Building Green For You, And The Future!
Building Green is a core value for Diggs Custom Homes. We believe that cutting down on waste, maximizing energy efficiency, and controlling environmental impact through high-level, efficient site management are key goals that must be taken seriously by any Green Builder. Expert designs, industry-leading equipment, and materials, and installation by highly skilled craftsmen in all trades, along with thoughtful, educated guidance by the Green Builder are key to creating homes that feel as good as they look, all while saving money year after year, reducing your carbon footprint, as well as your dependence on the power grid. Diggs Custom Homes not only understands this, but we also excel at it!
Building Green in Washington State has become an idea that many builders have latched onto, and claimed to have mastered. Homeowners have to discern who actually executes a truly Green Build. To do that, custom home buyers must understand not only the components of a Green Build but also how the management of the materials and installation affect the efficacy of the Green Builder’s plan to Build Green. Green home buyers must research Green home builders in order to assure themselves that they are buying a product that not only sounds Green but is Green. One of the most common tricks that many “Green Homebuilders” use is to cherry-pick easy, “Green” features and advertise that they include those items in their home packages or standards while failing to educate themselves and their clients on items that better reduce their carbon footprint, and draw on the power grid.
High-efficiency water heating is relatively inexpensive and nearly required by code based on the number of energy credits that are awarded by the WSEC and therefore nearly every build has this feature, whether it is a Green Build, or not. Solar is fantastic, and typically can be installed at a relatively low price in order to achieve the energy credits all builders need in order to obtain a building permit, so many builders advertise solar packages and solar specials because it is easy to install, and relatively inexpensive when trying to reach the minimum amount of energy credits needed. However, if truly reducing your carbon footprint, draw on the energy grid, and your monthly utility bills are what you are after, you should find a truly Green Builder that does more than just cherry-pick the easy selling points to the less discerning client.
A true Green Builder understands that HVAC, and Insulation are two of the most important and impactful aspects of Green Building. Even if a homebuilder uses excellent HVAC equipment if the installers are undereducated, and poorly trained the likelihood of that system working to its full potential is slim to none. If the ducting is lazily run and the connections are poorly sealed, the system will use more energy, create more noise, and keep you less comfortable than one installed by highly trained, conscientious installers that receive continuing education and training from their employers. The job of the HVAC system is to provide the horsepower needed to heat / cool your home to the desired temperature. The more efficient HVAC systems with an HSPF rating of 11 or more are also given more energy credits by the WSEC, and provide far more energy savings than a minimum solar system, but they also require highly trained technicians to install them in order to provide the intended value.
Insulation is possibly the most underrated aspect of building in general. Many custom home builders believe that insulation is insulation, so they just get the cheapest contractor they can find and focus more on selling their clients upgrades to their finishes. Unfortunately, poor insulation is not always detected, even by building inspectors. Insulation installers can be some of the lowest-paid workers on any given job. It is hard, dirty work, and oftentimes the turnover rates are extensive for these companies. True Green Builders look for insulation contractors that educate their employees, train them, and retain them. When using low-grade insulation companies a myriad of issues tend to occur.
First of all, missing insulation is common. If a building inspector happens to miss an area, or is just in a hurry, they may sign off on the insulation inspection when there are holes that need to be filled. If a drywall contractor shows up and starts covering walls before anyone catches it, you have a cold spot. Low-paid, uneducated insulation installers are also known to damage HVAC ducts, wiring, and plumbing along the way, only to be discovered later because of a noisy leaky duct, faulty circuit, or leaking pipe. What good does it do to put a high-efficiency hot water heater in, solar panels on the roof, double pane windows, and high efficiency HVAC system in if you are just going to build a poorly insulated, leaky house? But doesn’t the house have to be tested for leakiness? Yes. However, the “Blower Door Test” and “Duct Leakage Tests” are usually done by either the HVAC company or the insulation company. Sound like a conflict of interest? It is. A true Green Builder will use a third-party testing company to test the home and the ducts for leakage so that they know, without question, that the home they are building is truly Green.
Diggs Custom Homes has a passion for environmental responsibility, as well as smart building techniques designed to reduce the carbon footprint, dependency, and drag on the power grid, and of course, lower the utility bills of our clients. We also strive to design and build the most comfortable, liveable homes in Western Washington. We pride ourselves on aligning with conscientious subcontractors who take pride in their work and understand the importance of what they do. Diggs’ Custom Homes are HERS rated and can be built to achieve LEED, ENERGY STAR, Living Building Challenge, Passive House, as well as other environmental certification standards. It’s easy to say you are a Green Builder but to actually be a Green Builder takes a lot more than just words.