Long before “green” became the industry buzzword, Elite Homes was implementing techniques and using products we simply called “efficient”. In the 1980’s, Elite’s President Joe Pusateri was studying ways to build a more energy efficient home. Joe wanted Elite Homes’ customers to not only get a good value in the price of their home, but also wanted customers to realize the best cost for their home. The cost of a home over time is the total of your monthly mortgage payments, your monthly utility bills, and the maintenance dollars you spend on your home.
Sealing the Envelope
The envelope of the home is defined as the exterior shell surrounding the living area. Elite has always used the best practices to seal the envelope to ensure the smallest possible heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer. For over 40 years, Elite has instructed our insulation company to not only insulate the home, but to seal all the penetrations around electric wires and plumbing pipes going through the exterior walls or into the attic of the home. Another requirement in an Elite Home is that the plates that sit on the sub-floor of the exterior of the home must be sealed to the sub-floor with caulking. Also, instead of using plywood (which has minimal R value) on the exterior framing of the home, Elite has always used Dow Styrofoam which has triple the R-value. And to complete the wall assembly, Elite was the first builder in Louisville to use Tyvek which provides one more layer of air infiltration barrier and acts as a moisture barrier.
Another improvement Elite made in 1983 was in the way our houses were framed. Traditional framing techniques made it impossible to insulate the exterior corners in a home and the corners where an interior wall meets the exterior wall. This is not a problem anyone would notice, but would result in a much higher utility bill. You see, the normal practice for a corner is to put two-2×4’s perpendicular to each other to form the corner and to fill the corner with more studs. Furthermore, the typical way to frame the “T” where the interior wall meets the exterior wall is problematic. Both of these typical methods create what we call a “cold corner” (see diagram). Typical homes are not just square boxes anymore; homes can have 10 to 20 corners depending on the size of the house, and a similar number of “T” ‘s. With all these corners un-insulated, it would be the equivalent of forgetting to insulate an entire bedroom wall of your home. Our framers have always used a special framing method allowing insulation to be installed in all the corners as it should be (see diagram)
More Green Then Ever
We are constantly looking at ways to improve and make our homes “green”. Every home we build now has Low-Emissivity (or Low-E) windows. These windows have a special coating to reflect the sunlight, and also are filled with argon gas between the two panes of glass for better insulating value. In addition, all of our homes now utilize cellulose blow-in insulation. We believe blow-in cellulose does a better job since it packs tighter in the wall cavities. And just recently we have switched to using compact fluorescent light bulbs, which last much longer and use much less energy. Lastly, all of our homes come with a programmable thermostat so the our customers can “program” the heating and cooling of the home to correspond to their lifestyle.
We will continue to always be on the lookout to build a more efficient home with greener practices and products. The truth is we have been doing this since day one!