Extend your living space outdoors
One of the reasons we all love Palo Alto is for its gorgeous weather. We live in a city that gets – on average – 261 sunny days each year. This beautiful weather motivates us to get outside as much as we can.
So, it’s important when planning the construction of your modern home to think about how to extend your living space outdoors. The right design will turn your outside areas into an oasis that’s so comfortable, inviting, and relaxing, you’ll never want to leave!
At Clarum, we encourage our clients to think about their outdoor spaces throughout...
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...
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.
Building a new custom home? Indoor air quality should be at the top of your mind.
The average American spends 90% of their time indoors, and air contaminant levels inside the average new home are 2 to 5 times worse than the pollution levels outside.
This may come as a surprise. You’re probably aware of the toxic contaminants like lead and asbestos that have made historical headlines and reshaped building codes. But did you know that new home construction presents its own list of contaminants and pollutants to worry about?
Toxicity in new home construction
Unfortunately, most construction...
Planning your home construction
One of the first steps to building a new house is establishing a comprehensive and accurate timeline for completion. And if you’re planning a new custom home, you should think high-performance from the start.
With all of the new green, sustainable technology available, you have an incredible array of options for building a new home that will greatly reduce your energy and water use. Plus, high-performance homes are healthier, smarter for the environment, and a great long-term investment.
There are two distinct phases to consider when establishing a homebuilding...
If you’re thinking about building a high-performance home, you’re probably wondering about its financial implications – both upfront and long-term. While it’s impossible to estimate the cost of any home without factoring in variables such as size and style, there are general patterns to note when planning (as well as other incentives to consider).
It might be tempting to assume that high-performance is a much more expensive option – but remarkably, a high-performance home only costs 5-10% more than its conventionally-built equivalent. “People are often surprised to learn that,”...
Sustainability from the ground up
Building a sustainable home means choosing the right materials - since a home is only as sustainable as its construction and the components on which it runs. If you're familiar with Clarum Homes, you know we care deeply about sustainability.
In fact, our core purpose is to transform the way you live by creating greater comfort, greater health, and greater environmental sustainability.
Energy efficiency in every component
Passive homes are, by definition, energy-efficient; to attain certification, a passive home must meet the efficiency criteria defined by the International...
At Clarum Homes, we are passionate about environmental sustainability. However, “sustainable” is becoming a more and more widely-used word, so it is important to understand what it means and how it relates to home building.
There are some important distinctions to make when navigating these classifications. The word “green,” for example, is often used to generally describe anything intended to support the health of the environment. “Sustainable,” on the other hand, is objective and very definable. Sustainable literally means “able to continue without an end in sight.” In other...