energy efficient homes

The ICON SMART Package: Why We Use Smart Technology Features in Our Homes

 

Building a home is an endeavor that looks into the future. It’s one of the only things you’ll ever buy that will impact your life so profoundly and for the long term. It’s why there must be foresight involved, vision, and expertise on a variety of fronts—from structural and architectural integrity to functionality, aesthetics, to the everyday appliances.

When searching for a custom home builder, it’s important to know how they are using all of the tools available to them. As El Paso’s most successful custom home builder, one of the ways ICON Homes stands out is our efforts to stay at the forefront of cutting-edge technologies that make life better.

In a previous post, we talked about our decision to switch to 100% spray foam insulation. Similarly, smart home technology is all the rage, but it’s not just about luxury or bragging rights. It’s not just about having sleek and cool-looking gadgets in your home. These technologies exist to adapt to the way of life of the modern family and make things better. Let’s take a look at some of the features available with our homes.

For Increased Energy Efficiency: The Nest Programmable Thermostat

Imagine a thermostat that knows things about you. It figures out when you go to work, when you come home, when you wake up, and it sets the temperature accordingly. In the past, people had roosters that announced the coming of dawn. Today—while you can certainly still have a rooster—you can wake up to the coziest temperature in the bedroom so that leaving those warm blankets is not such an arduous task.

This small ENERGY STAR certified apparatus of 3.3 inches wide and 1.8 inches thick is like an algorithm master; it uses artificial intelligence (AI) to learn about your house, how long it takes to warm up, what the weather is like, and how to better serve your HVAC system to help energy saving. The Nest Thermostat uses sensors and smart technology to program itself based on your daily patterns. The purpose of its learning and algorithms is so that it can better serve you and save you energy. With this thermostat, you can program your HVAC systems through your smartphone, control the temperature from inside or outside the house, and track changes. Other convenient features include:

  • The Airwave feature automatically gives your AC a break by kicking on the fan and helping circulate the cool air already in the home.
  • A Nest can detect when it’s being heated up in direct sunlight. The Sunblock feature will automatically adjust so the readings are not skewed.
  • The Cool to Dry feature kicks on the AC and reduces humidity in the air
  • The Early-On feature will figure out when to turn up the heat so that you can wake up to a cozy house.
  • Coupled with ICON’s spray foam insulation, this Nest thermostat achieves even more energy efficiency.

For Added Security and Monitoring: The Smart Ring Doorbell

So you’re waiting for an important package to arrive but traffic was bad and you’re not going to make it home in time. If only there was a way that you could talk to the delivery person and let them know to leave the package behind the large plant. Wait, there is a way! Smart doorbells are much more than adding a novelty sound so you can hear Beethoven’s Fifth every time someone comes to your door.

Today, a smart doorbell can detect motion at your front door, send you notifications to your smartphone or PC, and even allows you to see and speak to visitors through the app. The Ring Doorbell provides extra security; it has caught criminals in action as they attempt to take packages or approach the home. The camera and microphone allow you to communicate directly to the person at your front door. You can even sync the Ring Doorbell to your security system. This feature is available with an ICON Home.

For Added Security and Convenience: The Keyless Entry Deadbolt

Locking yourself out of your house, or carrying your house keys is a thing of the past. Or you can at least do it the modern way. Having a keyless lock on your front door can help with added security. A keyless entry deadbolt can lock and unlock your door through a four-digit code.

For the Technological Modern Family: USB Outlet Charging Stations

We can’t deny that technology has integrated itself deeply into our lives. All of our homes come with conveniently located USB outlet charging stations, so your family can keep their devices charged and ready at all times. With your ICON Home, you have the option of getting two, three, or four charging stations.

Reach Into the Future. Make Your Home an ICON.

Building a home is a multi-layered undertaking. It’s not done by just one person; it requires multiple hands, labor, expertise, and knowledge. ICON synthesizes all of these efforts into an easy process. This demands, however, that the home builder be well-versed in all of the different areas. ICON Homes is there every step of the way. Our SMART package is only one way we take our homes to the next level. Questions about our features? Give us a call!

Constructing Visions: How ICON Is Changing the Design-Build Process

 

There are plenty of builders that strap the title “custom” in front of their name. But here at ICON, we take the label to heart. Our passion for the process exists because we know that when future homeowners draw out the vision for their home and slowly make this vision a three-dimensional-sleek-modern or transitional home a reality, it transforms the way they think about the word “home” forever.

 

Why the Right Builder Makes a Difference

Many people put their dreams on hold. They make excuses about why they can’t do something or why they better not. It’s too hard. I’m not sure how it will turn out. etc. Let’s face it, life is full of risk. And buying a home in any circumstance can be a risk—just like getting on the highway is a risk. But with the right builder, the unknowns are eliminated. An experienced builder replaces those unknowns with years of knowledge, expertise, and an effective process. This is why ICON is the leading home builder in El Paso, building upwards of 100 truly custom homes a year!

 

It All Starts With Your Vision

Many people begin with a vague idea of what they want their home to look like. If you need some brainstorming ideas to kickstart this exciting opportunity, here are some things to consider:

  • Your Specific Needs. Building the house of your dreams is not only about what you want, but it also provides an exhilarating opportunity to accommodate any special needs for you and your family. Things to consider include: do you have children or plan to have children? What about pets? Are there or will there be elderly people living with you? Do you need a guest room for the beloved in-laws? One or two car garage?  Do you need a multi-generational mini master suite for that boomerang child that keeps coming back, or for an aging family member?

 

  • Your Lifestyle. Think about the kinds of activities that take place in your home. If you plan on working from home, you’ll certainly need a reliable spot to do so. Do you have kids or pets that will need to spend time outdoors? Size of the yard? Do you have a lot of family barbeques that can be enhanced with a patio? Do you plan on having large dinner parties? Do you spend a lot of time in the living room with the family? Do you enjoy cooking out on weekends, or do you need a space set up for a custom grill or smoker?  How about a pool house or guest house? Ohh and an outside bathroom, And so forth!

 

  • Space and Layout. Do you envision a one-story or two-story home? What structural features would you like to see in your house? Where should the Master Bedroom go? Do you want an open interior layout or divided rooms?

 

  • Special Features & Details. This can go on for a while, but let’s look at some of the biggest considerations. Colors? Fireplace? Carpet or flooring? What kind of materials? For the kitchen: How much counter space? Gas or electric stove/oven? Walk-in pantry? For the bathroom: standing shower, bathtub, or combined? Vanities? Linen closets?

 

Involving You in Every Step of the Process

At ICON Homes, we take pride in our process. Many years of experience have brought us where we are today in developing the most extensive, interactive, and involved process that ensures our clients stay current with every step as their house goes up.

Here’s a glimpse into what you can expect:

  1. Bring us your ideas or check out our plans. Many of our clients see different elements of an ICON Home and would prefer to mix and match along with some ideas of their own.
  2. Speak with a designer.  Ask the questions you need to reach your goals and receive feedback in the process. This includes inquiring about the features and layout options.
  3. Experience the different building stages with guided walkthroughs. First, take a tour of the home as the frame is set. This will show you the sturdiness and durability with which we set foundations, the quality materials, and you will see the layout in the flesh for the first time. Second, you’ll walk through as we’re placing all of the electrical outlets and wiring. Third, you’ll see the house as other important wiring systems are put into place. This includes the heating and cooling, plumbing, spray foam insulation, and anything that goes behind the walls. This gives you the peace of mind that all of your necessary utilities will be properly installed with no problems. Here at Icon Custom Home Builder, we encourage you to inspect your home as its being built and we find that our customers tend to enjoy being a part of the homes process.   Finally, you will walk through as the house has been fully erected and any final details need to be sorted out.

 

Design. Build. Make Your Home an ICON!

Your dream is there for the taking and ICON Homes is here to help you build it. Give us a call today and get the process started.  Design, Build, Go!!!!!!!!

Going Custom: The Benefits of Spray Foam Insulation

Custom built homes are a relatively new phenomenon. In the past decade or so homebuyers have really started to see the benefit of building their dream home through a custom home builder. This type of approach means you have knowledge and control of some of the structural and fundamental aspects of the home. From the frame to the coat of wall paint, the homeowner is engaged in the process. Last month we wrote a brief overview of some of our main energy efficient features. We thought we’d look at our newest addition a little closer.

Spray Foam Insulation as a Signature Feature

At ICON Homes we use 100% spray foam insulation. You may have heard the term, but what does it mean to you as a homeowner? There are plenty of short-term and long-term benefits. Spray foam, also known as polyurethane foam (SPF), is a highly versatile and effective insulation method used in residential and commercial buildings. Air leakage can account for a significant portion of lost energy, and the right barrier will prevent this and cut down on energy bills and keep your home at a comfortable level.

There are two types of spray foam insulation. There is the less dense and spongy-textured open-cell. Then there is the more rigid closed-cell foam that has high-density cells that are closed. Spray foam insulation is usually designated with an R-value. This refers to a material’s ability to resist heat flow. A higher number means a higher R-value. This can also depend on whether you are using closed-cell or open-cell. The R-value is a type of metric with which you can measure the efficiency of the insulation and how well it is protecting your home.

The Benefits

There is a myriad of benefits when it comes to using polyurethane spray foam in homes. Let’s take a quick look at how it benefits homeowners and why it is the fastest growing insulation method in North America.

  • Airtight. Once it is applied, spray foam hardens, expands, and becomes an airtight surface that is highly effective in blocking the passage of air and moisture.
  • Versatile. Because it can be sprayed on any surface and small space, it is an incredibly versatile material.
  • Keeps out moisture. This type of insulation is great to keep moisture out. It protects the structural integrity of your home and means there is less maintenance required.
  • Soundproof. Polyurethane insulation is also a great barrier against sound coming from the outside or from other rooms in the house.
  • Relatively easy installation. The installation of this type of insulation does not present any added complications to the building process and is, in effect, simple to install, even in those hard to reach places.  

The Background of Spray Foam Insulation

Spray foam insulation came about in the days of World War II. The preliminary technology was developed by a German industrial chemist named Otto Bayer, who had been working with polyurethane in the late thirties. Polyurethane was typically used for military and aviation purposes related to the war.  The concept was brought to the U.S not long after by David Enyon of Mobay, a company working with the American war effort.

It was not until the next decade that polyurethane began to be experimented with as home insulation. Proceeding inventions made the application of the material easier, which increased its popularity. New approaches like the “blendometer”— a small apparatus that blended the components needed to make the material and produced the foam—propelled it into the mainstream. Advances in other industries, like the automobile industry, indirectly helped the advancement of this particular technology. It wasn’t until the 1980s, however, that the spray foam was more widely used for home insulation. It was around this time that the spray nozzle was invented for its application and heightened the popularity with home builders.

Go Custom with the Best Home Builders in El Paso

Many people today are choosing to go custom and building their new homes from the ground up. It is through this process that people have a say on some of the fundamental decisions of their home structure that will affect the way their house performs for years to come. What goes behind the walls is just as important as what you see in front of them. We use spray foam insulation because it provides the client with more value. It enhances the integrity of the home. It makes for a better performing and more comfortable house. If you’re looking to buy a home, make your home an ICON. El Paso’s best custom home builders and designers are ready to build your vision!