Friday, March 8, 2013

10 Amazing Technologies for Your Dallas remodeling Project

How to Make Your Dallas remodeling Project High Tech

When you are remodeling a single room or the entire house, or if you'd just like to upgrade some of the technologies in your house, check out this top ten list from PATH.  We have given you a thumbnail of each of their ideas.  You can check out the PATH website for more details on each technology.  

PATH selects these technologies for their notable strengths in one or more of the following areas: quality and durability; energy efficiency; environmental performance; safety and disaster mitigation; and affordability. 

10. Tubular Skylights



This is such a cool idea and what a huge energy saver.  Many homeowners love the natural light that the receive from skylights.  Skylights, unfortunately, do not distribute light evenly, and can be a source of energy loss due to there being no insulation.  Of course skylights are limited to use where the room has access to the roof.

On the other hand, using tubular skylights solves all of these issues. They resemble conventional fixtures in their versatility in providing light where needed.  There is no exposure to outside elements to create higher AC and heating bills.  And, they are commonly easier to install than traditional skylights.


Tubular skylights use roof-mounted light collector with a reflective sun scoop directing sunlight into a metal or plastic tube which has a highly reflective interior coating. The reflective tube guides the sunlight to a diffuser lens mounted on the interior ceiling. This lens spreads the sunlight evenly throughout the room. Some tubular skylights even have integrated electric lights so that the same fixture can provide light at night, too.  It is even possible on some units to limit the amount of light coming in during the day.

- See more at: http://www.toolbase.org/Technology-Inventory/Interior-Partitions-Ceilings/tubular-skylights#sthash.tPbsJMwf.dpuf


9.  Recycled Wood Floors

Old wood can be given a new life when it is recycled into "new" wood flooring. Recycled wood flooring is made from salvaged boards or trees that have been remilled into a product suitable for residential use. Since this wood came from old growth forests of America, it is often harder, denser, and more attractive in appearance than new growth wood. Recycling wood is more resource efficient than making new wood flooring. 

Specialty recyclers glean reusable hardwoods such as chestnut, hickory, cherry, and oak from old houses, buildings, and barns that are slated for demolition. Another source for reclaimed wood flooring is river and lake bottoms where wood from long-ago logging operations sank and has been retrieved from its underwater storage. Salvaged logs, beams, and planks are sent to a lumber mill where they are remilled into individual flooring pieces. The surface can be selectively finished to have a final appearance anywhere between rough-hewn to finely sanded and varnished. 

Recycled wood flooring can be installed in planks, similar to the flooring seen in historic homes. It can be milled into tongue-and-groove strips similar to modern wood flooring systems, with individual strips made in widths from three inches to sixteen inches. One company makes end-grain flooring by cutting oak beams 3/4-inch thick and placing them on the floor with the end-grain facing upwards, almost like laying tiles. 

Details available at http://www.toolbase.org/Technology-Inventory/Interior-Partitions-Ceilings/recycled-wood-flooring

Old wood can be given a new life when it is recycled into "new" wood flooring. Recycled wood flooring is made from salvaged boards or trees that have been remilled into a product suitable for residential use. Since this wood came from old growth forests of America, it is often harder, denser, and more attractive in appearance than new growth wood. Recycling wood is more resource efficient than making new wood flooring.
Specialty recyclers glean reusable hardwoods such as chestnut, hickory, cherry, and oak from old houses, buildings, and barns that are slated for demolition. Another source for reclaimed wood flooring is river and lake bottoms where wood from long-ago logging operations sank and has been retrieved from its underwater storage. Salvaged logs, beams, and planks are sent to a lumber mill where they are remilled into individual flooring pieces. The surface can be selectively finished to have a final appearance anywhere between rough-hewn to finely sanded and varnished.
Recycled wood flooring can be installed in planks, similar to the flooring seen in historic homes. It can be milled into tongue-and-groove strips similar to modern wood flooring systems, with individual strips made in widths from three inches to sixteen inches. One company makes end-grain flooring by cutting oak beams 3/4-inch thick and placing them on the floor with the end-grain facing upwards, almost like laying tiles.
- See more at: http://www.toolbase.org/Technology-Inventory/Interior-Partitions-Ceilings/recycled-wood-flooring#sthash.eW0PUNYg.dpuf
Solar Water Heating Is Cost Effective NOW!

Old wood can be given a new life when it is recycled into "new" wood flooring. Recycled wood flooring is made from salvaged boards or trees that have been remilled into a product suitable for residential use. Since this wood came from old growth forests of America, it is often harder, denser, and more attractive in appearance than new growth wood. Recycling wood is more resource efficient than making new wood flooring.

Specialty recyclers glean reusable hardwoods such as chestnut, hickory, cherry, and oak from old houses, buildings, and barns that are slated for demolition. Another source for reclaimed wood flooring is river and lake bottoms where wood from long-ago logging operations sank and has been retrieved from its underwater storage. Salvaged logs, beams, and planks are sent to a lumber mill where they are remilled into individual flooring pieces. The surface can be selectively finished to have a final appearance anywhere between rough-hewn to finely sanded and varnished.

Recycled wood flooring can be installed in planks, similar to the flooring seen in historic homes. It can be milled into tongue-and-groove strips similar to modern wood flooring systems, with individual strips made in widths from three inches to sixteen inches. One company makes end-grain flooring by cutting oak beams 3/4-inch thick and placing them on the floor with the end-grain facing upwards, almost like laying tiles.

- See more at: http://www.toolbase.org/Technology-Inventory/Interior-Partitions-Ceilings/recycled-wood-flooring#sthash.eW0PUNYg.dpuf8. Solar Hot Water

While it is not yet cost-effective for most homes to switch completely to solar power, the availability of small solar technologies is offering great savings to families, as well as the environment. In sunny Dallas, there is plenty of radiant heat to efficiently power your hot water usage, lightening your monthly power bill. The new solar water heater technology is much more discreet than the old ones, mounting flush with a home's roof and resembling skylights.


Call Unique Properties to discuss how solar technologies can be incorporated into your Dallas kitchen remodel or other building or remodeling project in the greater Dallas area. We can be counted on to deliver quality workmanship, with professional customer service, on time, and on budget.  


7.  Control All Your Lighting from a Computer or Cell Phone


Automatic controls for lighting, are now available for residences ranging from a simple outdoor light fixture with a built-in photosensor to whole-house programmable controls that can activate lights for various scenarios (e.g., time of day, vacations, entertaining) from a computer or cell phone.
Such centralized lighting controls are now affordable to the average homeowner.

Controls can:
  • switch lights on and off 
  • dim lights based on input from sensors which include simple timers
  • dim lights based on occupancy sensors to detect motion
  • use infrared radiation from a personal photosensors to operate lights or adjust light levels based on the amount of available daylight.
  •  operate lighting by voice or sound. 
  •  be managed via phone, computer, or a standard remote control.

Central lighting control systems can be "zoned" to provide pre-programmed lighting levels (often called "scenes") for different situations. Examples of modes that may be preprogrammed include: vacation, dining, entertaining, and morning.

Dimmer switches can allow one fixture to serve several lighting functions, such as task lighting at full ballast and decorative or safety lighting on a lower setting. Dimming increases lamp life and saves energy - a light that is dimmed by 25% uses about 20% less energy while lamp life is increased fourfold.

http://www.toolbase.org/Technology-Inventory/Electrical-Electronics/lighting-controls

Automatic controls for lighting, common in commercial buildings, are now available in a variety of options for residences ranging from a simple outdoor light fixture with a built-in photosensor to whole-house programmable controls that can activate lights for various scenarios (e.g., time of day, vacations, entertaining) from a central command center. Once a luxury for the wealthiest homeowners, centralized lighting controls are now affordable to the average homeowner.

Controls can switch lights on and off, or dim lights based on input from sensors which include simple timers, occupancy sensors to detect motion or infrared radiation from a person, or photosensors which operate lights or adjust light levels based on the amount of available daylight. There are also sensors, suitable for accessibility, that operate lighting by voice or sound. Many systems include the option of remote control via phone, computer, or a standard remote control.

Controls can be hard-wired or wireless. Most hard-wired controls rely on low-voltage CAT-5 wiring for signal transmission. However, there are a few products on the market that transmit signals over standard household wiring (and therefore require no additional wiring). Some systems are "plug and play" while other systems - typically ones that provide the most flexibility - require design and programming by the installer. All whole-house systems require some user programming, although programming can be as simple as programming a preset radio station in the car.

Central lighting control systems can be "zoned" to provide pre-programmed lighting levels (often called "scenes") for different situations. Examples of modes that may be preprogrammed include: vacation, dining, entertaining, and morning.

A manual-on occupancy sensor is a wall switch that will allow regular on and off switching of lights and can be used as an electronic occupancy sensor, as well. The occupancy sensor operates on low frequency sound waves that can sense movement in an area. After a prescribed time delay of six to fifteen minutes, dependent upon manufacturer, the sensor will turn off the light if movement has not been detected.

Dimmer switches can allow one fixture to serve several lighting functions, such as task lighting at full ballast and decorative or safety lighting on a lower setting. Dimming increases lamp life and saves energy - a light that is dimmed by 25% uses about 20% less energy while lamp life is increased fourfold.

One wireless controller, ideally suited for retrofit, works with a transmitter and receiver located in the same room. The transmitter is a push-button switch that generates its own electricity when pressed (and therefore does not require a separate power source such as batteries). The receiver is either an electrical outlet or a hard-wired device, and the light source (or any connected electrical device) can be toggled on or off via the transmitter switch. A single device or a group of electrical devices can be controlled via the toggle switch.

- See more at: http://www.toolbase.org/Technology-Inventory/Electrical-Electronics/lighting-controls#sthash.D0dWZVwj.dpuf

6. High Performance Windows/Storm Windows  


 In most U.S. climates, low-E coatings reduce heating costs associated with energy loss through windows by lowering the window’s U-value. Compared to tinted windows, solar control windows allow more natural light to enter the home, thereby reducing the need for and energy used by artificial lighting. Impact-resistant windows can prevent damage and injury by preventing panes from shattering under impact. Read more about high performance windows, as you consider technologies for your Dallas building or remodeling project.


5. Compact Fluorescent Lighting

We are living in a new era when it comes to lighting our homes. No longer is it enough for fixtures to be beautiful and illuminate our spaces. Now, we also expect them to use energy as efficiently as possible to help conserve the limited supply of available energy. In some areas of the country, energy efficient lighting is now required in new and remodeled homes. 

Compact fluorescent lamps are simply miniature versions of full-size fluorescent lights.          


They use an arc discharge through a phosphor-lined tube instead of heating a resistance filament which is used in incandescent light bulbs. A CFL consists of a lamp, lamp holder,
and ballast. The ballast provides the electrical control to strike and maintain the arc.  


Historically, fluorescent lighting’s bluish hue has turned people away from using the energy-efficient lighting in living spaces. However, the warm tones of newer compact fluorescent lighting make it almost indistinguishable from incandescent lighting.

4. High efficiency toilets

High efficiency toilets save water that would otherwise be wasted, not only reducing your utility bill, but also the amount of available fresh water used. At Unique Properties, we recommend using high efficiency toilets in your Dallas home, as water conservation is a significant issue in our city. Not only will you save money on your water bill, but you may be able to get a free toilet through the city of Dallas' rebates and incentives program.
Designed for water conservation, high efficiency toilets (HETs) have been defined by the plumbing industry and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as those that use an average of 20 percent less water per flush than the industry standard of 1.6 gallons (or, 1.28 gallons). Using a high efficiency unit (in place of 1.6 gallon flush units) can save up to 8,760 gallons of water each year for a family of four with average daily flushes of six each.
  

3. HVAC Sizing

Right sizing an HVAC system improves efficiency, reduces noise, offers greater cooling/heating comfort and saves money. Getting correct HVAC sizing is recommended by PATH as one of the smartest things you can do for your home. Many Dallas contractors will install oversized units, costing you unnecessary money. A larger unit does not necessarily mean it is cooling better. In fact, a properly sized unit will provide the best cooling of your Dallas home for the lowest cost and energy use. 


 
We can install a ventilation system in the crawlspace of your Dallas home! Contact Unique Properties for a consultation. 

2. Smartvent Ventilation/Ventilation Control System


Whether crawlspace ventilation is necessary (or even detrimental) is a hotly debated topic among building scientists. Especially in humid climates, ventilating the crawlspace often adds undesirable moisture to the area. New products provide mechanical ventilation that measure the moisture content of outdoor and crawlspace air and only provide ventilation when the outdoor air is drier than crawlspace air. Thus, systems prevent moisture from being added to the crawlspace due to ventilation.

This map shows areas where air commonly escapes in a house. A good contractor like Unique Properties can complete a full air sealing job on your house, saving you money. 

1. Air sealing

Reducing the amount of air that leaks in and out of your home is a cost-effective way to cut heating and cooling costs, improve durability, increase comfort, and create a healthier indoor environment. In addition to caulking and weather-stripping your home, PATH recommends these insulation alternatives to provide adequate air sealing in your home.

Conclusion

We at Unique Home Construction can provide you with any of a wide variety of new technology that will make life simpler, more convenient, the environment more pleasant, and cut your energy cost.  These can be done during a remodel, which is a great time to do them.  But almost any can be installed as a stand alone effort.

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