Log Homes and homes with timber frame may have the lowest carbon footprint of any other type of construction. A carbon footprint is the measurement of carbon dioxide released as a result of using a particular product or other human activity. Carbon dioxide is the main greenhouse gas released into the atmosphere and major contributor to global warming.
According to the research, that there could be up to an 88% reduction of greenhouse gases by using log or timber structural elements wherever possible rather than other conventional building materials. The reduction of greenhouse gases was achieved by replacing materials high energy, high CO2 production values, such as steel and concrete, with solid wood.
The report states that the production of steel and concrete materials accounts for 10% of the total global emissions of greenhouse gases. These materials have a high CO2 output created during the extraction of raw materials, refining, processing and manufacturing of the finished product. The energy that is use to process a tree into a finished sawed timber is about one-tenth of steel production.
In another report, the steel wall system generated 33% more greenhouses gases than wood and the concrete wall generated 80% more greenhouse gases than wood. The study also reported that the wood structures out-performed the steel and concrete houses in energy use and the impact on air and water quality.
Wood walls are typically framed or solid. Conventionally framed walls use a combination a several materials including processed wood products such as plywood or other laminated wood products, fiberglass insulation, exterior siding, interior sheetrock and some type of wall covering. Solid wood walls using logs or timbers have basically one product – the log or timber. The energy consumed and the CO2 produced in the production of logs and timbers is a fraction compared to the production of all the various materials in a conventionally framed wall.
Consumers are much more aware the environmental impact of using different materials and are being increasing sensitive to the hazards of exposure to chemically processed materials. Logs and timbers are 100% natural. As a natural product, they do not emit VOCs or other pollutants into the outdoor or indoor space. Trees are produced from soil, water and air combined with the energy from the sun, in a miraculous process of photosynthesis. Ecologically and environmentally, solid wood is the only building product that is renewable, biodegradable, recyclable, energy efficient and extremely beautiful.
Sustained and plantation forest growth actually reduces greenhouse gases by consuming CO2 out of the atmosphere while the trees are growing. Political pressure to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, such as the Kyoto Protocol, is sure to continue and it will become increasingly important to find solution. The use of solid wood construction such as log homes and timber homes can make a positive contribution.
The easiest and best way to achieve positive cash flow is to get a loan to purchase your homes with a ridiculously low interest rate for the first several years. These days in United States, there are many lenders offer “payment option” loans. These loans offer an optional minimum payment which results in very low monthly payments. As a general rule, these low rates last for about 5 years. During this period, the minimum payment increases year-to-year by a very small amount, usually no more than a factor of 1.075 per year.
If you take advantage of the minimum payment, you are actually charged a normal variable interest rate, but the interest you are not paying is deferred. At the end of the first five years, the interest you have not paid is added to the loan amount, increasing the loan amount by a relatively small amount. Ask your loan officer to calculate the exact amount.
At that time, the loan then becomes a standard variable rate loan. This is not a problem because you can assume that property value appreciation will be far larger than the deferred interest. With this plan, you should plan to refinance or sell the property within 5 years, which is commonly not a problem. Although this kind of loans may not be available in all states.
Another way to minimize monthly interest payments is to obtain an interest-only loan. The interest-only period of most loans is usually 5 to 10 years. You should plan on selling or refinancing by the end of this period.
The interest rate you pay and your eligibility for special loans such as a “payment option” loan is subject to your credit rating, your employment status and the financial reserves (savings) you have on hand. Do everything you can to get your credit scores above the average scores around 660.
Make sure you are steadily employed in one profession or engaged in your own business or profession for a period of at least one year steadily, and preferably two, and make sure you can prove it. Extended gaps in employment can make qualifying for a low interest loan much more difficult. Lastly, save up enough to make at least a 10% down payment. This will open the door to better rates.
Payment option loans as described above generally require 20% to 25% down payments. A down payment of 20% or more will also eliminate the need to pay for mortgage insurance. Mortgage insurance is charged by all lenders for loans with less than 20% down payment, even if it is not explicitly stated as such. The extra expense may be built into the rate (as is the case with so-called “sub-prime” or high risk loans), rather than stated separately, but it is there. Mortgage insurance covers the lender against the risk of a default, when there is not enough extra value in the property to pay off the loan and the expenses of foreclosure.
There are so many factors that need to consider when a deciding to finish a basement space for the home improvement project. It is even can be too overwhelming for the homeowners. What does your family want to achieve within the new basement? Are you looking for a play area, a family room, a work-out room, home theater, bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, wet bar, etc? Do you have the square footage required to accomplish what you want? How do you get started and how long will it take? How much will it cost and is it worth the money? What if there is a huge beam in the center of you basement? Do you have to have a building permit? Do you have to remove the items you currently have stored in your basement?
If these questions give you a headache, you need to find the right team of building design consultants to help you with the right decision. People often know they want their basement finished, but don’t know how to put it all together, whether they have the necessary space, or even how to get started. Specialty building design consultants are able to assess your needs and, after accurate measurements are taken, will design various blueprints to fit your requests. From these drawings you can choose the ideas that best suit your requirements and come up with a final blueprint. With this final blueprint in hand, your designer or builders will be able to determine what the cost of the basement finish will be, and provide a start-to-finish timeline on when the project will draw to a close.
When determining whether finishing your basement is going to be a worthwhile investment you should consider several variables. Are there comparable homes in your area with finished basements? How long do you intend to live there? Will the homes there increase in value, and if so, how fast? With a little bit of research you will be able to answer these questions, and decide if finishing your basement is right for you.
Sometimes a basement has restrictions that need to be considered during the design process. Such limitations can include steel columns or I-beams, HVAC trunks, underground plumbing, water meters, sump pumps, window wells, furnaces, water heaters, the height of your ceiling, and the existing floor conditions. Your design/build consultants should be focused on making these restrictions disappear into the architectural design of your basement while accomplishing your goal for the space.
Safety is an important factor to consider when construction of any kind takes place. Ensure all necessary building permits, applications for variances, and building code inspections are complete. All building and fire safety codes should be strictly followed, without exception.
In order for construction to begin all items in the basement must be moved to another location such as the garage or a temporary storage facility. This allows construction to be completed without damage to your valuables or disturbance to the construction team.
After thoughtful consideration of these questions, you’ll be closer to determining your family’s basement needs and how to fulfill them. Gathering all the information upfront will help you achieve those goals.
Each day, more and more people are getting caught in the work from home trend. Government as well as companies is quickly embracing this work from home business type as there are many benefits such as employee being able to spend more time with the family and saving office space rental as well. Likewise, the explosion of the internet has created many internet entrepreneurs who just need a computer in their home to operate a home business.
As home office is getting more and more popular, it is important that you design and setup your home office in a manner that is conducive and productive for you to work in. First of all, identify a location within your home where you can work properly without any noise or distraction. Is there a spare room in the house or is there any place where you can create a space to work in? Make sure that there is sufficient lighting during the day time.
Once you have chosen that area, consider doing up wall shelves to put your stationery and office document to save space on the table. As table space is usually small, consider buying a personal desktop computer or laptop to put on the table. More spaces can be created by attaching the house phone to the wall as well.
If there are clients coming to your place, you might want to add in a sofa at a corner and a few magazine racks for them to browse through the magazine while they are waiting. To give your home office a professional look, you might want to get creative and decorate the wall with nice paintings or paint the wall with a nice color. Try adding some greenery such as potted plant or flowers as well. By taking the effort to spruce up your office, you can enhance a more professional company image when client steps into your office.
As you can see, the expenses really do add up when you spruce up your home office image. One cost saving idea is to buy used office furniture. Check out places like the classified section in your newspaper, flea market or bankruptcy sales as you can get great bargain for your office furniture.
If there’s a water leak, repairing faucets, fixtures and pipes can be quite urgent and may require a plumber’s immediate attention. If you discover a leak, it is best to shut the water while waiting for a plumber to arrive, to prevent further water damage. The quickest way to stop water leaking from the pipes is to shut off the water supply from the main valve, then go to the lowest point in the house and open a faucet. Gravity will force the remaining water to drain out the faucet, minimizing the water that can escape through the leak.
Ask how to prevent recurring problems
For basic plumbing services, such as leak repair or installing new fixtures or traps, you’ll pay $50 to $65 per hour, plus parts if it is need a replacement. But if you call at weekend or night calls, it will cost you more. You can expect to pay as much as $100 just for the call and then $75 per hour. Even at these rates it is a good idea to ask what the options are for repairs and parts, and how to prevent any problems from recurring.
Calling a plumber for an emergency job will cost you more. But remember that you’re paying for their time to drive to and from your home, picking up parts and for them being on call. For a plumber specializing in drain-clearing services, you will pay at least $70 per hour for drain lines and $125 per hour for sewer lines. For weekend or night calls, add $30 per hour. But before you take out a second mortgage, you should know that most problems can be fixed in about an hour.
Hourly rates are often calculated differently
When hiring a plumber, it seems reasonable to hire a reputable, licensed plumber with the best hourly rate. The problem arises because plumbers count hours in different ways. For example, some plumbers will have lower hourly rates but charge for their driving time, while others charge what seems like an exorbitant hourly rate, but only start the clock once they arrive at your home. Others may charge an additional fee just for showing up. These are important differences to clear up before making your decision.
Have a plumber handy
When hiring a plumber, make sure they have a valid license, if required in your state. There is usually a phone number you can call to verify that the license is current and that there are no complaints against it. Any plumber you hire should have a minimum of $500,000 liability insurance and a current worker’s compensation policy. Once you find a plumber you’re satisfied with, keep his number handy for emergencies. In an emergency, it’s better to call someone who already knows you than a complete stranger.