Friday, November 23, 2012

Making Sense of Home Energy Ratings

When looking at the high-performance homes being built in Briar Chapel, you will often hear us refer to a home's "HERS" rating. Let's take a minute to explain what this is and how it helps predict energy consumption.

The HERS (Home Energy Rating System) Index is a scoring system which was developed to provide a standard measurement of a home’s energy efficiency and expected energy costs.

HERS is the housing equivalent of MPG (miles per gallon) with cars & trucks.

It is based on a standard new home built to code, which is given a score of 100 on the HERS Index. The lower a home’s score, the more energy efficient it is in comparison to the same home built to code. More specifically, each 1-point decrease in the HERS Index corresponds to a 1% reduction in energy consumption.

This translates directly into savings on utility costs for the new homeowner. For example, one particular 2004 sqft home in Briar Chapel with a HERS score of 66 is estimated to cost only $1342 to operate per year! That includes electricity, natural gas, water heating, heating/cooling, and service charges.

The high-performance homes in Briar Chapel typically score between 54-72 on the HERS Index, which means they are 28-46% more efficient than similar homes built to code. More impressive is the fact that these high-performance homes can be over 48-66% more efficient than homes which are ten years old! All builders in Briar Chapel are required to use independent energy auditors to determine the HERS scores of each home they build, so they can provide this information to new homeowners and earn the ENERGY STAR and NAHB Green Certified ratings (among others) as well.

To learn more about the HERS Index, including how it is calculated by a home energy rater, I encourage you to visit If you want to better understand how green-built homes bring you increased comfort, a healthier living environment, and lower utility costs while lessening the impact on the environment, please reach out to one of us. We would be happy to provide additional info.

Friday, November 16, 2012

4th Annual 6BC Endurance Bike Race & 7th Annual Fat Tire Festival this Sunday!

The 4th Annual 6BC Endurance Bike Race and 7th Annual Fat Tire Festival are coming to Briar Chapel this Sunday, November 18th!
Starting at 9am, join Briar Chapel residents as they cheer on the race participants, who will be ranked by how many laps they can complete within six hours. To register for the race, click here. A kids race will begin at 2pm. To register for this (shorter) race, click here.
After the race, you'll want to stick around and enjoy the Fat Tire Festival, which includes a kids race, trail rides, exhibitors, and plenty of great food and drinks. Food will be provided by Parlez Vous Crepes and Klausie’s Pizza, with drinks provided by Fullsteam Brewery.
Be sure to RSVP for the Fat Tire Festival if you plan to attend.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

For Sale: 70 Dark Forest Drive

If you love Homes By Dickerson's "Bristol" floor plan, but missed your chance to make an offer on their former model or their award-winning 2012 Parade of Homes entry, then you'll want to take a look at 70 Dark Forest Drive!

This home sits on a spacious corner lot, and has been decorated beautifully. Here are some photos of the current interior (click to enlarge):

Here is the original virtual tour of this home, which shows many of the other rooms and original lighting fixtures (which are available to buyer, if interested):

View the Tour

You really have to see this home in person to appreciate the quality of its construction. To schedule a showing, please contact Jen Winkler at 919-593-3662.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Benefits of Briar Chapel's Saltwater Pools

Residents of Briar Chapel enjoy a number of great amenities, including two saline (saltwater) swimming pools, which have a number of advantages over other types of pools:
  • Better Comfort: One of the most noticeable advantages of Briar Chapel's saltwater swimming pools is the level of comfort residents experience. Salt is softer on your skin than chlorine. Also, salt doesn't cause red eyes, itchy skin, and discolored hair as chlorine has a tendency to do.

  • Environmentally Friendly: Another advantage of saltwater pools is the lowered use of chemicals. Briar Chapel's pool operator doesn't have to store and handle toxic chemicals on a regular basis. This means that the saltwater pools are safer for the environment, and residents won't have to suffer the odor of chlorine.

  • Lower Maintenance: Saltwater swimming pools virtually clean themselves and require less maintenance than pools that use chlorine. Since the chlorine generator converts salt into chlorine, Briar Chapel's pool operator doesn't have to keep adding manufactured chemicals to maintain water sanitation and inhibit the growth of algae. Lifeguards do, however, test the water on a regular basis throughout the pool season to be sure the water is safe.

  • No Organochlorines: Pure chlorine pools create organochlorines that mimic human hormones. These can cause reduced fertility, immune system abnormalities, and numerous cancers. There is also evidence that exposure to chloramines can contribute to respiratory problems, including emphysema and asthma. Saltwater swimming pools, such as the ones in Briar Chapel, do not have this problem because chlorine levels never drop low enough for organochlorines to form.

  • Lower Cost: Although saltwater pools are more expensive to install, they can usually pay for themselves in a few years. This is because the cost to maintain a saltwater pool is less than half the cost to maintain a chlorine pool.

How do saltwater pools work?

Both salt water pools and traditional chlorine pools use chlorine to sanitize the water. The difference is that saltwater pools use a chlorine generator to produce natural chlorine from salt by separating salt molecules into their component parts: chloride and sodium. After salt is converted to chlorine to sanitize and oxidize the water within the generator, chlorine converts back to salt when it re-enters the pool, and the process continues over and over again, conserving the salt and keeping sanitizer levels balanced.