Mark Johnson Custom Homes, a new home builder in Wilmington, would like to share with our readers an article courtesy of NewsandObserver.com regarding Progress Energy’s efforts to assist their customers in paying for charging stations for their electric cars.

Progress Energy is now offering North Carolina customers home charging stations for plug-in electric cars at little or no cost.

The Raleigh-based utility announced that it is accepting customer applications for grants that will cover up to $1,500 of the cost of purchasing and installing a charging system suitable for electric vehicles such as the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf.

“We anticipate the $1,500 will cover the full cost of the equipment and installation for the vast majority of customers,” said utility spokesman Scott Sutton.

Progress is providing the charging equipment under a federally funded research project designed to help it better understand how the 240-volt chargers will impact the electric grid. Charlotte-based Duke Energy launched a similar program earlier this year.

Progress customers who receive the charging equipment from the utility will have to pay for the electricity needed to charge their vehicle.

A total of 150 Progress Energy customers in North Carolina and  South Carolina will receive grants for the charging equipment. Progress Energy will own and maintain the equipment until the research project ends in April 2013. At the conclusion, the utility will transfer ownership to the customer.

Applications are being considered on a first-come, first-served basis. North Carolina customers of Progress Energy can apply online. The program will be open to South Carolina customers once it is approved by state requlators.

Article Courtesy of: NewsandObserver.com

Energy Star Certification

March 10th, 2011

Energy StarWilmington, NC home builder Mark Johnson Custom Homes recently completed an Energy Star certified home in Landfall. The home received a 61 on the HERS (Home Energy Rating System) index, meaning it is 39% more efficient than a code minimum home.

The estimated ANNUAL energy cost for the 3100 sf home is $1,897. After the final calculation, the homeowner stated, “Wow, we would have spent that amount in 4 months at our last home.”

Basically, being 39% more efficient than code for this home equals $700+ savings PER YEAR. MJCH’s standard framing techniques, insulation package and HVAC system not only accommodate, but exceed Energy Star requirements. The return on investment is less than 15 months. If the homeowner stays in the home for 15 years, that’s $10,500 in savings and as our energy costs rise (and they will), the savings will be even greater. This also results in a more marketable home when it comes time to sell.

At the end of construction, our Energy Rater, Above and Beyond Energy, removed the front door, added pressure to the house and calculated the air leakage. This test, along with various field visits, ensured a 5 STARS PLUS rating which is the highest level attainable.

New Hanover County, NC green home builder Mark Johnson Custom Homes would like to share with our readers an interesting article courtesy of ConcreteNetwork.com.

Concrete is a friend of the environment in all stages of its life span, from raw material production to demolition, making it a natural choice for sustainable home construction. Here are some of the reasons why, according to the Portland Cement Association and the Environmental Council of Concrete Organizations:

Resource efficiency. The predominant raw material for the cement in concrete is limestone, the most abundant mineral on earth. Concrete can also be made with fly ash, slag cement, and silica fume, all waste byproducts from power plants, steel mills, and other manufacturing facilities.

Durability. Concrete builds durable, long-lasting structures that will not rust, rot, or burn. Life spans for concrete building products can be double or triple those of other common building materials.

Thermal mass. Homes built with concrete walls, foundations, and floors are highly energy efficient because they take advantage of concretes inherent thermal massor ability to absorb and retain heat. This means homeowners can significantly cut their heating and cooling bills and install smaller-capacity HVAC equipment.


Concrete Batch Plant. Davis Colors.

Reflectivity. Concrete minimizes the effects that produce urban heat islands. Light-colored concrete pavements and roofs absorb less heat and reflect more solar radiation than dark-colored materials, such as asphalt, reducing air conditioning demands in the summer.

Ability to retain stormwater.Paved surfaces tend to be impervious and can block natural water infiltration into the soil. This creates an imbalance in the natural ecosystem and leads to problems such as erosion, flash floods, water table depletion, and pollution. Pervious concrete is a special type of structural concrete with a sponge-like network of voids that water passes through readily. When used for driveways, sidewalks, parking lots, and other pavements, pervious concrete can help to retain stormwater runoff and replenish local water supplies.


This parking lot installed in 2001 at Bannister Park, Fair Oaks, Calif.,
is the first in the state to use pervious concrete. The Sacramento Cool
Communities program was a partner in the project, which used pervious
concrete for stormwater management and to reduce the urban heat-island
effect. In about 10 years, the trees will shade more than half the lot.

Minimal waste. Concrete can be produced in the quantities needed for each project, reducing waste. After a concrete structure has served its original purpose, the concrete can be crushed and recycled into aggregate for use in new concrete pavements or as backfill or road base.


Recycled Concrete Aggregate.
Photo Courtesy of Portland Cement Association.

Article Written By: Anne Balogh, ConcreteNetwork.com

2010 Parade of Homes

April 22nd, 2010

You’re Invited!

Waterford of the Carolinas

1010 Natural Springs Way

Leland, NC

April 24 & 25, May 1 & 2

12pm – 5pm 

Normally, you just feel the effects of GREEN building in comfort and lower energy bills. This year, at the Parade of Homes, you will be able to see some of the components that make up an Energy Star home. 

Brunswick County, NC new home builder Mark Johnson Custom Homes invites you to join us at the home in Waterford of the Carolinas, where we will take you “Behind the Walls”. It has intentionally been left in the construction phase to illustrate the Energy Star framing requirements. Other features on display will be an eighteen hundred gallon underground cistern for gathering rain water, and a completely underground drip irrigation system that uses up to 70% less water to maintain than the same size lawn using sprinklers.

The Amberview

2289 Square Feet

1010 Natural Springs Way

Leland, NC

Waterford of the Carolinas

Brunswick County

Directions from Wilmington:                                                                                                                                                                                Head south on S 3rd St/US-17-BR toward Dock St.
Turn right at US-17-BR S/US-421 N/US-76 W.
Continue to follow US-76 W.
Merge onto Ocean Hwy E/US-17 S via the ramp to Myrtle Beach/Shallotte.
Turn right onto Olde Waterford Way.                                                                                                                                                               
Turn left onto Palm Ridge Dr.                                                                                                                                                                                    Enter next roundabout and take 1st exit onto Royal Palm Way.                                                                                                         Enter next roundabout and take 1st exit onto Reserve Drive.                                                                                            Turn left onto Natural Springs Way.                                                                                                                                                                 1010 Natural Springs Way is on the right.

We look forward to seing you!  

For information on all of these Energy Star and GREEN Building features, visit our website at www.markjohnsoncustomhomes.com and be sure to experience it for yourself during our Parade of Homes presentations.

2010 Parade of Homes

April 24 & 25, May 1 & 2

12:00pm – 5:00pm

Have you ever wondered what components make an Energy Star home? All new homes look great from the outside, but to make sure your next new home is truely energy efficient, it’s important to look “behind the walls”. Homes that earn the Energy Star include “must have” features that will make you more comfortable, reduce utility bills, and help protect the environment.
Brunswick County, NC new home builder Mark Johnson Custom Homes invites you to join us in Waterford of the Carolinas to see behind the walls of an Energy Star home that is 29% more efficient than a minimum code home. Highlights of the home designed by Sullivan Design Company include:
  • 1800 Gallon Underground Cistern
  • Invisible Drip Irrigation
  • Radiant Barrier Roof Sheathing
  • Blown Cellulose Walls
  • Daylighting from Skylight Tube
Lot 14
2289 Square Feet
The Amberview
1010 Natural Springs Way
Leland, NC
Waterford of the Carolinas
Brunswick County
Directions from Wilmington:
Head south on S 3rd St/US-17-BR toward Dock St.
Turn right at US-17-BR S/US-421 N/US-76 W.
Continue to follow US-76 W.
Merge onto Ocean Hwy E/US-17 S via the ramp to Myrtle Beach/Shallotte.
Turn right at Olde Waterford Way.
Turn slight left toward Palm Ridge Dr.
Continue straight onto Palm Ridge Dr.
At the traffic circle, take the 1st exit.
At the next traffic circle, take the 1st exit.
Turn right onto Natural Springs Way.
House will be on the left.
We look forward to seeing you!

How to Build a Compost Bin

March 15th, 2010

Waterford Leland, NC home builder Mark Johnson Custom Homes would like to share an informative article about how to build your own compost bin courtesy of Jennifer Stimpson, This Old House magazine.

If you love to garden, nothing feeds your plants better than compost from your very own backyard, and its priceman pouring compost into his compost bin (free!) is impossible to beat. But the pile itself isn’t exactly an eye-catching feature. Though you can buy a compost bin made from budget-friendly plastic or even chicken wire, a wood bin, typically made of rot-resistant cedar, will conceal those yard clippings and kitchen leftovers without sticking out like a sore thumb on your landscape. The gaps between the wood slats let air circulate around the pile to keep odors at bay and ensure that wastes are breaking down; removable slats, front panels, or doors make it easy to turn the pile and remove compost when it’s ready to spread. Click here and follow the directions to make a rustic little structure that will help you keep your yard thriving year-round.

Energy Guide LabelThe EnergyGuide label gives you two important pieces of information you can use to compare different brands and models when shopping for a new appliance:
 
 
 
Estimated energy consumption on a scale showing a range for similar models

Estimated yearly operating cost based on the national average cost of electricity

The Primrose at Landfall built in Wilmington, NC by custom home builder and remodeler Mark Johnson Custom Homes was recently recognized as one of the Most Innovative Small Residential projects in the country. The honor was presented as part of the ICF Builder Awards, an international competition designed to showcase the advantages of building with Insulated Concrete Forms, commonly called ICFs. ICFs are hollow foam blocks which are stacked and then filled with steel-reinforced concrete. The finished structure combines the strength of concrete with the insulating properties of foam, which stays in place to insulate and protect the walls. This construction method can reduce energy bills by up to 70 percent, block exterior noise, and is extremely disaster resistant. As an additional benefit, it is one of the most popular ways to “build green” costing between 5 to 10 percent more than regular frame construction.

The Primrose at Landfall was named First Runner-Up in the Small Residential division. The presentation, witnessed by hundreds of construction professionals associated with the industry, took place last month at the World of Concrete trade show in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The ICF Builder Awards are given annually to projects that demonstrate outstanding innovation, quality, and craftsmanship in ICF construction. “The variety and scale of projects being built with ICFs is truly astounding,” said Clark Ricks, editor of ICF Builder magazine and organizer of the competition. “It’s time these outstanding projects received industry-wide recognition, and we feel privileged to take a leading role in that.”

For more information about the ICF Builder Awards, go to www.icfmag.com.

Wilmington, NC Green builder Mark Johnson Custom Homes understands the importance of recycling and would like to share the following information about recycling paper, courtesy of NCGreenPower.org.

  • Every ton of recycled paper saves 17 trees compared to paper made from virgin materials.
  • Instead of using a new piece of paper for rough work, turn over a used copy and write on the other side.
  • Junk mail is more than an annoyance. It clogs landfills as well as your mailbox, and costs millions of trees and tax dollars every year.
  • 5.6 million tons of catalogs and other direct mail advertisements end up in U.S. landfills annually.
  • The average U.S. household receives unsolicited junk mail equal to 1.5 trees each year—That’s more than 100 million trees for all households combined.
  • 44 percent of junk mail is thrown away unopened, but only half that much junk mail (33 percent) is recycled.
  • Americans pay $370 million annually to dispose of junk mail that doesn’t get recycled.
  • On average, Americans spend 8 months opening junk mail in the course of their lives.
  • Start by registering with the Mail Preference Service of the Direct Marketing Association (DMA). It won’t guarantee you a life free of junk mail, but it can help.
  • You can also go to OptOutPreScreen.com, which can enable you to remove your name from lists that mortgage, credit card and insurance companies use to mail you offers and solicitations.
  • One option is to use the Stop the Junk Mail Kit developed by the Consumer Research Institute.
  • The website JunkBusters.com provides further guidelines for reducing junk mail and other intrusions, from unwanted e-mail (Spam) to telemarketing.
  • Pay your bills online! Eliminate your paper trail as well as the energy used to transport paper bills.
  • Go digital. If only 10 million people in the US change Mon-Fri newspapers to online, we could save almost 50,000 trees each year!
  • Manufacturing products from recycled materials requires substantially less energy and natural resources than products from virgin materials.
  • You may think that a lot of paper gets recycled, but according to the National Recycling Coalition, Americans throw away enough office paper each year to build a 13-foot-high wall of paper from New York to Seattle.
  • Do your part – recycle!

Low E Argon Windows

February 23rd, 2010

Pender County, NC home builder Mark Johnson Custom Homes is preparing to break ground on our second Insulated Concrete Form home. The owner of the home being built in Currie, NC has chosen to add Argon gas to the standard Low E windows. What’s the benefit of using Argon gas in addition to the Low E glass? Read below to find out!

Today, more than ever, the environment is a major concern. With the effects of global warming almost universally recognized, and the problems with climate change becoming gradually more apparent, the time to act is most certainly now. Add to that the weight of increasing energy bills, and you have got yourself a real incentive to save energy and the world in which we live.

By making simple decisions around the home, we can increase our insulating properties and require less energy to heat our homes, which can help the earth and our wallets. One such way is through installing low E argon windows. In this article, we will look at the benefits of low E windows, and why they should be a realistic consideration for anyone looking to update their household windows.

What does Low E Argon Mean

Regular windows lose heat through four recognizable processes; namely convection, conduction, radiation and leakages. Convection is where warmer air is cooled by exterior air and as a result moves in a downwards direction, thus creating a draft. Conduction is the loss of heat directly through the window.

Air leakage is the physical gaps within the window and its frame, which is another means by which heat is lost. Finally, radiation is the loss of heat in the form of infrared energies through the window. This process is obviously inefficient and costly, in terms of the wasted energy.

What is more, this means that we aren’t getting the most from the energy we are producing, which means we need more energy, which is subsequently more harmful to our environment. However, low E argon windows can change all that.

Low E argon windows work primarily by reflecting heat which would otherwise be wasted back into the room in question. Because it contains argon, the window is significantly better at reflecting heat rather than conducting heat, and consequently keeps the heat in, and keeps the unwanted heat out. This results in a massive energy saving, which is reflected in the first instance when the bill arrives at the end of the month.

Why Low E Argon

Low E argon windows should be a very important factor when it comes to replacing windows. One thing you may notice in the first instance is that low E argon windows are more expensive. This is due to the more technologically advanced manufacturing process, which is also more labor intensive. Having said that, it is estimated that the average household could save $240 every single year through installing low E argon windows, a massive saving over its lifetime. By making the initial investment, the windows will generate a tangible saving, year on year, whilst also going a long way towards saving our planet.

Low E argon windows are becoming increasingly popular and it is easy to see why. With society’s greener conscience, and a determination to cut down on energy bills, there has never been a better time to install low E argon windows in your home.

With that minimal initial investment, you can rest, safe in the knowledge that you are increasing your energy efficiency and doing your bit to protect our volatile environment in these crucial environmental times. Alongside household recycling, maximizing energy efficiency is one of the easiest tangible things you can do, and with such an enormous saving, it is hard to justify not making the transition.

Courtesy of: OnlineTips.org