Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Popular Green Building Trends to Look Forward to in 2020

Green buildings are not a new concept. We might not have been incorporating all the aspects of a green building but elements of it have been in use for the past few years. Green roofs and solar panels are the most common examples of popular green building trends if we talk about the last decade and their popularity will continue in the coming future. 

However, what about the new decade? What are the trends that are going to be a part of an energy-efficient, eco-friendly and sustainable building? Let’s dive in further to find out.




        Biophilic Hypothesis Interior Design

There is a connection between people and nature, a fact proved by scientists. Biophilia is not limited to green walls and indoor plants, it encompasses a genuine relationship between human soul and pattern, texture or rhythm of nature. Further, it offers other advantages like enhancing the decor, bringing positivity into the indoor environment and it makes the building look inviting as well.

       LED Lighting and LEED Certified Buildings

Reducing energy consumption is the next most promising sustainability trend. LED lighting and LEED-certified buildings are the most sought-after under this category. They have a great impact on how we consume energy. In reality, LED lights are less of a trend and more of a necessity as they consume 75% less energy and last 25 times longer than traditional lighting (like CFL and incandescent). Similarly, buildings that have been certified by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) save 25 to 30 percent energy as compared to conventional buildings.

       Renewable Energy Tech

Solar panels have proven to be an effective source of energy for home and office buildings. There are other renewable sources of energy as well in the market from which people have high expectations like wind turbines and geothermal sources. The trend of micro-generation of electricity using renewable energy technology seems to have a bright future. Moreover, the best thing is, it is quite affordable and installation costs are less. 

       Photo-Reactive Chemicals and Radiant Heat

More than 50% of the building's total energy is dedicated to cooling, heating and ventilation. Therefore, these have become the focal point in the industry. When it comes to cooling (HVAC), air purification is a patented area. Ultraviolet light along with photo-reactive chemicals technology is used which is similar to what occurs in the earth's atmosphere. Therefore, such tech-driven buildings reuse internal air facilitating reduction in heating cost.

        Green Insulation

We all know how important insulation is as a well-insulated building saves energy, lowers operating cost and makes people comfortable. And if the insulation method is green, the savings are multiplied. Polystyrene is a great green insulator despite being plastic. It creates a seamless wall and doesn’t allow air to penetrate. No insulator works like icynene, which when sprayed on walls, creates a thick layer like paint. Recycled denim insulation, cellulose insulation and fiberglass insulation fill walls and ceiling cavities effectively.

       Self-Healing Concrete

Cement contributes to global carbon emission but cement is what is used the most to provide strength & durability to a building. Further, it demands continuous maintenance and instant repair of cracks. All these factors have contributed to the need for finding eco-friendly concrete. Dutch and Belgian scientists have introduced the ‘living bacteria’ method. In this method, the bacteria lie dormant until and unless exposed to moisture. Moisture leads to germination and the spores feed on the calcium lactate found in the cement. As a result of this, limestone is produced filling gaps & cracks and allowing the concrete to self-heal.

All of the above green building megatrends aim at energy efficiency, judicious & maximum use of renewable energy and all play an important role in saving the environment.

Monday, 23 December 2019

5 Smart Ways to Automate Your Home

The fourth industrial revolution is on its way and automation is transforming not only workplaces but also homes. Automation is unleashing a new age and it is offering convenience and comfort like never before. Manufacturing has become automated, cars have become smart and next in line are homes. 

Home automation is the new in thing and there are several ways by which you can make your home a part of it. Here we have listed the top five ways which will make your home stand out.


1. Lighting Control

Smart lighting is a vital part of home automation. Smart lighting control systems come with several permutations and combinations. From a single light to all the lights of a particular area or even the whole house, you can control the lighting at your fingertips. You can control the lights remotely or pre-set them so that they turn on or off automatically when a person enters or leaves. Furthermore, with one push button, you can dim home theatre lights, close the drapes, operate the coffee maker and even control the entertainment system.

2. Security & Surveillance

It is another key player in the home automation arena which will ensure that your loved ones are safe in the house. The automatic security system usually consists of sensors, keypads, control panels, locks, access control and what not! For this, you can go either with the integrated wired system or automated wireless solutions. You will have complete control over the security system and can manage it remotely.

3. Home Audio/Video System

A smart home audio/video system is the key to world-class entertainment. Your entertainment will never be the same once you choose an automated home audio-video system. You will be able to distribute music from one location across the entire home with just a tap on your smart device. You could set different sound levels for the living area and other rooms. It can be installed easily in such a way that the home decor isn’t ruined. Additionally, you can expand the home theatre system via HDMI and distribution components of IR.

4. Robot Vacuums

This is exactly what you need if you are not a big fan of cleaning. This vacuum bot cleans your home while you enjoy your favourite TV show, read a book or while you complete a presentation. Some of them can be connected to the Wi-Fi network and further to a smartphone application. Advanced robot vacuums come with mapping features and they can find out on their own which part of the house requires cleaning. It doesn’t matter how big your property is or how the furniture has been placed, the robot vacuum will find its way.

5. Smart Sprinkler Controller

Whether or not you choose automation inside the home, you certainly should get it for the outside. In other words, it’s time to upgrade your old sprinkler controller. Your sprinkler system can be connected to the home Wi-Fi to get the latest weather report. Further, it can also determine if your lawn needs water and in what quantity. If your lawn has been watered naturally via rain then the smart sprinkler will ensure it doesn’t overwater the greens. 

Smart homes aren’t built overnight. These are just five of the most popular options when it comes to automating your home, in reality the list is quite long. You can choose from them as per your requirements and budget.

Saturday, 23 November 2019

7 Tips for Hiring a Reliable Home Remodeling Company

If you are looking for a home remodeling company, there are many which claim to provide top quality services. However, only the right one can offer you effective remodeling solutions and get you the maximum return on investment. Reputable home remodeling companies handling both exterior and interior remodeling service requests have extensive knowledge about the latest industry trends. In addition, they can fulfill your home remodeling needs taking into account your preferences, budget and aesthetic interests. When you start exploring the market for the best home remodeling company, keep in mind the following tips for picking the most reliable service provider depending on remodeling goals and other requirements. Here are the tips:



1. Ask Your Friends, Family or Colleagues for References

This is a good and safe way to find reliable home remodeling companies. Talk to friends, relatives, and colleagues who have used the services of a remodeling company and are satisfied with it. When you ask for references from people who are close to you, they usually give honest feedback and genuine references. Try this first to see if it works for you.

2. Do a Thorough Research

Another way to find a reputable home remodeling company is to do an exhaustive online search. Knowing more about the market will help you negotiate better. Check out online reviews. Use social media to ask your online connections and followers for suggestions.

3. Look for Accreditations 

This is a crucial factor when choosing the most suitable home remodeling and construction company. After shortlisting a few service providers, check if they have accreditations such as Better Business Bureau (BBB), National Association of the Remodeling Industry and Green certification.These accreditations are trust signals; testimonies that the remodeling company is genuine and a quality service provider as well.

4. Check the Company’s Certifications

After shortlisting a prospective home remodeling company, make sure you do a thorough credential check. Visit the company’s s office physically and do some online research as well. The best way would be to ask the company about the certifications and licenses it has and also ascertain the issuing authority. For example, in USA, it is necessary for construction and remodeling companies to have business license and permit from the US Small Business Administration. In addition, your remodeling company may need to carry ‘License and Permit Bonds.’ However, exactly which of the licenses, permits, and certificates are mandatory for the remodeling and construction company, will depend on the project.

Legal requirements vary from one state to another, so you can contact the local licensing division in your state and community to learn about specific requirements.

5. Verify Insurance Coverage

Always make sure you know what is covered by your insurance and the business insurance of your home remodeling company. The best option is to ask the company to submit a copy of its insurance policy.

6. Get a Price Quote with Breakdowns

It will not be ideal to settle for a single, bottom-line cost for the entire project. Rather, ask for a broken-down price which will let you know how much you are going to spend on each aspect of the remodel.

7. Sign a Detailed Contract

Make sure that your contract has details on everything, for example, project scope, duration, cost breakdown, the deadlines, progress payments, exact materials to be used, the model number and who the allotted technicians will be. Additionally, if the remodeling company you hire has no such document, you can always create a contract with the details.

Conclusion

When you go for home remodeling, you increase the value of your property. A professional and reliable service provider will understand your needs and offer the most suitable plan and solution to you. Once you make up your mind to go for your home remodeling project, you need to consider all the elements listed in this post before hiring an efficient home remodeling company. This is how you will be able to transform your property, the way you want.

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Remodelling Company

While remodeling your house, it is crucial to connect with your contractor based on your vision. Choosing the right contractor is indeed a tough job when each one of them is promising you heaps. This job gets much easier when you understand which are the questions that need to be asked when you interview them. It will allow you to know how much your project means to them and how much of their resources they are going to pool in, to deliver as much as they have promised. 



Q1. How experienced are you in this industry?

Don’t look for a decent number of years as the answer to this because quantity over quality is not what you should be looking for. Instead, look for 10-20 references whom you can contact to get a genuine review of their work. 

Q2. Have you been licensed?

The answer should be yes. But the catch here is that only a few states require contractors to get a license before starting their practice. But a licensed contractor is going to be answerable to you and the contracting agency will help you resolve your issues if any. It will act as your much-needed safety backup. 

Q3. Are all your employees insured under the workman’s comp insurance? 

In case any of the workmen meet with an accident while working on your property, you might be held responsible for it if they are not insured. In this case, the workman’s comp insurance might safeguard you from any such unprecedented blame. 

Q4. Will you insure the things in my home during the time of your work?

They should be very prompt at answering positively to this. Any such remodeling work comes with its own share of risks. When any accident happens, you should not be held responsible for the same. So, before you give them the project, you should reach a middle ground with this point. 

Q5. Are you or your company affiliated with any professional organization? If yes, then which?

Professional affiliation with an organization validates that your contractor has been trained well and has a good network for supplies. This association is indeed valuableand needs to be taken into account before finalizing the contractor. 

Q6. Can you give me a list of projects that you have worked on and the corresponding references?

Talking to the references helps you validate the credibility of your contractor. Nothing speaks better than the track record of a person. The National Association of Remodelling Industry gives you a list of questions that will help you with this decision. (https://www.nari.org/consumers/homeowner-resources/)

Q7. What will the tentative timeline for the project be? 

Your contractor should be able to give you a specific period like six months or so while adding some cushion time keeping all the issues and unforeseen delays in mind. Sometimes the task of designating timelines can be difficult. At such times your refuge might be the “time and materials” contract. 

Q8. Would you like to sign a “time and materials” contract?

In some cases, due to unexpected damage, your project might take up some extra time, thus increasing your project cost. It might leave you with a half-finished project, which will cost you twice as much. A “time and materials” contract establishes the cost of labour and materials in case of any unexpected event making the anticipated answer a yes. 

Q9. How frequently do you match up to the project completion date that you specify in your timeline? 

Their answer to this question will speak loads about how promising they are. Contractors tend to take on more projects than they can handle. This only affects how they deliver in each one of them. So, the ideal answer would be “most of the time”.

Q10. How often will you be at the site to oversee the work? 

If their answer is “all the time,” then you are safe. Your contractor places enough value in your project that he will be there to make sure that work is going on par with the timeline. In case they say that they won’t be on-site all the time, then you need to ask the following question. 

Q11. How frequently will you stop by the site to check on the progress?

If your contractor intends to stop by the site on a daily basis to at least be aware of the proceedings, then yours is going to be a decent deal. If they don’t plan on coming daily to the site, then you need to ask the following question. 

Q12. Who is going to be the on-site project manager? 

Expect to be given the name of the person along with their contact details. He/she will be your go-to person in case you find any discrepancies with the work or in case you want an update on the progress. Once they have given you the name of the person, the next question should be in line. 

Q13. Will you be updating me on the progress daily? 

You should take yes as the only answer. The chances are that if your contractor isn’t on-site daily or is not keeping track of your work, then the work isn’t going as well as it should be going. 

Q14. Will you be pulling the permits required for this job, if any?

The laws about who gets the permit varies depending on the state/city. But preferably the contractors should pull these permits as they know the legalities behind it and whom to visit in case something is needed.

Q15. Would you be drafting a detailed contract specifying the timeline and the cost of materials and labour along with a termination clause?

A contractor might promise you a lot of things and yet deliver quite less. In such a case, a written contract with details about all the things mentioned above will come to your rescue. Make sure that you are well-versed with the contract and have a copy of the same with the contractor’s sign and date. 

Q16. Will I get some guarantee on the work, and if yes, what will it be? 

You can expect them to give you a time frame of 6 months or so. After all, you would not want to put your precious money and time into something that hasn’t been warranted for. Contractors can give you a guarantee against two types of problems: 

  • Defective materials 
  • Workmanship issues
You should have these guarantees in a written format, clearly stating how much the contractor guarantee will be and under what circumstances.  

Q17. What will the daily work schedule be?

The contractor should be able to give you specific hours of the day with specific days of the week. Contractors who refuse to do so might not be that accountable and regular. A professional contractor will convey the schedule and adhere to it throughout the duration of the work. 

Q19. Have you been involved with any legal issues with regard to any previous project? 

You should expect an honest answer from your contractor for this question. If there happens to be any legal question, then you can ask them about the specifics to ensure that no such thing will happen with your case too. 

Q20. What are your payment terms? 

Different contractors will have different approaches to this. In any case, you should not make the full payment prior to the project completion and definitely not without a thorough inspection of the work. You should try to come up with a payment plan that corresponds with the progress made. 

Q21. Would you be including a termination clause in a co-written contract?

The hiring contract should have a detailed clause for termination of the project by any of the two parties. The terms of the clause should be designed with the agreement of both parties to ensure fairness. For example, if the contractor doesn’t show up for work, then the homeowner should be able to terminate the contract without any penalty; or if the homeowner stops the contractor from working, then the contractor can walk out without any penalty. 

Renovations are an exciting but risky job; it is always better to keep yourself as equipped as possible before you venture into this. Asking these questions will come to your rescue for sure, do give them a try.

Monday, 23 September 2019

Does Your Home Get Enough Light?

No matter how large the living space is, if your home does not receive enough light, even the biggest of rooms would look small! With proper lighting, you will eliminate unnecessary shadows and accent the special features in your house! Here’s what you can do to get better lighting in your house:

1. Accenting Your Special Areas

Most modern kitchens at home have kitchen islands (if you haven’t updated your kitchen yet, click here to see the options you have!). Recessed lights provide ambient lighting for the entire kitchen. Hanging pendant lights in rows can specially accent your kitchen especially when you want to isolate your work to the island alone. Kitchen islands are also areas where people gather around, dine and have conversations, so it’s a very good idea to get isolated lights for that area.

Image Courtesy: Pixabay
Accenting bathroom mirrors with dual parallel lighting provides a special elegance. Individual lights above and below mirrors also eliminate shadows. Bathrooms generally have many mirrors and strategically placing the lights will allow the light to reflect and eliminate the need for many lighting fixtures.

Some other areas where you can use accented lights are in the nightstand, on the reading table, dual lights overlooking your bed, paintings, etc.; your choices are limited only by you're artistic taste! As a homeowner with little experience in aesthetics, you will get better ideas when you talk to a professional remodeling contractor!

2. Lighting Your Living Room

The living room is where you and your family will spend the maximum time during the day. Flush mount, semi-flush mount and recessed lightings can be perfect for your living room. It is important to choose a proper trim color and reflector type. Very often, homeowners are unaware of the existence of the varied types of recessed lighting and in such cases, a professional contractor would be of great assistance

Image Courtesy: Pixabay
3. Choosing Your Chandelier

The chandelier is the gold standard for setting the level of elegance in your house (Pro tip: Do not skimp on the elegance of your house!). Your chandelier should match the color tone of your floors and woodwork. Do not rely on the chandelier as the primary source of light because that will lead to a lot of shadows in your space. Supplement the chandelier with recessed lights and tower lights. Determine the correct height needed to regulate the lighting and prevent shadows.

Image Courtesy: Pixabay
4. Task-Specific Lighting

Similar to accent lighting is task-specific lighting. Special reading lights or dual lamps for writers, study lamps, etc. are task-specific lights. In the lighting industry, there are varied choices that are available for very specific tasks. Homeowners might get overwhelmed by the choices available and that’s where professional contractors like Daniel Mackey would be of great help.

Lighting your house correctly will make it look like a model of elegance! Contact us today to make your dream home a reality!

You can take a look at some of our previous work over here and if you want to get some clarity on remodeling your house, you can always read our blogs right here!

Friday, 23 August 2019

Top 5 Remodeling Mistakes That Are Destroying Your Remodel!

Undertaking remodeling projects can be very exciting for homeowners! If you’re a homeowner embarking on a new remodeling project, being aware of certain dos and don’ts will certainly help you. Here are the top 5 remodeling mistakes that could possibly destroy your whole project!

Image Courtesy : Pixabay

     1.       Hiring the Wrong Contractor

The contractor you hire is going to be the backbone of your project and hence hiring the wrong contractor would be disastrous. Here’s what you need to look for in a contractor:

·         Check out the contractor’s previous projects
·         Make sure the contractor is experienced
·         Most importantly, look for previous customer reviews.

If you need more details, we have two elaborate posts here talking about what to look for in a contractor!

Daniel Mackey has been remodeling homes and making dreams come true since 1986. Head over to our website and see what we can do for you.

     2.       Not Sticking to the Plan

Sticking to the plan will determine whether you finish your remodel or not! Constantly altering the plan will cost you a lot of money and will waste your time as well.  Minor changes will be easy to incorporate but major changes like changing the piping of a bathroom require prior planning!
Pro tip: Go through the entire plan in detail with your contractor before starting with the remodel.

Image Courtesy: Pixabay

      3.       Emphasis on Aesthetics over Purpose

If it’s not useful, you probably don’t need it! You might like your remodel to look like it came out of a home design magazine, but if your remodel serves no purpose you might end up remodeling your house again real soon. Therefore take into account the utility of a new addition along with the aesthetic value it brings to your house.

      4.       Not Planning for Miscellaneous Expenses

A remodel can never fit perfectly into a budget. There might be material wastage, price fluctuations, etc. These are unanticipated so you should always have some leeway while setting your budget. It is always a good idea to have a discussion with your remodeling contractor about the budget before the remodel.  The contractor’s experience in such matters will definitely benefit the homeowner greatly.

      5.       Working Your Way Around the Work Permit

Before beginning any construction work, it is imperative that you get a permit. It would be an absolute waste if your project, as it is nearing completion, gets halted by the local authorities.
Another great benefit of Daniel Mackey is that we take care of all the permits as well as the paperwork!

So keep these checkpoints in mind before you go ahead with your remodel! If you are looking for a professional contractor to get your remodel done to perfection Contact us right away!
You can also take a look at some of our previous blogs right over here!