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



Green Up Your Valentine's Day

February 8th, 2010



Pender County, NC new home builder Mark Johnson Custom Homes would like to wish all of our reader’s a Happy Valentine’s Day and share this very informative article courtesy of NC GreenPower that gives Green gift suggestions for this special day.

Flowers, cards, candy? GREEN up your Valentine’s Day with these ideas that both your significant other and the environment will appreciate!

  •  Instead of traditional flowers for Valentine’s day, give a beautiful, long-lasting potted plant from a local garden.
  • Cook a romantic meal using all organic ingredients from local markets. www.carolinafarmstewards.org
  • Want to take your date to dinner? Then think about supporting a restaurant that uses locally-grown produce.
  • Around a billion valentines are sent each year globally, making the day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year behind Christmas. Those one billion cards laid end to end would stretch around the world 5 times! That’s a lot of trees. NOT including cards exchanged in classrooms between children, 180 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged in the U.S. alone. So forget traditional paper Valentine’s Day cards! Instead send an e-card that will save paper and get to your Valentine right on time.
  • If you’re really splurging this year and want to get jewelry, find a jeweler who uses conflict-free diamonds, like www.brilliantearth.com. Brilliant Earth uses Canadian diamonds and recycled gold, which means their sales never support slavery, child labor, or terrorism.
  • Take a green vacation with your loved one – visit our website to purchase carbon offsets for your trip.
  • Send your sweetheart organic fair trade chocolates this V-day. www.equalexchange.coop
  • If you want to get a really unique gift, check out Ten Thousand Villages. It’s not only a socially responsible business but also eco-friendly.
  • For a simple $24 tax-deductable donation, you can also give the gift of clean air with an NC GreenPower gift card! www.ncgreenpower.org
  • Consider natural perfumes. Other fragrances are synthetic and often from toxic petrochemicals from crude oil.
  • Take a trip to your local park, aquarium or zoo. Or better yet, make a donation to the ASPCA or Humane Society.
  • If Valentine’s Day is an important day for you, show a bit of extra love for the environment by carefully considering what you buy.

Courtesy of: ncgreenpower.org

Ed Newsome's Hardwood Floors

January 28th, 2010

Ed Newsome's Hardwood FloorsPender County NC custom home builder Mark Johnson Custom Homes is proud to have Ed Newsome’s Hardwood Floors as one of our trusted trade partners. For 16 years, owner Monty Newsome has personally been overseeing the business that his father started in 1985. Ed Newsome’s Hardwood Floors has run an honest company that provides quality work on every job. Their professional approach, timeliness and ability to keep customers well-informed at each step of the installation process ensures a high customer satisfaction rating. For your hardwood flooring needs, contact Monty by phone at 910-791-9000, email (monty@newsomefloors.com) or visit their website!

Pender County, NC remodeler Mark Johnson Custom Homes would like to share a recent article from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Green Home Guide. The Green Home Guide Staff detailed the environmental benefits and impacts of Green insulation and explained the pros and cons of each type of insulation. Below are their findings on cellulose insulation and to read more on cotton, fiberglass, foam, polyisocyanurate (polyiso), polystyrene and polyurethane, click here!

“Cellulose insulation is made primarily from recycled paper. About 75 percent of the material used to make cellulose insulation is post-consumer waste paper, giving it the highest average recycled content of all insulation types. The manufacture of cellulose insulation involves a fraction of the energy use and pollution required to make mineral wool and fiberglass insulation. Additionally, scrap cellulose generated during installation can be reused, cutting down on waste.

Cellulose insulation has no significant effect on indoor air quality. Offgassing of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) contained in ink on newspaper waste in cellulose insulation is not a health concern, since some ink is removed while recycling paper into pulp and much of the ink used is vegetable based. The amount of boron used as a flame retardant in cellulose is harmful only if ingested.

Cellulose insulation is blown into wall and ceiling cavities as well as onto attic surfaces, though to stick to attic ceilings it must be held in by netting or sprayed on wet with an acrylic binder to prevent settling. Like all sprayed or blown insulations, it can be installed into wall cavities through a series of small holes drilled in the wall, causing minimal disturbance during remodeling. It is not suitable for application below grade (below or at the perimeter of the foundation) or in other locations where it would be exposed to moisture.

Cellulose can absorb moisture, decreasing its R-value over time, and if it is exposed to moisture for long periods it will rot and grow mold. In some instances a vapor barrier should be installed once the insulation has fully dried (typically in two weeks) to prevent moisture from reaching the insulation. Good sources of information on construction practices that minimize moisture problems are the climate-specific Builder’s Guides available from the Energy and Environmental Building Association.

Loose-fill cellulose typically costs 25 percent less than fiberglass, though installation may be more expensive. Proper installation is important to prevent undue settling. Wet-spray or dense-pack installations are typically more expensive than fiberglass installation. However, installing cellulose installation with these methods is extremely airtight, so the nominal (rated) R-values are more commonly achieved than with fiberglass batts.”

Pender County, NC Green home builder Mark Johnson Custom Homes would like to share an article from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Green Home Guide on how to ensure you have an eco-friendly environment for your newborn. Below are the eight elements of a Green baby nursery and for more helpful hints from the USGBC, visit www.GreenHomeGuide.com!

  1. “If you are pregnant, do not paint the room yourself. Have someone else—family member, friend, or hired hand—paint with one of the new water-based low-VOC paints.
  2. Painting should be done at least a month before the baby is due, and it can be cured by using a room space heater.
  3. Stay away from new carpeting. Better to just leave whatever flooring is already there and clean it well. If you have to put down new flooring, consider natural linoleum.
  4. Your baby will spend many hours sleeping, and at times will need the room to be dark and peaceful during the day. Consider wooden shutters (with a nontoxic paint or finish) or aluminum mini-blinds that will allow you to adjust the light as needed.
  5. The crib is your baby’s “home” and needs to be as pure as possible in every way. Choose real wood, natural finishes, and untreated pure cotton and wool, preferably organically grown.
  6. Most toys sold in major toy stores are made from plastics. Plastic is a major contributor to indoor air pollution. There are many natural cloth and wood toys available on the Internet.
  7. Be sure to provide good ventilation in the nursery, and at the same time watch out for drafts. Newborns need to be kept warm, but they also need fresh air.
  8. Once you have a nontoxic nursery, keep it safe by using only natural and nontoxic cleaning products and pest controls. See The Green Guide’s Buying Guides for product recommendations.”

Pender County, NC new home builder Mark Johnson Custom Homes would like to share a press release posted on HousingZone.com earlier this month. The National Tile Contractors Association has launched Tile-TV, a new tool to enhance the experience of its active tile and stone contractor members and other industry professionals to utilize online. Below is an excerpt of their press release and to read more, click here!

“Non- members can contact the NTCA for a copy of the most recent episode as well as to find out more information on advertising, sponsorship and subscription. Starting in January, Tile-TV will also be emailed to 8,000 NTCA email subscribers.

With each new episode of Tile-TV the NTCA will present a monthly survey of its contractor base to create a dialogue between its staff of highly-trained in-house technical experts and tile and stone installers around the country. Every member is encouraged to visit the site and click on Tile-TV to provide input and feedback on this monthly topic. The results are posted on a two-episode lag and designed to keep all members in the know with regards to the latest news, information, and other industry updates.

“Tile-TV was created to keep our members in the loop,’ said Bart Bettiga, executive director of the NTCA. ‘New technologies, sustainability topics, association news and so much more are covered in each episode. Members can reach out to their employees, other associates and even customers by simply emailing the link to them.’”

Solar Coming to Store near You

January 14th, 2010

Pender County, NC luxury home builder Mark Johnson Custom Homes would like to share an article from Builder Magazine written by Chris Kahn. Solar paneling will soon be available to buy nation-wide at your local Lowe’s Home Improvement! Below is an excerpt from the Builder Magazine article and to read more, click here!

 “Lowe’s is already stocking solar panels at its California stores and plans to roll them out across the country this year.

This shows how far the highest of the high-tech alternative energy technologies has come. Solar power is now accessible to anyone with a ladder, a power drill, and the gumption to climb up on a roof and install the panels themselves.

For Lowe’s, it’s an opening into a new and potentially lucrative DIY business.

‘There’s definitely a growing market for this with the number of people moving toward energy efficient homes,’ spokesman Steven Salazar said.”

Pender County, NC custom home builder Mark Johnson Custom Homes would like to share a press release from one of our vendors, Horizon Forest Products. With a new facility, Horizon Forest Products aims to improve current loading processes and improve customer buying experience. Below is an excerpt and to read the complete press release, click here!

 “Horizon Forest Products (HFP) and Long Floor have announced the relocation of their Beltsville branch to a new 36,000 square foot building.  The facility is located at 10549 Tucker Street in Beltsville and will allow the branch to expand in the coming months.

Phil Kearney manages the companies’ Beltsville location and says that the move is the largest undertaking of his career and adds that the new location will allow for greater company efficiency and will improve overall customer service and satisfaction.

‘In our new space, we’re able to provide inside truck loading, which is ideal during inclement weather,’ explains Kearney.  ‘We also have more showroom space and the capacity to set up the product store that our other branches have been able to do and have been able to bring together our inside and counter salespeople, who were previously located in two separate locations in the building.  Overall, we now have a larger, cleaner, more sales-friendly and more convenient location.’”

The Beltsville branch employs 15 employees and recently occupied a 27,000 square foot facility.  Kearney adds that the new location also provides a much larger parking area, allowing the branch to set aside priority spaces for customer parking.”

Choosing A Color Scheme

January 11th, 2010

If you are feeling overwhelmed when it comes to picking and blending colors for you home, we have found a quick and easy solution! Pender County, NC home builder Mark Johnson Custom Homes would like to share an article from the Founder of Rental Decorating Digest, Tammy Jo Schoppet, on how to quickly create a color scheme for your home. For more of Schoppet’s interior decorating ideas, visit www.RentalDecorating.com!

“PICK a Pattern: Starting with a pattern is the easiest way to create a color palette for your decor. Choose a pattern from any object you already have and love such as a pillow, picture or piece of furniture. This will be your color palette!

SEE Three Colors:
Select a light, medium and dark color from your pattern to be used as your foundation. You may want to go to a hardware store and select color chips from the paint department that match your pattern to carry with you in case you come across a great find and need to know if it matches.

LMD: Light, Medium and Dark – How you use these colors can affect the overall appearance of your room. 

  • Light- Is the Background- this is usually easy to achieve since most rentals are equipped with light to off-white walls.
  • Medium- Large furniture and windows – Since the color of these objects will blend with the above lighter selection, the medium furniture will ground the room and give it a foundation.
  • Darker- Accessories. Since your eye is drawn to a darker more intense color you will be able to arrange you accessories in a manner to guide the eye flowing through your room.

PICK – SEE – LMD   Use it whenever you are trying to pull together a color coordinated room!”

Making your bathroom more energy-efficient can be very simple and Pender County, NC custom home builder Mark Johnson Custom Homes would like to share an article from the U.S. Green Building Countil’s Green Home Guide on how to do just that! Lili Wright wrote an article for the USGBC with eight simple steps; they are outlined below and to read more, click here!

  • Fix leaky toilets.
  • Repair dripping faucets.
  • Install newer-model faucets and showerheads.
  • Turn water off while shaving or brushing teeth.
  • Plug the bathtub before turning water on and then adjust the temperature as the tub fills up.
  • Find out what’s in your water.
  • Consider installing a water treatment system.
  • Use the simplest, least toxic cleaning and body care products.