyHouse, where you can customize a task list and set reminders.
Develop your home maintenance schedule, figure out what system works best for you, and follow through! And then -
Congratulate Yourself On Being a Responsible Home Owner!
For more helpful tips and DIY advice, check back with the North Twin Builders blog frequently!
One of our two new apps are available at both app stores.
This particular app easily allows you to keep up with our blog, social media and Phelps area activities. – The next app will be available in a full version really soon.
The iTunes version can be found here.
The Droid google play version can be found here.
If you have any suggestions for improvement please email me at Build@NorthTwinBuilders.com
Quality and attention to detail.
As any good builder will tell you, one sure sign of quality construction is simply how long a building stands. Shoddy workmanship, sub par materials and under-skilled workers all lead to the same bad end. When a home is still standing in its original state decades after construction, it is easy to tell that care and concern went into the entire process of building.
Long-term quality comes down to two broad areas; design and materials. Material quality is the more straight forward of the two. By using materials specifically suited to different purposes, it is simple to slow or halt physical damage over time. By making a higher quality construction right from the beginning, it is possible to lower the maintenance and upkeep costs well into the future.
The less obvious area is in the initial design. When the home is first coming together on paper it is the perfect time to look further into the future. By making specific design choices that increase energy efficiency, insulation and slow long-term environmental damage – all before the first nail touches wood – a builder can substantially increase the lifespan of the home.
While these materials and design choices might seem to increase the cost of the project, that is rarely the case over time. Even in the first few years, lower utility and maintenance costs for an energy-efficient home will add up quickly. The real impact comes over the lifetime of the construction; fewer repairs, less upkeep and lower bills will very quickly outpace the initial increase in cost.
As our testimonial page reflects, North Twin Builders is a leader in quality and paying attention to detail. If you plan on building a home in Northern WI or Upper MI please stop by so that we can tour some of our homes. You can see and feel the difference!
Thank you for following our blog,
I hope everyone likes this or at least finds it interesting. I created (with some help from a third party software) an additional app for North Twin Builders.
It will be available also be available in the app store in a week or two. The following link is a landing page and demo that also links you directly to the stores.
But if you have some other device that doesn’t need Apples app store you can download it and check it out right now.
Be easy on me! The first time I created an app and uploaded it to the stores. Would like your feedback too. ~ John
Good afternoon everyone. For a full length video of the Discover WI video of our home town you can follow this link. It sure is a nice area and that is why so many people have vacation homes here and live here.
If you like our area perhaps you can share this with your friends too. Thank you. ~ John
Here is a mobile app we are developing to help clients and the general public. The app will help them formulate their ideas when building a custom home or remodeling their home. As a general contractor I am always looking for was to help my clients through the building process. ~ John http://youtu.be/K7ZdZ90_y3k
Understand Levels of Energy Efficiency when Building a Custom Home in the Northwoods of Wisconsin
An energy efficient home contractor can design and build a house that will be as energy-efficient as you want it to be. But understanding the difference between a residence that is merely well insulated and one that will help you really take a big chunk out of your utility bills can be tough for the average man or woman to understand. There are three commonly accepted levels of energy efficiency in new home constructing: light green, medium green, and dark green.
Building your home to minimum codes commonly includes a few energy-efficient requirements (light green).
Installing higher quality windows that are better sealed, employing the right insulation for the spaces you are insulating, and making sure that everything is effectively sealed and caulked are three good ways to improve the comfort level of your home, and bring down the costs of your energy bills (medium green).
Energy-efficient building strategies at the dark green level may depend on where you are situated. Energy-efficient home building at this level can include top-of-the-line energy-efficient windows, foam and sheet styrofoam over the homes exterior, heat pumps, solar panels, windmills, and geothermal options (dark green).
How Energy Efficient Do You Wish Your Home To Be?
An experienced energy-efficient home builder can pose particular questions to figure out the best energy-efficient home building strategies for your home. These include questions like: How green do you want your home to be? Do you want your home to be as energy-efficient as possible? Are your energy efficiency building needs limited by price? Choose An Energy Efficient Home Contractor with a proven track record for quality energy-efficient homes. As a licensed energy-efficient home contractor, we can design new homes designed with the highest standards of energy efficiency, saving you money for years to come.
As a good energy-efficient home contractor we employ dedicated professionals who continually strive to improve their home building services and knowledge of energy-efficient technologies. Green home building does not necessarily mean higher costs for construction either. Much of it depends on trained individuals who pay attention to detail when they work.
As a green home builder we are able to assist you in getting every possible tax incentive benefit, and you can gauge the quality of their customer service during the bidding process by asking how much they are willing to help you understand that process and take advantage of every potential benefit available to you in here in Northern WI and Upper MI.
Contact us and let us be your energy-efficient home builder today!
How many times have you heard the old joke, ‘that must have been built by the lowest bidder,’ when looking at crumbling building, a drafty home or broken infrastructure?’ While that is rarely the actual reason for such situations, it’s a sad but true fact that some companies cut corners to find the lowest price point for a contract.
Before choosing anyone for a project, it’s important to know exactly who you’re dealing with. When you research a company, look at every aspect of their business. Far too often, a client is lured in by a final dollar amount and they skip past the steps leading to it.
One of the best sources of information is former customers. Look for testimonials or go out and talk to people that have worked with the builder in the past. When a builder has years of past jobs and a long line of satisfied customers, you know that you will get exactly what you want with no strings attached.
That’s the way we look at things here at North Twin Builders. We WANT you to talk to our former clients; we WANT you to look at our track record of successful projects. Those things tell you more about us than anything else. When a builder’s bottom line looks too good to be true, make sure you find out how they plan to get there.
Thank you for reading through our blog.