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What Should You Consider Before Remodeling?

You know those family meetings round the kitchen table when there’s a big decision to be made? When families discuss remodeling, the questions they most often consider (and fight about?) come down to the color of tiles and suchlike “make-up” changes. But the conversation should go deeper and ask questions that relate to your family’s lifestyle and plans.

The big question is – how do you want to live in your home? If you think carefully how you want to live, work, play – simply, be – in your home before the remodeling starts, you reduce the risk of unpleasant surprises and disappointments once the work is over.

Here are some guidelines on what you should consider with your family and remodeling contractor.

  • How long do you plan to live in your home? If you don’t think you’ll be in your home for many years to come, big changes are not advisable. But, if you want to live there for decades or even leave it to the future generations, forward thinking is in order. This affects the organization of space which should suit toddlers, adolescents, working people and elderly parents.

If you plan on staying, top quality materials will have the best return on investment. This includes durable materials for roofs and floors, isolation, stone exterior, solar panels, etc.

  • Are there any health issues to be considered? Do you have parents who plan to age at home? Then the rooms and spaces they use should be on one level. Avoiding stairs minimizes the risk of injury.

Or maybe you have a family member who is physically challenged? Adapting the main level so that the bedroom and the bathroom are on ground level will be most effective. This should also include ramps, reachable light switches, handles, and so on.

  • What’s the flow of your family life? Does your home feel cramped and crowded because you are all running into each other? Are you feeling stressed for being late every morning because everyone is getting in your way in the kitchen and the bathroom? Or maybe that big dining room is standing there deserted? Analyze the dynamics of your family – who uses what spaces and when.

Flow in the house can be improved without taking walls down and adding new ones. A better organization of rooms and storage spaces can bring a lot of order.

  • Are you energy-efficient? Energy upgrades are a great investment in your home and quality of living in general. Producing clean, renewable energy could save a great deal of money that can be put to much better use than paying utility bills. Plus, even if you decide to move in the future, energy upgrades increase the value of your property.
  • What is good about the home?  You like the community? The neighbors are fantastic? The garden is your haven from everyday stresses? It’s good to know what you like about your home and what you would like to stay the same.
  • Is remodeling better than moving?  This connects to the previous consideration. Moving has upfront costs like transportation, closing and broker commissions. The new home could also require redecorating and new furniture. Maybe there is major repair down the road or energy upgrades to be installed there. Make sure what pays off.

Similarly, you should be precise when talking with your remodeling contractor. They should know what your realistic budget is and they should be able to help you maximize the outcome at a cost that is affordable for you.

As a small preparation before meeting the contractor, we recommend you brainstorm your family’s current and foreseeable future needs. Comb the list and set priorities. What would be the crucial improvements to your life quality? Once you have these answers straight, it’s much more likely you’ll be happy and satisfied with the results.

 

What is HVAC?

The Facts on HVAC

hvacHVAC might sound like an obscure or strange word, but in reality it’s nothing too fancy, and it’s something that everyone is familiar with in this day and age. In fact, all it really stands for is Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning.

When considering remodeling, it’s important to understand the fundamentals of HVAC, because it greatly affects the design of any building and its energy usage.

Heating

In most houses and buildings, central heating is used as the primary method of heat distribution. This means there is a boiler, furnace, or heat pump in a certain room that is responsible for distributing heat to the rest of the rooms. Heat is typically transferred by convection in these systems, meaning via liquid or gas.

Unfortunately, to heat enough of the convector for transfer to the air of the entire building, it requires a lot of energy, which will typically come from gas or electricity.

Geothermal heat pumps are gaining a lot of popularity, however, because they utilize the temperature of the earth, which means a 30 to 40% lower energy cost and a minimized effect on the environment.

Ventilation

Ventilation involves the changing of air in any space to control for temperature, moisture, gases, and other unwanted particles. In larger buildings, mechanical ventilation is necessary in order to maintain appropriate indoor air quality. It typically requires the use of fans and/or central air handling units for very large spaces. A more eco-friendly and cost-effective option is natural ventilation by means of windows and/or trickle vents, which let rising warm air escape and cooler air enter through lower openings.

Air Conditioning

The simple definition of air conditioning is the removal of heat from a space. The refrigerant of the air conditioning unit begins in a gaseous state and is pumped to a high pressure and temperature by a compressor. It is then converted to a liquid when it loses its heat to the outside and cools via a heat exchanger or condensing coil. The refrigerant in its liquid form then reaches another heat exchanger where it evaporates. As it evaporates, it absorbs heat from inside, thus cooling the room or building. While air conditioning can be rather expensive and energy-inefficient, solar energy, geothermal heat pumps, and fans can be used to keep temperatures down while being mindful of the environment and your energy bill.

How Can We Help?

At GGR Energy, “green building” is what we do. Whether you want a lower energy bill or you just want to be environmentally conscious, we can help you design and construct the right home or building for your needs, and it all starts with the proper heating, ventilation, and air conditioning.

Why you Should Go Solar in the Summer

Benefits of Going Solar in Summer

solarThere are many benefits to installing a solar power system to your home. It is a good thing to do at any time, but can be especially beneficial during the Summer months. Solar energy will save you money, reduce summer time blackouts and care for the environment and the future generations.

Save Money

One of the most significant benefits of going solar is saving money. You will dramatically reduce and possibly eliminate your current electrical bill. This is good for the present but also for the future. Switching to solar energy protects you and your family from the annual rising costs of electricity. It is predicted that monthly electric costs double approximately every 10 years, and with the current state of the energy economy, this rate could accelerate even faster. Save money for you and your family by going solar this summer!

Reduce Energy Use

Summer time months are notorious for rolling black outs because of all the air conditioner use. By going solar you will benefit not only your home but your city’s power grid by not contributing to the summer time air conditioner energy drain. By adding a solar system to your home you will no longer use as much, if any, of the city power and this will help the functioning of the whole system. In the Summer months there is abundant sunshine so your solar energy system will be plenty full to power all of your summer time energy needs. In the event of a city black out, your home will not be affected because you will have your own energy source.

Help the Environment

The best benefit of going solar is the benefit to the environment! By changing your power system to solar power you will reduce your carbon footprint and the pollution in the environment. This will help keep the air clean, reduce greenhouse gasses and positively impact the environment now and for future generations.

There are many more benefits to going solar in the Summer. Not only will it save you money, reduce energy use and help the environment, but it will also increase the value of your home! Contact GGR to help you harness the natural energy of the abundant summer time sun and switch to a solar energy system for your home.