As we mentioned in our last post, Choosing Energy-Efficient Windows (Part 1) - Understanding U-Factor, selecting the right windows is a big decision when building a passive-inspired home. It’s also one of the most important elements for both energy efficiency and aesthetics. In this article, we’ll discuss another essential aspect of energy-performance rating in windows – the solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC).
How does energy flow through windows?
As illustrated below, windows lose and gain heat by convection, radiation, conduction, and air leakage.
Windows are a crucial component in the design of a house, and their aesthetic appeal can help support the overall style of the building. They allow daylight into the home and give us a visual connection to the outside world. We expect windows to let in fresh air and breezes when the weather is right. And – when the weather is unpleasant – we want our windows to be airtight with great thermal insulation.
It should come as no surprise that windows play a huge role in the overall energy efficiency of your home. Windows help to moderate heat flow, making them a key contributor...
Stunning stairways are quickly becoming a ‘must have’ for the complete modern home. A statement staircase can completely transform the look and atmosphere of a home’s interior and curb appeal.
One way homeowners are creating this “statement” look is with floating staircases.
What is a floating staircase?
By definition, a flight of stairs is said to be "floating" if the space underneath the staircase is open. But there are certain other design elements that have come to be associated with this modern home feature.
For example, traditional stairs are comprised of two perpendicular...
One of the most important (and often overlooked) energy efficiency factors in any home is its orientation. Believe it or not, how a house is oriented in relation to the sun can have a dramatic impact on heating and cooling – the largest energy contributor in most homes. A study by the Bonneville Power Administration found that homes re-oriented toward the sun (without any additional solar features) saved between 10% and 20% on heating costs.
Not to mention – lots of natural light creates a desirable natural ambiance, contributing to your home’s overall comfort.
When you’re building a new custom home, defining a construction budget should be the very first item on your planning checklist. Your construction budget will help clarify the allocation of funds, establish realistic limits, and help you get a better picture of your project.
Knowing your spending limits and developing a custom home building budget will also go a long way towards staying in alignment with your financial goals – and helping you avoid any unpleasant surprises down the road.
Determine cost per square foot
Square foot homebuilding costs are a great place to start when establishing...
One common landscaping concern for high performance homeowners is erosion—which can significantly affect your home, neighborhood, local natural habitats, and the water supply.
What is erosion?
Erosion is the natural process by which soil and rock are removed from one area and deposited into another—usually as a result of wind, rainfall, or water flow.
While this process has brought us natural phenomena like the Grand Canyon, it is also to blame for stripping the land bare of nutrient-dense soil, creating excessive sediment in waterways, disrupting ecosystems, and other environmental problems.
At Clarum, we build modern homes with an emphasis on sleek, clean lines throughout. One popular focus area for homeowners is the bathroom—where design changes are subtle but impactful.
The latest trend in modern home construction? The curbless shower.
Your shower: the unsung hero
As the oft-overlooked focal point, your shower can greatly impact the overall appeal of your bathroom. Even a daily 15-minute rinse will equate to roughly four days of total time spent in your shower each year—which is reason enough for many to pay particular attention to its design. Not surprisingly, this is a space...
When looking for healthy flooring options, there are two major culprits to avoid: toxicity and dust. Unfortunately, many flooring options will involve either or both.
At Clarum, we believe your home should be comfortable, beautiful, easy to maintain - and above all, should create a healthy environment for you and your family.
Our approach to flooring is no different.
Avoiding a toxic or dusty floor
Believe it or not, many home improvement products contain chemicals which have been linked to asthma, birth defects, learning disabilities, reproductive problems, liver toxicity and cancer. These...
Clarum is incredibly proud to have built the very first net-zero office building in Palo Alto. Our company is committed to creating comfortable, energy-efficient environments which reduce utility costs and promote ecological stewardship… and of course, our own office headquarters are no exception.
But what does having a new net-zero office building actually mean?
Traditional commercial buildings consume 40% of the total fossil fuel energy in the US, and are significant contributors of greenhouse gases. With global climate change and rising energy...
Housewarming party 9/4/2014
Clarum is getting nice and settled in our new home, and our recent Housewarming Party was a success. We’d like to extend a thank you to everyone who attended and helped us celebrate our new office!
On Thursday of last week, we had a steady stream of guests – including staff, clients, architects, consultants, designers, city staff, realtors, subcontractors, friends, and family. We all enjoyed live music and gourmet food trucks. Best of all, we got to show off our brand new net-zero building!
Here are some pictures of the event – we hope you had a blast, too!