(Houston, TX — May 1, 2012) The curbside appeal of your home contributes much to its perceived value. But what you don’t see can be equally important and will be more crucial in the coming years.
In its original version the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (H.R.2454) called for energy audits of real property. Meaning that, any home put on the market would be required to have an energy audit done and made available to the prospective buyers. This was also part of the original cap and trade bill that passed in 2009, but it was negotiated to be made optional at the states' discretion. That was in 2009 before the city of Houston ever experienced a rolling black out or faced utility bills like we are facing now.
As a nation we consume more energy (electricity) then we can produce. Over the past 20 years very few power generation plants have been built. Our last nuclear plant began construction in 1977 and came on line in 1986. Currently, consumption exceeds production. Due to this reality it has become necessary to change how we consume energy as a whole.
Coming down the road are changes to the national building codes which will include mandated energy requirements. They are scheduled to be to be implemented by 2015, and with them there will be harsh financial burdens if states do not adopt and enforce them.
Home ownership is often referred to as a financial investment. Now it is more critical than ever to make smart financial decisions based on the future value of your home and future regulations. Close by in Austin, Texas the City Council passed an ordinance in 2008 requiring an energy audit and disclosure of said audit to any potential buyers of homes 10 year old or older. Other cities across the nation have done similar things. With this information in mind it is becoming clear what the future will look like. Decisions about home improvements or energy upgrades today need to have future regulations in mind.
Making changes to an older home without the help of a professional that understands building science and the complete system can have devastating effects on its health and efficiency. A house is a system; all elements are connected and work together. You save money and improve performance when you take cost-effective measures that reduce building loads, and then install systems and appliances that are the right size to meet the reduced loads. In general, over-sizing worsens performance and increases costs. The most effective strategy for improving household energy efficiency is to first target your home’s envelope—walls, attic, windows and doors. Then improve the energy efficiency of systems such as heating, cooling, lighting and appliances.
There are resources available for the “do it yourself” type person to get a basic understanding of a home’s needs. Energy Star’s Home Energy Yardstick is a good—as well as educational—tool to show how your home performs today. However, for your investment in the future, it is best to consult a professional that understands the interactions of building science. Look for a third party energy consultant that works for you and provides no products or systems for the best unbiased results.
Allen Griffin Named February NAHB Remodeler of the Month
(Washington, DC — February 1, 2012) Allen Griffin of Gryphon Builders in Houston, Texas was named the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Remodelers February Remodeler of the Month. Allen Griffin, selected through a stringent judging process of NAHB Remodelers leadership and staff, exemplifies the best in the remodeling industry.
Allen Griffin is founder and president of Gryphon Builders and Gryphon Property Services. He is a Certified Graduate Remodeler, Graduate Master Builder, Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist, and a Certified Green Professional with more than 20 years of experience in the building industry. As a member of the Greater Houston Builders Association (GHBA) since 2000, Allen's commitment to raising the bar in his industry has led him to assist the organization in multiply capacities. He has served on the Membership Committee, the Custom Builders Council board of directors, the Education Committee, and has been on the Remodelors Council (RMC) board of directors for several years. In 2009 Allen served as the president of the RMC. During his presidency, the RMC received three national council awards for outstanding accomplishment in Membership, Charity Projects and Community Outreach.
In an ever changing industry, Allen demonstrates his commitment to excellence by embracing challenges as opportunities to improve his business model. Allen believes, “The evolution of my company is a direct reflection of my ability to adapt and my desire to do it better.”
The purpose of the NAHB Remodeler of the Month award program is to celebrate local, active remodelers who stand out because of recent quality work, customer service, community involvement, and dedication to furthering the industry. The winner, once selected by the NAHB Remodelers, is profiled in Qualified Remodeler magazine. Read the full interview here.
Volume Control Takes Top Honors at Texas Star Awards
Noted for Best Print Ad and Best Website Design
(Houston, TX — Oct. 31, 2011) Volume Control, a Houston, Tex.-based public relations and marketing firm, was honored for the “Best Print Ad” and “Best Website” in the Texas Association of Builders’ Texas Star Awards, held October 22 in Austin, Texas. The winning designs were created by Larissa Michael, president and founder of the company.
Since 1992, the Texas Star Awards have served as a tribute to excellence in the home building industry. The highly-coveted Star Awards are given annually to recognize superior work in home building, remodeling, sales and marketing, and development. The 2011 awards showcased the outstanding work of builders, remodelers, architects, designers, sales professionals, marketing professionals, construction professionals and industry leaders throughout Texas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Arkansas.
The award-winning print ad originally appeared in Houston Design Resources magazine. The ad was created for the Houston remodeling firm Gryphon Builders to highlight a major milestone for the company — completing the nation’s first Certified Green Renovation.
“We really wanted to highlight the green features of this beautiful renovation,” says Larissa Michael, president and founder of Volume Control. “Gryphon Builders went to great lengths to maximize space within the home, to re-use and re-purpose materials, and to increase energy efficiency using the latest technology. The result was an amazing transformation from a single-story 1950s ranch style house, to an environmentally friendly two-story, five bedroom, traditional home in which the family can grow for years to come.”
“After meeting with the owner of Gryphon Builders and discussing strategy, it became clear that our goal was to not only create a more-user friendly website, but to create a real educational resource for homeowners who are considering a remodel,” adds Michael. “In just a few short months following the site redesign, we have seen a dramatic increase in web traffic, consumer inquiries and search engine rankings. We are so honored to have been named Best Website by the Texas Association of Builders.”
Held in conjunction with the Sunbelt Builders Show, the Star Awards are judged by a distinguished panel of industry experts. With more than 100 categories to choose from and hundreds of entries each year, it is an impressive feat to be identified as a finalist, let alone a winner. Volume Control would like to congratulate all of the winners and finalists who were recognized for their commitment to excellence in the industry.
About Volume Control
Volume Control is an advertising, marketing and public relations firm, with a focus on clients in the homebuilding and remodeling industry. The company was founded in 2009 by Larissa Michael. She is a graduate of the University of Texas with a degree in Communication and has been working in the building and design industry for nearly 15 years. As a member of the GHBA Remodelors Council, Larissa earned her Certified Graduate Associate (CGA) designation, served as the 2010 Membership Committee Chair, and currently serves as special committees — Marketing Coordinator. Larissa received the 2010 Texas Association of Builders Star Award and the 2010 GHBA Houston’s Best Award for “Best Print Ad — Remodeler.” She was also awarded the 2011 Star Award for “Best Print Ad” and “Best Website.”
"Our classrooms can be just as important as our horse arenas in enriching the lives of the children and adults we work with everyday," said Pat Roddy, SIRE managing director. "People from all across the United States and many other countries will come to SIRE to be trained and certified as Therapeutic Riding Instructors, taking their skill and knowledge home with them. This allows SIRE to make an impact on the quality of life for people with disabilities far beyond our local community."
The one-day project provided improvements on two buildings and included new window installation, new floors, new paint interior/exterior, new ceiling tiles, new A/C and replacing the fluorescent lighting to LED lighting. Many of the materials were donated at cost by GHBA members.
ABOUT SIRE:SIRE is a facility that improves the quality of life of clients with disabilities through therapeutic horseback riding and related activities. Sire's services also positively affect the families of clients, volunteers, and staff members. The program is fundamental to successful physical, scholastic, social, and psychological therapy. SIRE, a 501 c 3 organization, is a rehabilitation charity that utilizes therapeutic equestrian riding to help disabled children, adults and wounded military veterans. Working with donated horses and largely volunteer staffing, SIRE helps nearly 200 disabled folks each week in the Houston area.