Saturday, October 26, 2013

2013 Title 24 Energy Standards Impacts

Effective January 1, 2014

The California Energy Commission approved upgraded energy compliance requirements that will become effective January 1, 2014.  The new requirements are part of the energy Commission's Net Zero goal for 2020.  The new requirements will require homes to be 20-30% more efficient than the current regulations.  Projects submitted to building departments prior to January 1, 2014 will not be required to meet the new standards.

New 2013 Requirements

Mandatory Enforcement
  • All homes will be required to install sealed ductwork and hire an independent Home Energy Rater (HERS) to inspect the duct installation during construction and verify duct leakage does not exceed 6% on new homes and 15% on remodels and additions.
  • Install a dedicated electrical outlet for a future demand gas water heater and install a gas pipe sized to provide at least 200,000 BTU demand to the same location.  Installation of gas service is not required.
Upgraded Requirements
  • Wall insulation will increase to require installation of rigid insulation on exterior walls or complete additional upgrades in the house to avoid the change.
  • Window U-Values and Shading Coefficients will require installation of high efficiency windows.  Typical vinyl windows with dual pane Low-E glass will not meet this requirement.  Windows will require additional high performance coatings (ie. Milgard SuncoatMax) or special tinting. Credit for installing most industry standard Low-E windows will be eliminated.
  • Homes with significant cooling demands (ie. Central Valley and Inland Valleys) will be required to install a Commission approved whole house fan with automatic insulated shutters, or complete additional upgrades.
  • All hot water pipes 3/4" and larger will require insulation, not just the hot water line to the kitchen sink.
  • Lights in the garage, lanndry room and utility rooms must be high efficiency and installed with special "vacancy censors".
  • Lights recessed into the ceiling, no matter where they are located, will require gaskets and sealing.
  • Return grilles on air conditioning systems have new sizing requirements.  Anticipate grille size to increase by 50-100%.
  • Additions and alterations will require a special HERS inspection during design to determine existing conditions in order to take credit for any improvements to the house (ie. ceiling insulation, window upgrades, heating and air conditioning upgrades, etc.).
It is anticipated that the new requirements will add as much as $10,000 to $15,000 per project.

For more information go to

Friday, September 27, 2013

California Codes Changing & 100% Plan Rebate

This is an important notice for those building in California.

The 2013 California Energy Commission Energy Efficiency Standards are being increased on January 1, 2014.

These new standards will increase your building costs. If you would like to avoid these increased costs you will need to submit to your local building department for 'plan check' before the end of 2013. Contact your local building department to confirm their specific plan submission requirements to avoid these new increases.

In order to allow us to assist you in getting these plans done in a timely fashion we are offering a 100% Base Plan Rebate.

To take advantage of the 100% Base Plan Rebate, Pacific Modern Homes must have all contract documents by October 31, 2013 with the Base Plan payment plus any plan modification costs.  This promotion only applies to new orders and cannot be combined with any other promotion. The 100% base plan rebate will be given on the final package delivery amount and must be chosen from the existing PMHI pre-engineered product offerings. Plan modifications are allowed but are at an additional cost.

To take advantage of this please contact us asap

For more information go to

Saturday, June 22, 2013

A Morning Delivery and the Beginning of Construction

We delivered a Riverbend package to west Sonoma County on winding country roads arriving at about 9 am and the first truck loaded with wall panels was positioned to unload.

As the panels were carried up to the job site by the Gradeall - the first panel was lifted into place.

As the walls were going up the second truck was positioned to begin unloading the trusses.

  And the walls kept going up !!!

Although windows are installed in the factory - the sliding glass doors are shipped loose and have to be site installed.


I had to leave at 1 pm so I did not get to see the full front of the house complete as they were just lifting the panels of the second bay window into place.


I have to admit that it is a treat to see a home going up.
For more information go to

Thursday, June 13, 2013

California 2013 Building Efficiency Standards

These changes will be going into effect on January 1st.  As there always is a learning curve, we will work with clients to meet the new standards but what is important to realize is that with these changes comes additional costs.

The California Energy Commission has adopted changes to its 2013 Building Energy Efficiency Standards, contained in the California Code of Regulations (CCR), Title 24, Part 6 (also known as the California Energy Code).

Among the provisions are:
  • Green House Gas (GHG) considerations, which identify buildings as second only to transportation in emissions. Legislation, such as AB32 (2006, 2010), and executive orders (S-3-05, 2005) have established goals of reducing GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and to 80 percent of 1990 levels by 2050.
  • New building standards are to achieve "net zero energy" levels by 2020 for residences and by 2030 for commercial buildings. A net zero energy building consumes only as much energy on an annual basis as can be generated with an on-site renewable energy system.
  • The Green Building Standards Code, first adopted by the California Building Standards Commission in July 2008, calls for tiered energy performance levels of 15 percent and 30 percent more stringent than the 2008 mandatory standards. These goals are voluntary on a statewide basis, but local jurisdictions may adopt the Green Building Standards Code as mandatory at the local level.

Climate Zones and Compliance LevelsThe 2013 standards’ requirements are based on 16 defined climate zones within the state (e.g., Zone 1 = northwest and Los Angeles-area shorelines; Zone 15 = southern desert; Zone 16 = eastern mountains). The requirements consist of three elements:
  • Mandatory Requirements – things that always have to be done.
  • Prescriptive Compliance – specific criteria or performance measures that must be achieved. These are often considered too restrictive.
  • Performance Compliance – using approved compliance software to demonstrate compliance for the entire building based on trade-offs among various installed features. The mandatory requirements still must be met with the same prescriptive package features. Because builders want credit for installed features, more than 90 percent of all compliance is achieved via this method.
Standards Change for Low-Rise Residential BuildingsThe 2013 standard places a mandatory maximum conductive heat transfer (U-factor) requirement on all fenestration products separating conditioned space from unconditioned space. Revised prescriptive requirements for high-performance windows reduce the maximum U‐factor to 0.32 and maximum Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) to 0.25 in most climates (there are no SHGC requirements in mild coastal zones). Visible transmittance (VT) has been added to the fenestration product characteristics that must be tested and labeled according to National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) procedures.

Authorized exceptions include installation of up to 16 square feet (increased from the originally proposed 12 square feet) of skylights with U-factor of 0.55 and SHGC of 0.30, and use of up to 3 square feet of door glass and 3 square feet of tubular daylighting device at any performance level.

“Component Packages” as defined in the 2008 version have been removed. The sole prescriptive package in the 2013 Standards (“Package A”) is what was called “Package D” in the 2008 Standards. “Package E” for metal-framed windows, which allowed higher aluminum framed U-values by introducing tradeoffs with other features, has also been eliminated.

Area weighting is acceptable, meaning that some windows can be worse than the specified performance as long as the average for the building meets the criteria.

For more information go to

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Pacific Modern Homes 45th Anniversary Special Promotions


First, let me congratulate Pacific Modern Homes on their 45th Anniversary.  I am proud to work for a company with such a high level of integrity.  I believe that much of their success is that they put customer service first before all else.  As a part of this they also value their employees and customer service representatives knowing that without these individuals delivering a superior product would not be possible.
In celebration of this milestone they are offering special promotions for their customers.  But - these offers are for a limited time only so please let us know if you would like to take advantage of one of them.  Click below to see the three different options:

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Your Perfect Home? – It May Not Be Your Neighbor’s…………….

The beginning of the process that occurs with all of my clients is the choice of a dream home – the floor plan, the style and the needs of the family.  Frequently choices are made because of what a neighbor’s home looks like or what one thinks may have a good resale value.  With these considerations it is easy to end up with a home that does not meet your dreams.  The value of a home to live in is more important than a home’s resale value.


Trust your instincts.  Does a small room make you feel all warm and fuzzy?  Do you hate housekeeping and don’t have the budget for a housekeeper?  Is sitting outside on your covered porch in the morning having a cup of coffee on your bucket list?  Or a view of the sunset in the evening?  Is the last home you are planning on living in?  Or do you have a childhood memory that you want to capture in this new home?

 This is the time to ask if smaller spaces with higher ceilings might not work.  Or strategically placed windows and covered porches creating not only a wonderful spot to sit but shade from a hot summer sun.  Or perhaps a walk-in shower sounds good because there is no glass door to clean – and that backing in the wall is just there until it is needed.  Or is it a bay window or a porch swing or small library filled with books.

According to a survey conducted by the National Association of Home Builders, a covered front porch is becoming a standard feature in new homes.  With the economic revival homes are becoming more about the individual’s experience, preferences and needs and less about expectations.

So as you make decisions and plan your new home – this is an excellent time to ask what things are truly important to you.

And as I always try to remind people – paper and pencil is far less expensive than wood and concrete.

For more information go to




Sunday, March 17, 2013

Additions Using Our Framing Packages

We are frequently asked if we can create a framing package for an addition.  The answer is yes.

An over size garage on one side of an existing house.

And a two story 5000 square foot addition on the other side.

And two weeks after the delivery the packages are completed to  closed in shells.

For more information go to

Sunday, March 10, 2013

A recommendation of North Coast Packaged Homes

Building a home is a large and daunting project and for many it is perhaps the first time they have every tackled such a large project outside of the area of their own expertise.  Our goal is to make it at least a bit easier and manageable so that each of our clients can achieve the dream of building their own home.

Thank you very much for the information about PMHI products, company, etc.  I am looking forward to the factory visit Wednesday.

As it stands now, we are looking proceed with the purchase of a modified version of your New Haven plan.  I’ve decided to use your dealer: Ann Zollinger of North Coast Packaged Homes for this purchase.   Ann is very helpful and forthcoming with information; Contractor and other trade referrals for this project.  She is taking an active role in the process.  So far everything I have experienced with Ann has been nothing but outstanding.

For more information go to

Using Manufactured Trusses

One way to keep costs in check is the use of manufactured trusses.  These trusses differ from a cut roof with a large beamed ceiling but a coffered or center vault can still be achieved as trusses come in many different designs.

Trusses are manufactured at the factor using a very cost effective and green method of construction.

We provide the truss plan and truss calculations to submit to the building department and to build the truss roof.

Truss roof can be used with a variety of exterior appearances such as hip roofs or a straight gable.

For more information go to

Thursday, January 31, 2013

February Price Increase

The good news is that at long last the construction industry is turning around.  I am busier than I have been in years and have more active clients than in the last four years combined.

But with this increase in traffic - and obviously not just my business - an increase in the demand for materials and labor in the construction industry.  We have observed the price of lumber and lumber products rise slowly but consistently week after week.  And it is anticipated that these increases will continue during the upcoming months.

If you are interested in building this summer now is an excellent time to start the plans and get your building project underway.  The energy codes are going to change on January 1, 2014 as California as well which will again increase costs just to meet the new codes.

For more information go to

Friday, January 25, 2013

Annual Meeting with Pacific Modern Homes

Today was our annual PMHI meeting.  In addition to our normal financing news and marketing tips, we had an excellent presentation my Dave Morgan who prepares the Title 24 and CalGreen checklists for the clients who use our home building kits for their framing.  As their are going to be major code changes next January it is imperative that we work together to hopefully get your permit prior to that time.

But if not, we at North Coast Packaged Homes will be prepared to work with you on design options to make this transition for your panelized framing package and the overall design as painless as possible.

For more information please contact us at or visit our website at

Monday, January 21, 2013

Cut Roof or Manufactured Trusses ?????

One of the most common questions people typically request is about either having a vaulted ceiling or an attic.

First, most of our packages typically are built with manufactured trusses:

Manufactured trusses are a cost effective way to support a room.  They can come in a variety of shapes:

Using a scissor truss can create a vault although it is not as deep as a cut roof - it is a less expensive alternative.  It does though require that the exterior roof pitch be steep enough to allow for a scissor or studio vault type roof.

An attic truss can create a small attic for storage or for the heating unit - but it does not create a second story like a cut roof can create:

We can design an open rafter roof to allow for an attic or an "open beam" vaulted roof but the cost difference and labor involved to build a cut roof as opposed to rolling manufactured trusses must be taken into consideration.
For more information go to