Thursday, July 7, 2011

Princeton Dormer Addition Update: Roofing

We'd like to take some time to reintroduce you to A&E's Princeton Dormer Addition.  We began renovation just a few weeks ago as we removed the area for the new dormer, water shielding the area, and created partition walls for the interior master bedroom.
A&E Princeton Addition
Back View of House
As you can see in the picture above, A&E completed the roofing, giving this house a fresh  new look and weather sealing & insulating the new dormer.

In addition to roofing, we focused on the details and worked with our subcontractors to complete HVAC and electrical work.  Due to this, we were able to have the plumbing inspected by this afternoon.

In terms of design, A&E worked skillfully on the front porch, creating a classic columned entrance that compliments the existing split level structure.
Front Porch with Columns

Keep reading next week for an update on this addition as well as some before and after photos of our progress.

Be sure to also check out A&E's portfolio for before and after photos of our most recent projects in the Princeton, Pennington and Hopewell area.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

5 Misconceptions about Home Energy Efficiency

With all of the recent attention on home energy efficiency, you might be overwhelmed as you wade through dozens of articles and news reports on how to cut energy bills or improve your home's performance.

With the vast amount of information available, myths and misconceptions are bound to arise.  Today we'll discuss the top 5 misconceptions we often hear from homeowners...Welcome to MythBusters: Home Energy Edition with A&E Construction!

1. Replace Windows First

There are different solutions for every home, but rarely does a homeowner need to replace all of the windows in a house.

If windows are very old or leaking, replacing windows can be beneficial, but what's more important first is making sure your home is properly air-sealed.

Instead of buying all new windows, ensuring your home is securely insulated is much more cost effective and is the first step to increased home performance.

2. Install Solar Panels

Simple measures like insulating walls and attic, sealing ducts, and installing Energy Star appliances give significantly more energy use reduction per dollar invested.

Solar panels are a costly investment and can cause problems for homeowners if they have to replace roofing after installing panels.

While they are beneficial, starting out with insulation and appliances is a more effective way to begin your home energy reductions. 

3. Check-Ups aren't Needed on Heating/Cooling Equipment

Ignoring heating and cooling equipment can result in future problems and unwanted costs.

Scheduling an annual pre-season check up is an inexpensive way to ensure that your home's furnace and electrical connections are operating smoothly.

Changing the furnace filter yearly and performing an air compression check up can be extremely effective to your home energy reductions. In addition to this, if you have heating and cooling equipment that is over 10 years old, you might want to consider upgrading your equipment with Energy Star.

4. Beware of Energy Audit Scams

When you schedule an energy audit, be sure that you're contractor is BPI certified (Building Performance Institute).  Another thing to watch out for is free audits or auditors who will simply walk around your house for 30 minutes, not testing any equipment.

A&E and other BPI accredited contractors will performance a comprehensive 3 hour energy audit on the inside and outside of your home.

A good energy audit will consist of combustion and safety testing where an auditor will check your furnace and hot water system to ensure that it is ventilating safely.

5. You Can Only Perform an Energy Audit in the Winter

You can perform an energy audit all year round with the same accuracy of information.  Whether you want to save on heating bills for the winter or cooling bills in the summer, a qualified home professional will find out exactly where you're losing energy and how to correct these losses.

If you're considering a home energy audit, check out our potential savings example as well as other frequently asked questions about home energy performance.