Archive for Green Building

Raising the Bar to Build You a Better Home

RESNET Designates Scott Homes Inc. as a Smart Homes Contractor for Ensuring Every Home is Energy Efficient Using the HERS Index Scores

RESNET_EnergySmart_Builder_Vertical_Logo_6-13Scott Homes Inc. and RESNET have entered into an agreement that builds and promotes building highly efficient homes using the Home Energy Rating System (HERS). What does this mean for you?

Well, the goal of this partnership is to build beautiful homes that are proven through industry standards to be of the highest efficiency available by science. By utilizing this science, you as a homeowner will not only save money and stay comfortable year round, but you will also lower your carbon footprint and have the highest quality home.

And it won’t cost you anything extra. Energy efficiency is something we believe in and practice. We want to give you the most efficient home because it just makes sense.

A Track Record of Energy Efficiency and Excellence

From the beginning, since Scott Homes Inc. first opened its doors over 30 years ago, Scott wanted to build quality, high efficiency houses that had as minimal impact on the environment as possible. Through our continued study of building science, we are constantly striving to improve our standards of efficiency and excellence. HERS testing helps us do that. We conduct the HERS test on every home we build. And our homes consistently score above industry standards.

What is HERS?

Around that same time another organization was taking shape that wanted to set standards for builders and connect people, resources, and knowledge. HERS is an industry standard, and the best way to actually see how efficient a home is. This makes it easier for you to qualify for lower mortgage rates, save money every year by having the smallest energy bill possible. It also helps the environment, too, by minimizing the impact of housing and related energy demands. Here’s more information on energy ratings.

How Does HERS Make Your Life Better?

So how good are the scores and what can they do for you, the homeowner? A HERS report breaks down estimates of what yearly energy cost will look like for the owner. The lower the score, the better. Olympia Federal Bank gives a ½ point reduction in closing cost for houses that score below 70. Not only do our homes rate below 70, most rate below 60! That means you can expect annual heating bills to be around $200 for most homes. (Yes, that’s $200 for the entire year.)

All of these things add up. With the help of RESNET, Scott and our crew are building homes more efficient than ever. And in the rainy Pacific Northwest, this gives you the benefit of a warmer home and lower utility bills. In an area where we can tell which way is north by the direction the moss is growing on power poles, it keeps your home comfortable and warm without emptying your pocketbook.

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Green & Energy Efficient: Two Smart Distinctions to Building a Better Home

Green vs. Energy Efficient: What’s the Difference?

Green and Energy Efficient

There’s a difference between a green home and an energy efficient home.

A good house with a handful of good products doesn’t make your house both green and energy efficient. To help you wade through the potential greenwash, let me explain what makes a home both green and energy efficient.

Energy Efficient Home

An energy efficient home reduces energy consumption by building a super insulated, well-ventilated, airtight home that stays warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.

Green Home

A green home also reduces energy, but also has added features that protect the environment and enhance the quality of earth friendly living.

Examples are reduced water usage, incorporating reclaimed or recycled materials, minimizing and recycling construction waste, using nontoxic interior finishes, collecting rainwater, landscaping with water resistant native plants, careful placement of trees and minimizing disruption to natural vegetation.

It’s important to note that required energy efficiency levels are not one static measurement—energy efficiency is continually changing. That’s because building codes are updated every three years. An Energy Star Certified home built in 2009 is different from an Energy Star Certified home built by the same builder in 2012. This is good for you as a homeowner. It means homes keep getting better.

Benefits of Both Green and Energy Efficient

When you build a home that is both green and energy efficient you get the best of both energy efficiency and green building standards.

When you build a home that is both green and energy efficient, you will enjoy…

  1. Savings and value. A green, energy efficient home is a cost-effective investment that will use less energy and water, saving you money every month.  The home is better quality and has lower maintenance issues.  Green and Energy Efficient certified homes usually command a higher resale value.

  2. Comfort. Building science allows us to build smarter. Building smarter creates a home that fits your unique needs and that is more comfortable. And that just makes sense.

  3. Health. Improving air quality is good for you. Many of our customers with allergies and chemical sensitivities have enjoyed better health after moving into their new homes built to meet the highest green and energy efficiency standards.

You don’t have to spend a fortune to build a green, energy efficient home. You can get a very nice home on a budget that will be better for the environment, better for your pocketbook and better for you and your family.

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5 Tips to Building Extreme Green on a Tight Budget

5 tips to building extreme green on a budgetNot everyone building an energy efficient home has a “spare no expense” attitude toward the costs of green upgrades. Quite the opposite.

Many of my clients are working with a set budget.  They want to invest in a few green upgrades that will give them the best value for their dollar.

I assure all of my clients that you don’t have to spend a fortune to build extreme green. In fact, green can be quite affordable.

Here are 5 tips to get the benefits of an extreme green home while staying within your budget:

  1. Build with Structured Insulated Panels (SIPs). For only about $1,000 more total on a typical $250,000 home, you can build with SIPs. This product alone will get you to 50% savings on energy because it addresses all three important issues in building sciences for attaining energy efficiency, air tightness, no thermal bridging, and higher R-values for the insulation.

  2. Hire a builder who knows how to build an airtight home. If you can’t control the air movement in and out of your home, then you will substantially reduce the effectiveness of all your other energy saving investments. An airtight envelope is critical to saving on utility bills and keeping your home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. Bottom line: your home will be more comfortable. Hire a builder who pays attention to detail and who knows the value of caulk, tape, foam and air barriers of all shapes and sizes.

  3. Install a ductless heat pump or geothermal (radiant) heat. Forced air furnaces are shockingly inefficient–even the highest rated Energy Star furnaces waste energy and money. A ductless heat pump can heat and cool your entire home significantly less than a forced air furnace. Because a ductless heat pump is 400% efficient, for every $50 worth of electricity, you will get about $200 worth of heat.  Smart heating technology is one of the best investments in an energy efficient home.

    Ductless Heat Pumps

  4. Triple pane windows. For about $25 more per window, you can get triple paned windows with significantly better performance for energy efficiency!

  5. An efficient exhaust fan. For about $100 more you can have a very quiet Panasonic exhaust fan that runs on 1/3 the energy. Having a good exhaust fan that quietly works 24/7 will ensure good indoor air supply constantly.

Ecological continues to become more economical as building technology continues to improve. Take advantage of the benefits of building extreme green. It’s easier and more affordable than you might think.

Do you have any questions about the costs of building green? Just type in your question below and we’ll help you find answers.

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1.9 Acre, Quiet Lot Ready for Your Dream Home

Are You Ready to Build?

Build your custom dream home on this quiet, private 1.9 acre lot. Nestled up to forested wetland area on a dead end street, the lot is centrally located between the heart of downtown Olympia, convenient shopping centers in Lacey, and the pristine Olympia waterfront–just a short drive away.

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Lot features:

  • 1.9 acres
  • Located at the end of a quiet, dead-end street
  • Close to shopping and downtown Olympia
  • Close to waterfront
  • Only 1.5 miles from St. Peter’s hospital and medical facilities
  • Existing 24×30′ garage/shop
  • Large 4-bay pole building storage shed
  • Good soil quality
  • Will be easy to get septic design approved
  • Well levels should be under 100′ (neighboring wells are all under 100′ depth)

This lot is priced to sell and will move fast. If you’re ready to build your dream home, give us a call. 360.357.9167


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5 Reasons Why Building Green Will Make Your Winter Better

Benefits of Building Green

Save Money and Keep Warmer

Just because the weather is getting colder outside doesn’t mean it has to be colder inside your home.

If you’re looking to build a new home, a tract, stick-built home will keep the rain off your head. But you don’t have to settle for drafty and inefficient. It’s actually more cost effective to go green, and it can be done on any budget.

Here are 5 reasons why building green will make your winter better:

  1. Better heating and cooling. Most people don’t realize they don’t have to tolerate being too hot or too cold throughout the year. My wife and I discovered this when we finally upgraded our old wood-burning stove to an energy efficient ductless heat pump.  Suffering in silence actually costs more in the long run than the one-time costs of few green upgrades.
  2. Better quality. A solid, well-built house will withstand the elements and last for generations to come.  There is very little maintenance on a well-built home.
  3. Better for your pocket book. Our typical home averages around $200-$300/year heating costs.  Green homes mean better insulation, sealed doors and triple pane windows, efficient heating and cooling, efficient lighting and appliances. An energy efficient home will actually save you money in the long run by reducing the amount you will spend on your monthly utility bills.
  4. Better for the environment. When you use less energy to heat your home, you decrease carbon dioxide emissions—the stuff that contributes to global climate change.  A well-built green home (like we build) requires 60-70% less fuel consumption compared to a standard home. This means a healthier environment for you and for the rest of the world.
  5. Better for you.  A green home makes life better for allergy sufferers by reducing mold and other common allergens. At Scott Homes, we are sensitive to the needs of allergy sufferers. That’s why in addition to reducing mold and dust, we use low emission paint, cabinets, carpet etc. to reduce your exposure to harmful chemicals. Your entire family will breath easier with healthier indoor air from a green home.

I’ve spent more than 30 years building high quality, energy efficient homes for families in the Puget Sound area. I have a reputation for being a bit of a stickler for details and workmanship, but I want to make sure my customers have solid, safe and healthy homes. It’s what I love doing.

So stop heating the outdoors. Go green. Your family and the planet will thank you.

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Inspiration Home in Spring: See it on the Scott Homes 2013 Tour of Homes

DSC_5945The Inspiration Home will be open one more time for just one day. Sunday, May 5, from 11 a.m. — 4 p.m. Scott Homes was recently awarded ENERGY STAR’s 2012 Home of the Year “Best Demonstration Project” award. And, yes, we’re pretty proud of that. Coincidentally, we had a tour of homes planned this spring anyway. It all works out quite nicely.

If you missed the Inspiration Home last year, or if you want to talk to the owners and see if it’s living up to it’s potential, sign up for information on Scott Homes Spring 2013 Tour of Homes.

If you haven’t heard about the Inspiration Home, here’s the skinny: The Inspiration Home has every thing — energy efficient technology and finish — we could reasonably cram into one house. We wanted people to be inspired (get it? “Inspiration Home”?)

On the system side (dry information maybe, but pretty sweet when you get the monthly bills):

  • Ductless Heat Pump (DHP), one of the most efficient heat sources on the market
  • Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV) to keep the home’s air fresh and healthy
  • Walls and roof of Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) for insulation, strength, longevity and reduction of waste
  • Solar hot water heater to reduce energy consumption
  • Starter Solar Panel Kit which can be easily expanded as needed
  • Triple pane windows
  • Raingardens — our goal is to have as little run-off as possible
  • Water-proofing system (NOT “damp-proof”) around basement

We also loaded the Inspiration Home up with our signature Craftsman touches. We could have added more interior details but that would have been going for Baroque.

  • Vaulted entry with custom twisted willow chandelier
  • Coffered ceilings (being in the Northwest, we thought we were getting coffee and asked for lots and lots [Oh, I've got a million of them])
  • Built ins surrounding gas fireplace
  • Re-purposed brick on the fireplace
  • Trex deck built for a lifetime right off the kitchen (BBQ heaven!)
  • Custom-built kitchen shelves
  • Re-purposed Craftsman buffet for the kitchen island
  • Custom built-in breakfast nook with the sweetest windows ever
  • Radiant heat floor in master bathroom
  • Lots and lots of storage
  • Very thoughtful ADA and multi-generational design

And, of course, there are lots of pictures to drool over.

While you’re here, take a few minutes to see all the fabulous partners who made building this home possible. Without their advice, design and products, well … we wouldn’t be calling it the Inspiration Home, I guess.

See you there!

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Introducing the Team: Scott Homes & Northwest Energy Team


Scott Bergford is the owner and president of Scott Homes, Inc. (and also of Northwest Energy Team). He’s the one who sits down with you and helps you figure out how your home will look and what it will do. Scott helps you articulate your priorities  (Aging-in-place, extreme energy efficiency, capitalizing on a view, mutli-generational design) and gives you your options.

PatsGardenPat Bergford is in charge of taste and refinement. It is her artistic touch that makes our home designs so attractive. And when you come visit, schedule time to walk around her garden.

Chris is the office manager. She  is in charge of Scott’s calender and keeps track of the financial side of things. (She also stashes the good candy so we are all nice to Chris.) Chris has built two of her own homes with Scott Homes, so she is a really good resource for questions.

Eileen is a some-time writer for Scott Homes and Northwest Energy Team. She and her husband live in the Far Reach House and pay $70 a year to heat their house. Eileen has drunk the Scott Homes Kool Aid. You’ll meet her at a lot of the home shows and tours.

Scott Homes LogoScott Homes
Scott Homes builds extremely energy efficient homes. We work exclusively with Structural Insulated Panels (SIP) and really like to incorporate heat recovery ventilators and ductless heat pumps because then our home have heat bills of less than $100 a year. Which is nice.

Chad puts your dreams on paper. He creates a computer design (floor plans and elevations) based on your discussions with Scott. When you have changes, Chad is the one who makes them work.

Steve is your organizer. He gives you the list of what you have to choose (dishwashers, windows, paint color) and the deadlines for your choices. He also manages the operations so the sub-contractors and the utilities and the banks are all doing what they are supposed to in the time they should be doing it. Kinda.

Don is the guy on your site. He’s the one who meets the flooring guys and the electricians and the PUD crew and makes sure they do the right things to the right wall/floor/junction box.

Northwest Energy TeamNorthwest Energy Team
NET’s focus is to make existing homes more energy efficient through selective upgrades to your building envelope. It operates under the Scott Homes umbrella and utilizes the same resources and standards.

Paul is the fellow who comes out to evaluate your home to see what may or may not need to be done. Paul is quite serious in public settings. This confuses us because he’s quite the little japester around the office.

Dan manages the projects. He figures out schedules and orders parts. He is also the office sage. We sit at his feet and ask him to share with us the wisdom of The Old Days.

Mark is the HVAC lead installer smartypants. He knows how the framistan connects to the gizmo thingie. And stuff.

big home and garden showYou can meet us this weekend at the 2013 Olympia Master Builders’ Big Home and Garden Show (April 13 & 14)! There are COUPONS and discounts and everything so drop in and say hello!

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Concern for Animals Doghouse!

Yeah. It’s a big dog house.

And it’s warm and cozy and solid and if there’s an earthquake you can live in it while you rebuild your home. Or if your brother-in-law visits for three weeks, he can sleep in it. But mostly it’s to keep your best friends out of the rain, wind and heat.

It breaks down into 7 sections and can be dealt with by 3-4 guys and a truck. And a pizza. And a beverage of choice.

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The Dogwood House is on display with many other dog and cat homes at the Westfield Capital Mall in Olympia near the movie theater entrance. These dog and cat houses were built to Read the rest of this entry »

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HRV Defined: Heat recovery ventilators let you breathe easily

Popular Mechanics image from a good article on how HRVs work.

Popular Mechanics image from a good article on how HRVs work. Click image to read more.

Heat recovery ventilators (HRV) are arguably as wonderful as ductless heat pumps. Really. No foolin. This is me saying it.

What an HRVs does.
Heat recovery ventilators exhaust “used” air from your home and bring in fresh outdoor air. That’s the “ventilation” part.

The nifty bit is the “heat recovery” part: The outgoing air — the air you’ve already paid to heat — transfers its heat to the incoming air. Read the rest of this entry »

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Investing in an Organized Builder: Passing the Baton

After several months of working closely with our clients and their dreams, there comes a day when we pass the baton. Obviously, from this series of articles, organized builders (we) want to make sure clients know what to expect throughout the building process … including what happens after move-in and beyond the expiration of the builder’s service warranty.

Good builders know how and when to pass the baton for the care and maintenance of the house to homeowners. This is an incremental process that logically Read the rest of this entry »

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