Don’t suffer the pain of high energy bills in your next home

Do you cringe each month when your utility bill arrives in the mail? If high energy costs are getting you down, don’t blame your electronic devices. Heating and cooling are the largest energy expense for most homes, reports the U.S. Department of Energy.

If you dream of building a new, custom home, you must make some fundamental decisions about how the home will be built in order to avoid thousands of dollars in wasted energy costs each year.

When you picture your dream home under construction, you likely think of hundreds of wall studs (the skeleton of a building) creating the frame of your home, as that is how many U.S. homes are built — from tract homes to custom-built mansions. So-called “stick framing” has been the standard practice in home building since the 1800s. Yet, this method is notoriously difficult and expensive to make energy efficient, leading to high heating and cooling bills.

More custom home builders have discovered an advanced method of building that can help reduce a home’s heating and cooling energy consumption up to 60 percent compared to stick framing. The system is structural insulated panels (SIPs), which can be used to form walls, roofs and floors in big sections (24 ft. each) that install quickly and easily. SIPs panels are made when structural wood sheathing is laminated to a rigid foam core for superior strength and insulation. Compared to traditional two-by-four stud walls, SIPs have thicker and more continuous insulation for exceptional insulating power, and have far fewer gaps where heated indoor air can leak out.

Making a home airtight is the most critical thing you can do for high energy efficiency.  In one custom home Strong built for the O’Meara family in the snowy foothills of the Wasatch Mountains, the large SIP panels leave few spaces for gaps and help super-insulate the home. This high efficiency allowed the home to supply 90 percent of its heating and cooling needs through passive solar energy.

Likewise, when it came time to design her own home, Montana architect Becki D. Miller, AIA, used SIPs to help create a structure that she estimates is about 30 times more airtight than a conventional home. In addition to being energy efficient, Miller notes that SIPs help simplify and speed construction. “In one step, you can have the walls up and they’re insulated and sheathed,” says Miller. “With SIPs, we had the walls up in only two days.”

“While SIPs are an advanced building method, they’re not new,” says James Hodgson, general manager of Premier SIPs, a manufacturer based near Tacoma, Washington. “SIP homes have been built in the U.S. since the 1960s, but with new interest in energy-efficient construction, more people are asking for SIPs.” Hodgson notes that manufacturers continue to innovate with SIPs, including new types of insulating cores. His company’s Platinum SIPs, for example, use a new type of insulation that increases the panels’ insulating power by more than 20 percent.

Joseph Douglas Homes: Your Go-to Builder

When looking for the right home builder, you may hear many unfamiliar words and phrases. The confusion will often complicate your search. To simplify your journey, we will guide you through the process. Think of us as your as your go-to builder and your resource along the way!

Let’s start by examining the different types of home builders.

Custom Home Builder

A custom home is created exactly how the buyer wants it to be. Custom homes are one-of-a-kind, and unlike any other home in your neighborhood. If you want a palace, then you will get a palace! Custom homes are built on land the buyer owns. The builder and architect work closely with the customer to design and construct a home with every possible feature to meet the client’s needs. Custom homes are often built with the highest quality while offering the most customization. Changes can be made throughout the building process.

Production Home Builder

Production home builders design and construct many homes. The homes are built in developments, and on land the builder owns. Many production home builders build more than 100 homes each year. Many different types of homes are available, including single-family, condominiums and townhouses.

Production builders use standard plans. However, they also offer a variety of floor plans to choose from, various options and elevations. There will likely be multiple homes in the neighborhood that look similar to each other.

A range of features including flooring, appliances, cabinets, countertops and trim are also offered. These options may or may not increase the base home price, but they enable the buyer to pick items that they desire. However, the builder may or may not offer a selection of options that conform exactly to what the customer wants.

Semi-Custom Home Builder

Semi-custom home builders build their homes using existing models and previously used blueprints. In most cases, the buyer can adjust the plans to personalize the home to fit their specific wants and needs before construction. When construction begins, there is less flexibility to make changes.

The home can be built on land that the builder or the buyer owns. Semi-custom homes are usually offered at a very affordable price, giving them an excellent blend of value and personalization. The entire project is often completed very quickly compared to a full custom home.

So What Kind of Home Builder is Joseph Douglas Homes?

We are like the Swiss-army knife of home building; you cannot place us under one label. With over 20 years of experience and countless accolades and awards, we offer semi-custom homes and full custom homes. We have many customizable portfolio homes, but if you come to us and want us to build a castle for you, then say no more!

You might want to take advantage of a semi-custom home’s affordability and rapid construction process.

Maybe you want that jaw-dropping custom home, built with every top-grade element needed to create your masterpiece.

You have the power to choose whichever selection best aligns with your dream. Home buyers utilize our unique, in-house design capabilities to personalize one of our portfolio homes or design a custom home exactly tailored to homeowner specifications. Our advanced, three-dimensional software allows you to see your new home from any angle, inside and out, before it’s built. This in-house custom home design service is offered to all our customers at no additional cost.

So basically, you still get the perks of paying less on a faster time-frame compared to building a 100% custom home, but you benefit from having a much higher level of flexibility when it comes to the design. We have better pricing options than most custom home builders with our All Inclusive-pricing and our Guaranteed Pricing.