Welcome to the Cape Cod Builder blog

Energy Code Changes - Again? Really?

Posted by REEF Custom Homes on Tue, Feb 07, 2017

Here's some very important information that you should know if you ever plan or building, remodeling or even owning a home here on Cape Cod! The State of Massachusetts has been working to adopt the International Code Council Building and Energy Codes since 2008/2009, moving away from our old "Version 6" of the building code, which had been in place for several years and was unique to the state. Since 2008, the state has moved quickly to not only adopt the International Code Council regulations, but to continue to update those regulations so we can be on par with many other states allowing us to use the latest and greatest versions of the code.

You may also have noticed that the cost of construction has also increased dramatically during that time, and a fair amount of that cost of building or remodeling a home can be attributed to the energy code compliance requirements of the IECC. Well as of this year, 2017, the state is planning to finalize the code versions using the 2015 codes, with Massachusetts amendments.

So what does this all mean? Under the 2015 Codes, we will now be held to the an extremely high standards of energy efficient construction in all new homes and renovations. If you are lucky enough to live in a "Stretch" energy code town (Such as Truro, Mashpee, Wellfleet and Provincetown) your project will have to meet the highest standards of construction in the state. Furthermore the 2015 codes provides energy rating credits for "green" power generation, i.e. solar panels or windmills, and may mandate design requirements such as a "solar ready" roof areas, which means roofs will have to have designed for future solar installations and provisions for electric vehicle chargers in every new home.

State of MA Energy Code Update and Summary

Overall, it's a great step towards energy efficiency and promotes renewable resources and green technology for new homes. Although these sorts of provisions will have a cost, visual and aesthetic impact, there will be net long term benefits from these new regulations.

If you are considering designing and building a new custom home, vacation home, major renovation or addition, you'll want to know how these regulations will impact your project. Feel free to reach out to the team at REEF today for your initial consultation. Click here to Contact us!

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Tags: energy efficiency, Insulation, energy code

15 Point checklist for your new Cape Cod bathroom

Posted by REEF Cape Cod's Home Builder on Thu, Feb 07, 2013

Creating special spaces for our customers is one of the real joys here at REEF Builders. Lots of time and attention is paid to bathrooms. A Master or Guest Suite, or Cape Cod Cottage is not complete without comfortable, pleasant bathrooms. A bathroom renovation is an exciting task. But before jumping to choosing the latest tile or bathtub design, there are some less exciting things to consider so your project turns out just the way you dream it. Because renovating a bathroom can be overwhelming, time-consuming and costly, here is a simple 15-point checklist to make sure that your project stays on track and the renovation runs smoothly.

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15 Point Checklist for your new Cape Cod Bathroom

Tags: energy efficiency, Cape Cod Builder, Bathroom Remodeling, cape cod custom builders

5 Simple Steps to Improve the Energy Efficiency of your Cape Cod Home

Posted by REEF Cape Cod's Home Builder on Thu, Jan 24, 2013

Cold winter days turn our attention to energy efficiency. How can you make your Cape Cod Home energy efficient? It's surprising how much energy (and money!) can be saved by taking a few simple steps. Here's a great list of 5 simple projects that will increase the energy efficiency, comfort, and value of your home.

Cape Cod Home

5 Simple Projects to Improve Your Home's Energy Efficiency

Tags: Cape Cod Home, home improvements, energy efficiency

Choosing Windows for your Cape Cod home

Posted by REEF Cape Cod's Home Builder on Fri, Jan 18, 2013

Windows are bigger than ever today. They play an increasingly important role in helping our customers maximize the value of their home by welcoming light, opening vistas, and creating interesting, inviting spaces. There are myriad options, from decorative to functional. Some of the energy efficient models may even qualify for energy rebates. Many of our customers build or re-buld their homes around views of Cape Cod Bay, Vineyard or Nantucket Sound, marshes and bogs. Here are some great ideas for using windows to create truly special spaces.

Factors to Consider when Choosing Windows

A tub with a Cape Cod view...

Tags: cape cod waterfront homes, energy efficiency, building on cape cod, Cape Cod Design Build

Net-Zero Engery Use for Your Cape Cod Custom Home

Posted by Matthew Teague on Mon, Dec 03, 2012

   Green construction is still a big trend in home building, and we here at REEF have continued to monitor trends so see when it might be economcally feasible to build a "net-zero" home.  The "Net-Zero" concept is quickly becoming a reality, when you consider a high performance building envelope, coupled with high efficiency HVAC and some form of energy production.

  Many of our New Home customers here on Cape Cod have decided to make an investment in these types of technologies, now that building codes have increased the minimum energy-efficiency guidelines to very high levels.  Here are some of the factors your might consider when planning your Net-Zero new home on Cape Cod. 

  1. Building orientation
  2. Efficient Insulation / Building Envelope
  3. High Efficiency HVAC and Control Systems
  4. Energy Production
  5. Use Monitoring

If you are considering Net-Zero for your New Home, Remodeling, or Renovation Project on Cape Cod, please CONTACT US  today to see how REEF can help!

Here is an article from Housingzone.com discussing Net-Zero concept: Net Zero Homes

 

Cape Cod Custom Homes

Tags: energy efficiency, Net-Zero

Best Insulation for your Cape Cod Home

Posted by Matthew Teague on Wed, Oct 31, 2012

    The building code in Massachusetts has changed several times over the last few years.  One of the biggest changes has been in the area of energy efficiency.  The new building code requires barriers against both heat loss and air infiltration, which can be very hard to acheive with traditional fiberglass insulation. One of the best solutions we have found has been Closed Cell Foam insulation.  Closed Cell Foam has a very high R-value, and creates an almost impenetrable barrier against water, moisture, and air infiltration.  We began using closed cell foam about 4 years ago and the performance has been exceptional. 

    One of the drawbacks of this type of insulation is that it creates such a tight building envelope, that it can prevent fresh air exchange in a home.  To eliminate this problem, we always recommend a heat recovery ventilator, also known as an air exchange system, that mechanically removes stale air and replaces it with fresh air from outside. 

Here are some of the other benefits of Closed Cell Foam:

  1. Stiffens the structual frame of the home
  2. Only insulation approved by FEMA for flood-resistant construction
  3. Insect resistant
  4. Low permeability and moisture absorption rates.

So if you are thinking of Building, Remodeling, or Renovating on Cape Cod, you should definitely look into Closed Cell Foam Insulation for your next project. 

Here is a brief article  from coastalcontractor.net on the subject that talks further about the benefits:  Closed Cell Foam

Closed Cell Foam

Tags: green homes, energy efficiency, Insulation

Energy Efficiency - Trends for New Homes of the Future

Posted by Matthew Teague on Fri, Oct 12, 2012

   When building a New Home, or Remodeling your existing home, a big part of the design process should focus on the heating and cooling systems.  New building and energy efficiency codes are requiring performance of both the mechanical systems and the building envelope that are far exceed anything seen in the past. The Department of Energy recently held the Building America Technical Update meeting in Denver and discussed current issues and future trends in building mechanical systems. It looks like there will be systems available in the future that could reduce overall heating and cooling energy requirements by as much as 90%. They also discussed innovative ideas like radiant floor cooling? Sounds interesting, and it is definitely something we here at REEF, Cape Cod's Home Builder will continue to investigate.

Here is the full article from builderonline.com: Energy Efficiency Update

Engergy Efficient Heating

Tags: energy efficiency, Heating and Cooling, HVAC

Cogeneration - Combined Heat and Power Systems for Energy Efficiency

Posted by REEF Cape Cod's Home Builder on Wed, Aug 22, 2012

What is Cogeneration?

 

I have a friend in central New Hampshire who heats her house all winter long with a wood stove.  What makes this notable is that her wood stove is also set up to meet her hot water demands.

This type of cogeneraticogeneration resized 600on is not that unusual, however, the practicality of this type of system is limited.

A more conventional and scalable cogeneration system, takes advantage of natural gas or propane as the fuel source.  As the fuel burns electricity is generated.  The waste heat produced from combustion is captured and used for water heating, space heating, pool and spa heating, and absorption chilling.

This type of combined heat and power system, or (CHP) has major potential commercial and residential applicability.

Currnet manufacturers of cogeneration systems include some well known companies, such as Honda http://world.honda.com/cogenerator/ and Cummins http://www.cumminspower.com/en/solutions/cogeneration/  As with any home energy system, a careful cost-benefit analysis must part of the analysis to determine the right way to meet your homes energy demands.

The home energy options that once were considered to be peripheral are now becoming more mainstream. This can be traced directly to these system's capacity for increased energy efficiency, their reduced environmental impact, and thier long term investment sensibility. 

Tags: energy efficiency, cogeneration, CHP system, combined heat and power system

Building Permits and Planning Your Cape Cod Project

Posted by Matthew Teague on Tue, Aug 14, 2012

   Planning and permitting your new home, remodeling or renovation project can be the most challenging part of the process. At REEF, Cape Cod's Home Builder, we provide complete, design, planning, and permitting services as part of our construction process. Any project, even the most simple, have several layers of permitting and design that must be addressed properly for the project to be a success.  Things like building codes, zoning by-laws, historic districs, conservation and wetlands, septic systems and energy efficiency all come into play.  Our team of experts has the experience, and technical knowledge to make the entire process predictable. 

If you are thinking of building a new home or remodeling on Cape Cod, you should take a minute and download our Critical Plannign Guide below:

Click me

And this could be your new home!

New Home on Cape Cod

Tags: cape cod homes, energy efficiency, design, permits, buying land

Green Building - Sometimes Greener is not Better

Posted by Matthew Teague on Tue, Jun 19, 2012

    We came across this article on www.greenbuildingadvisor.com that discusses long term air quality issues resulting from a poorly designed and installed exterior envelope in a Green building in Belgium.  In reality, all of the individual components used in creating the high efficiency home design, worked in theory, but in practice, and under poor supervision these products did not work well together.   The most important thing we have learned over the years has been how critical proper ventilation is to a healthy home.  Indoor air must move, and needs to move enough to evacuate built-up moisture in the home.  Properly insulating a Custom Home, or a renovation  is always tricky, but we have found that proven materials, installed properly always work. 

 

Here is the full article from GreenBuildingAdvisor.com: http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/blogs/dept/musings/belgian-passivhaus-rendered-uninhabitable-bad-indoor-airSheep Pond Brewster Front resized 600

Tags: green homes, energy efficiency, Green building

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