Modular Homes Lead Industry Green Building Efforts

Modular homes and custom modular homebuilders are quickly reinventing the homebuilding industry. Because of the focus on energy efficiency, architectural and

design communities worldwide are coming together to create innovative designs for homes of all shapes, sizes and tastes. Not only are modular homes providing

affordable housing solutions because they are constructed more quickly and at a lower cost than traditional site built homes, modular home builders are also

leading the way in sustainable new home construction and environmental preservation through green building.

Modular homes are constructed in pieces in controlled factory environments. Factory production means fewer accidents and mistakes and a more predictable product and time frame. The pieces are then shipped to the site where they are assembled. Because the pieces need to be shipped, they are built much stronger than traditional site built home structures and components, using ten to fifteen percent more construction materials than are normally used. Modular homes also offer a much higher quality control standard, with so many third-party inspectors, engineers and architects involved.

Since modular home builders provide 80 to 85 percent of the home, the buyer avoids the risk of giving money to a builder and not having the home built to their specifications, or of having their price inflated by numerous change orders. Additionally, unlike modular homes, site-built homes are exposed to unfavorable weather conditions during the construction process, making the home vulnerable to water or weather damage, and increasing the costs of the project by adding additional materials and replacement components. All of these cost savings are passed on to the consumer, giving them more home for their money, but also giving builders more leeway to incorporate energy saving building best practices and products and services into their construction processes.

For builders, most green building benefits come from then flexibility inherent in the design and engineering of modular home systems. Modular homes are built stronger that traditional homes. They produce less waste because of reduced construction time, and less time needed on a site means less damage to the home site and surrounding environment. In addition, the design flexibility and innovation combined with the use of non-traditional building materials enable homebuilders and designers to build around existing trees and wildlife, creating new homes that are less intrusive to their environments.

Modular, or systems built, components are pre-treated before they are shipped to the site. This pretreatment reduces the amount of chemical vapors that enter the home upon construction, resulting in better air quality from the beginning. In addition, the internal structure of the home is protected from mold or water damage by the tightly controlled environments within the factories. Because construction can be completed in a fraction of the time necessary for traditional homes, there is less site waste, less threat of internal air quality deterioration and reduced chance of structure damage.

Wood for home components is delivered to factories at pre-cut lengths to further reduce waste, and many modular homes factories and materials suppliers employ extensive recycling programs to reduce excess or return materials to the environment. Additionally, many builders take site selection into account to maximize natural lighting, heating and cooling capabilities, as well as other water efficiency, day lighting, ecopower, improved erosion control and environmentally friendly building materials considerations. Other green building practices include increasing slab insulation, using solvent-free foundation sealants, increasing fly-ash content in concrete, improving foundation drainage, providing ventilation for radon and other tactics.

The speed of construction reduces the cost of modular homes, making them an ideal solution both to current affordable housing needs worldwide and also to homeowners seeking relief from recent hikes in utility costs. The reduced construction loan costs and interest amounts combined with lower pricing per square foot as compared to traditional site built homes enables home buyers and builders to focus their home construction dollars on energy efficient water and power systems. These can be as simple as energy efficient water heaters and appliances, or as complex as solar panels or gray water systems.

Many modular homes today are being constructed in such a way as to maximize daylight and reduce or, in some cases, completely eliminate the need for electrical lighting during the day. For example, the Venice, California MCube, designed by Mdesigns, utilizes a Japanese shoji inspired construction with translucent light emitting walls that let in natural light without heat radiation. The house also boasts solar radiant-heated floors, solar heated water and photovoltaic roof panels. This is just one example of the innovative designs emerging from architects and engineers worldwide. Pictures of the house are available at inhabitat.com.

Custom modular homebuilders, such as Grant Smereczynsky, CEO of Building Systems Network, a custom modular homebuilder based in Atlanta, GA, are encouraging consumers who are not yet familiar with the options available in modular homes to educate themselves about the benefits of these advancements in engineering, architectural design and systems-based construction.

Serenoa Golf Club and Homes for Sale in the Residential Community

Breeze through a Realtor’s list of highly recommended Sarasota real estate offerings and it’s highly likely that homes in the Serenoa Golf Club would be among the listed. A hawk-eyed real estate broker surely won’t miss out on the factors that favor Serenoa homes for sale over any other golf community property in the Sarasota area.

The golf club, for one, is conveniently located near I-75 and Clark Road at the eastern part of the highway. With this location, transit to and from the development comes as very practical and expedient. In no time at all, the business, arts and entertainment districts in Sarasota and its suburban metropolitan centers are within easy reach by the community’s residents.

Moreover, this wonderful fusion of a residential subdivision and a semi-private golf course is well-maintained throughout its over two decades of existence. In fact, Serenoa has undergone a recent facelift which, among other things, further enhanced its clubhouse facilities.

A full bar is in place at its popular casual restaurant serving breakfast and lunch daily. This clubhouse has a pleasant lakefront view, making it a great place for special events. Its indoor banquet is roomy enough to accommodate up to 150 guests, and its roofed deck can also handle a gatherings or celebrations with about 50 guests.

Golf access at the Serenoa Golf Club is offered at reasonable daily rates, and during the summer, a special promo package of $22 includes unlimited golf, free meal, and a drink. The regular daily fees range from $30 to $65 depending on tee times. Membership packages are even more alluring for their superb benefits such as unlimited golf and clubhouse charging. Exclusive of tax, the membership costs run as follows: Single-$2,800; Family-$3,500; Single Gold-$4,500, and Family Gold-$5,800.

The Serenoa golf course is an elegant design by M. David Allen, a master course builder. The layout has a set of four tee-boxes for variable approaches that can suit golfers’ skill levels. From the tips, it measures 6,270 yards and exposes players to a course rating of 70.7 and a slope rating of 128. The golf club also provides a pro shop, golf classes, and practice areas for putting, driving, and chipping.

The homes in Serenoa luxuriate amid the idyllic woodlands and serene lakes that contribute greatly to the old Florida feel sought by many northern home buyers. Real estate agents will often cite the generous space surrounding each of the homes in Serenoa. Built on lots ranging from one-half to one acre, the price points can go from the mid-$400s to over the $700s level, with floor plans at between 3,000 and 5,000 square feet.

The Deadly Secret That Lurks in the Early Toyota Motor Homes

To most people a Toyota motor home built in the 1980s looks like a cute and charming recreational vehicle. And for the most part this is exactly what they are. But there was a fatal flaw built into these early 1980 motor homes was that caused heartbreak and disaster for hundreds of people.

As the motor home size was expanded past 18 feet, the original Toyota pickup chassis which was only rated at 1/2 ton capacity, was simply not up to the job. Specifically the rear axle began to fail. When this happened bad things occurred to good people.

Completely empty, these little campers have a marginal carrying capacity for people and possessions. This meant that the typical motor home left the driveway in probably an overloaded condition. This was normally not a problem because the performance of the camper insured that slow speeds would be maintained on the trip. The hundred horsepower four-cylinder engine would not move three tuns of house in a very fast pace.

As the size of the camper increased it wasn’t long until the rear axles began to fail. The camper manufacturers compensated by adding a second set of wheels on the axle. This created a dual set of tires on each side. However this did not correct the problem. The problem lie in the fact that the bearings and the axle itself were just not heavy-duty enough to carry the load.

Excessive load caused the bearings to overheat, fail, and then disintegrate with disastrous consequences. Victims of this problem reported that the wheels would actually leave the truck. This was such a serious problem that the national highway safety administration became involved and issued a recall of certain Toyota motor home models.

There was no way to predict when the axle would fail. Some units failed almost immediately, some units went thousands and thousands of miles, and some units have not failed yet. However any Toyota motor home without the heavy-duty axle should be considered as a suspect vehicle.

There is an easy way to tell if your Toyota RV has a safe axle. First of all, all models of Toyota RV built after 1987 were built with the upgraded safe axle. All models of Toyota motor home built in 1984 and before are required to have the upgraded axle due to the safety recall. In 1985 and 1986 some models were built with the upgraded safe axle and some were not. So it is up to you to be careful when inspecting the axle on any Toyota motor home you are considering to buy.

A simple inspection of the axle itself will tell you if it is safe or needs to be replaced. The safe axle will have six lug nuts, the unsafe axles were built with five lug nuts. The safe axle will also have a protruding center hub that has a ring of nuts around the outer edge.

If the axles on the Toyota motor home you are considering only have five lug nuts and the center does not stick out and have a ring of bolts on the center hub, keep looking for another camper to purchase.

Finding Homes for Sale That Meet Your Specifications

If you are looking at purchasing a new house, then you will want to consider several areas. You will want to consider the style, size, neighborhood, and cost of the homes for sale where you are looking. These are the normal areas that you would want to think about when looking for the right house.

The style of a house is something that everyone thinks about even if they do not realize it. You may not realize that you care about it being a craftsman home or a cape cod but the reality is that everyone probably has a preference for a certain style of home. Some styles may be more readily accessible than others, so it might take some work to find certain styles. Another consideration with the style will be whether or not you have any family members with special needs. If this is the case, then you may look for houses that only have one main floor.

The size of a house is another consideration if you are looking at homes for sale. If you have a family, then you might want a certain amount of space to accommodate your whole family. You might want to have an extra space for guests or even an entire apartment area for them. You may want to have a lot of storage space, so you may choose to have a full basement dedicated to mostly storage.

The neighborhood is something else that you need to think about if you are looking at homes for sale. A lot will depend on your reason for having a house where you want it. If you are single and work downtown, then you might look for a loft close to work. If you have children, then you may want a home close to the school and in a safe neighborhood. If you are retired, then you might choose a quite area of homes that would be too expensive for a young family.

Cost is something else to look into as you look at homes for sale. You will need to look at your budget to decide if you can afford the mortgage on the home that you would like to have for yourself and/or for your family.

After looking at several areas, you will hopefully find the homes for sale that will meet the needs that you have for you and your family. It will take some research, but you should be able to get all of the information that you need if you work at it.

Focus on Green Homes – Landscaping to Save Energy

Landscaping a home in green manner is an important part of planning and building your green home. Landscaping consumes a lot of water and maintaining your yard can produce a large amount of carbon monoxide. Green landscaping means selecting plants that reduce the amount of water used to keep them alive.

For the lawn, plant grass that grows very slowly and requires very little water to survive. By planting this type of grass, your lawn would not need to be mowed every week, but maybe only a few times a summer, reducing the amount of exhaust from your mowing activities. Also since water bills are usually calculated by consumption, the less water the yard requires, the lower the water bill.

For the plants and bushes around the home, select hardy plants. Hardy plants are less susceptible to diseases and damaging pests, allowing you to forego or eliminate pesticides and fertilizers. The less of these chemicals that are used the better it is for the environment, reducing the amount of chemicals that run-off of plants during a rainstorm and soak into the ground. This type of run-off of pesticides and fertilizers has the potential to contaminate ground water and drinking water.

Another major consideration with green landscaping is the heat island effect. The heat island effect is heat from the home, from man-made surfaces around the home, and from the lack of appropriate landscaping. The combined heat from these sources can increase the temperature in a community noticeably. Heat islands can cause increased use of air conditioning, increased air pollution and greenhouse gas production, and lower water quality.

For your green home, this effect can make your heating and cooling systems less effective. The right types of landscaping can help prevent the heat island effect. For example, planting our hardy trees, shrubs and plants at least 24 inches away from the house can break up the heat transfer mechanism. In addition, planting deciduous trees on the west side of your green home or along driveways and walkways can be very effective for cooling the house and yard. Plan ahead, though. Trees and bushes growth over time can interfere with the effectiveness of any solar panels that are installed.

When planning your landscaping, plan to install a rain barrel as well. Why not store some of the run-off rainwater for eco-friendly, free water for watering the lawn, plants, scrubs, and trees? In addition to a rain barrel, the ground can be shaped to direct water coming from the roof and the ground during a rainstorm to collect around the plants, shrubs, and trees in the yard. This allows the earth to do your work for you. As the water from the storm drains into the ground, the last part of the ground to dry out is the part of the lawn that received the most water, reducing the amount of tap water needed.

By taking the extra time to address these issues during the design of your green home, you can achieve a beautiful, very low maintenance and environmental-friendly landscaped yard.