How to Make Your Home More Eco-Friendly

Bart Beasley Charleston eco-friendly home

Reducing your carbon footprint, while extremely beneficial to the world around you, can be a difficult task, especially when doing so in the process of remodeling your home. Aside from incorporating temperature-regulating walls or solar panels, there are a number of cost-effective strategies you can implement in achieving a truly green home.

Energy-efficient appliances

Refrigerators, washers and dryers, dishwashers, and air conditioners certified by Energy Star have proven they meet high levels of energy efficiency. When the need to replace any of these appliances arrives, keep your eye open for that blue label. Not only do these certified products use much less energy, thus reducing their impacts on the environment, but they can drastically decrease your monthly bills as well. Similarly, LED light bulbs or compact fluorescent lamps save a great amount of energy, and last much longer than standard, traditional bulbs.

Programmable thermostats

When the house is empty during the day or all of its residents are asleep, leaving the thermostat on the same temperature throughout these times can dramatically hike up your energy bill. While it may seem easy to simply turn off the air conditioning or heat when nobody’s home, it’s an action that is commonly forgot. Installing programmable thermostats allows you to regulate the temperature of your home without even thinking. By presetting the thermostat to change to specific temperatures throughout the day, you no longer have to worry forgetting to turn the AC or heat off before leaving your home.

Reduced water use

Leaving a sink or shower running for longer than anticipated is a surefire way to increase your monthly payments, as well as waste a decent amount that could otherwise be used for better purposes. An easy solution aside from being mindful when using water is installing low-flow shower heads, or washing your clothes in cold water and allowing them to air-dry. Additionally, faucet aerators create a combination of water and airflow, reducing the amount of water used as well as releasing a smooth, splash-free stream.

Indoor plants

Live plants around your home promote oxygen output, and can act as natural air filters, in addition to providing an aesthetically pleasing environment. Some plants can even absorb harmful toxins in the air, and with the constant dirtying of carpets, couches, or pollutants emitted from chemical products, these can be extremely beneficial. Some of the best indoor greens you can buy include English ivy, aloe plants, a rubber tree, or bamboo palm.

 
Regardless of how you wish to do your part in environmental conservation, the concept as a whole is important in today’s world, and some of the simplest solutions involve the inner workings of your own home. Consider the above strategies if you wish to do so. An eco-friendly home is not only helping the world around us, but providing a financially sustainable investment that offers many long-term benefits.

How to Build on a Budget

Bart Beasley building on a budget

The process of building your own home can be a fun, yet challenging task. With all the steps involved, it’s no surprise that prices can begin to rise, resulting in very high expenses. Research the industry. Ask questions regarding construction trends, common mistakes, and more to those with experience in this field. Planning ahead is key in order to ease some of the stress that comes with being your own construction manager, as well as help properly budget that which you expect to spend.

Hire a Structural Engineer

While this may seem counterintuitive when attempting to save money, having a professional ensure regulations and safety in the structure of your home is very important. A structural engineer can provide information on factors you may otherwise miss like specific elements that provide stability, environmental concerns, and potentially hidden expenses.

Examine Location

Certain areas may be more expensive to build homes in than others. Once you’ve chosen a location, understand the property’s boundaries, and try not to exceed them, as bigger generally means more expensive.

Eco-Friendly Energy

In 2008, the U.S. Department of Energy reported that over $19 billion was saved by Americans who employed energy saving measures. This can include things like rechargeable batteries, solar powered products, or the Gota Dishwasher.

Consider Prefabricated Homes

Depending on how large your desired home will be, this isn’t always the cheapest option. However, company-built prefabricated homes can already come with the benefits of energy efficient rooms, while cutting your work time in half.

Stay Organized

Setting a budget beforehand crucial. Unexpected hiccups are bound to happen, and this can lead to additional costs that you hadn’t planned for. Map out how much you plan to spend on specific items, and leave a little room for error.

In addition to organizing your finances, be sure to have a predetermined plan as to the layout of your home. Know where certain pieces of furniture will go and how big you want specific rooms. Changing your mind in the middle of the process can greatly extend your projected time of completion, which, in turn, can lead to even more expenses.

 
If you’re in the market for a new home, and building said home is the route you wish to take, managing your finances is vital. Though they are just a few of many, consider the above suggestions in order to build the home of your dreams, and not falter when prices begin to rise.

Bart Beasley Custom Builders: Longborough – Charleston Peninsula

Longborough is one of Charleston’s most recent neighborhoods, but you’d never be able to guess so by looking at the gorgeous neo-classical homes that comprise it. The neighborhood offers a Charleston experience unlike what you’d find in the lower peninsula. The flow of time is slower, there’s less hustle and bustle, and many of the homes offer a serene overlook of the serene Ashley River. Bart Beasley and Beasley Custom Builders have had the pleasure of working on a number of homes in this truly distinct neighborhood. Here’s a look at some of them:

Bart Beasley

Recently Completed: 2809 Middle St.

I’m very pleased to announced that we recently completed yet another home. Located on the gorgeous Sullivan’s Island just outside of Charleston, 2809 Middle St. is a cozy, open home. We wanted to welcome in the surrounding environment while still giving a sense of privacy. It’s hard to figure out what the crown jewel in this home is. The pool and surrounding deck are very inviting. Then again, so is the porch. I personally how the kitchen ended up.

See for yourself!

Bart Beasley Charleston - 2809 Cabana Bart Beasley Charleston - 2809 Pool Bart Beasley Charleston - 2809 Front Bart Beasley Charleston - 2809 Kitchen Sink Bart Beasley Charleston - 2809 Kitchen Island


 

Bart Beasley’s Tips on Moving into Your New Home

I’m lucky to be able to build homes for people. I get to help them live in the home that best reflects and suits their needs. As much as I wish people could just start living in their new homes with no hassle what-so-ever, unfortunately there’s the whole entire moving-out and moving-in process to go through. Moving is no one’s favorite past-time, but it needs to be done. Here are some tips to make moving a bit easier:

Self-Storage

There’s a chance that everything in your old-house is not going to fit int your new house right away. In that case, self-storage is a relatively convenient way to keep your belongings secure and out of the way. Chances are you can just use the moving truck the day of or the day before to get anything you need to into storage

Here’s a list of some great self-storage options around Charleston.

Organize and Label

To save yourself some time and frustration, try to keep all of the items that are going together in the same box. Kitchen things with kitchen things. Living room things with living room things. Etc. Along those lines, make sure that all of your boxes are clearly labeled for which room their going to. If one box has some fragile things inside, be sure to make a note of that. That’ll help out both you and your family, and any professional movers that may be helping you. Some people even like to color-code their boxes with stickers and markers. Green = kitchen, etc.

Lifting Properly

When you’re younger and the body is a bit more spry it seems like the back is the strongest muscle in the body and should be used as such. Of course, as you get older you learn that this sadly is not the case. Over my years of building and fishing and moving, I can definitely say that this is not the case. Make sure to squat and use your legs when lifting. As I was taught when I was younger (and ignored until I was older), the human body is not meant to boom and crane. It can. It definitely can, but at the cost of back-pain and the possibility of a displaced disk.

Bags

Every week we accumulate a lot of bags. Plastic bags and paper bags from the grocery store, ziplock bags for snacks and to-go food, and luggage and backpacks for moving things. Moving from one home to another is the perfect opportunity to make use of all of them. You can use plastic and paper grocery bag for wrapping and padding fragile items. Ziplock back will go a long way in helping you organize small miscellaneous screws, hangers, and other odds and ends. If you have gall0n-sized bags, you can use them to hold any spare electronics cords or office supply items.

The backpacks and luggage will come in hand for your overnight bag. When you show up for your first night at your new home, you might not want to unpack everything right away. Even if you do, you might not be able to easily find everything you need (both for your first night and your first morning). Put together a First-Night bag for any essentials that you might need, including toiletries, PJs, snacks, and a fresh set of clothes for the next day.

 

I wish you the best of luck in your move, and hope you enjoy your new home, whether you end up in one that I build for you or another.

Thanks for reading,

Bart Beasley

Beasley Custom Builders: Our Process

At Beasley Custom Builders, we’re dedicated to helping you build the house of your dreams, at the most reasonable price, and as soon as possible. But how exactly do we go from an idea to reality?

In this presentation I take a look at the process of building a dream home.

Beasley Custom Builders: Our Building Process from Bart Beasley on Vimeo.

Beasley Custom Builders: Our Work

Since I started working as a builder in the Charleston area in 2003, I’ve had the opportunity of helping a number of great people build their dream homes. Although we’re based out of Mt. Pleasant, we’ve made homes on Sullivan’s Island, Kiawah Island, and, naturally, right in the heart of downtown Charleston. From building larger luxury homes to renovating smaller modest ones, our work has grown to be adaptive and serve the needs of each of our customers. I can promise that our work will give you the greatest value for your dollar in the quickest time possible. Below is a video that showcases some of the wonderful work that we’ve done over the years.

If you’d like to learn more, check out BeasleyCustomBuilders.com.

Spring into Spring with These Home Improvement Ideas

Hello all! It’s official: spring has sprung in most of the United States. Goodbye are the days of sunshine that give way to cold, ice, and even snow. Hello sunshine. Period. The spring time is a great time to act on all of those projects you’ve been thinking about doing during the winter, but had been putting off, because, well, it was the winter. Not sure where to start? Below are several ideas to help your start your spring home improvement off on the right foot:

image of cluttered desk - home improvement ideas by Bart BeasleyClear out the Clutter

Are there winter clothes that you didn’t wear once when it was cold outside? As you make the wardrobe switch from winter to spring, are you noticing some spring clothes that you never knew you had before (because you never wanted to wear them before!). If so, now’s the perfect time get rid of them. Spring’s all about beginning the new year. One way to do that is to get rid of the clutter. In addition to clothes, take an inventory of electronic goods, tools, and even food to see what you haven’t used and ask yourself the hard question of do you ever think you’ll use them? One spring my wife and I found a cornbread from three years ago. Although mix was still good, we realized that we weren’t going to use it any time soon.

Bonus: Rather than just toss out everything, see what might be suitable to donate. Chances are there’s a local charity that would be more than glad to accept any clothes, electronics, and canned goods you might be trying to rid yourself of.

Give Your Home Exterior Some TLC

Have you noticed your home’s exterior paint fading? Does it seem to just be a bit out of style? The spring’s the perfect time to repaint your home the way you want to. Even something as small as a touch-up can help stretch out the life of your siding and trim. Along those lines, wipe aways the grime that’s accumulated over the past several months by giving your home a power wash. Are your gutters in shape? They’ll need to be for spring and summer showers. Make sure they’re cleaned.

Bonus: If you’re sick of cleaning out your gutters, look into installing a LeafFilter or LeafGuard system.

image of men working on a roof fixing panels - spring home improvement ideas by Bart Beasley of CharlestonGo Green

There are a number of ways that you can cut cost, reduce your environmental footprint, and make your home more durable. One of the largest cost during the warmer months will be your AC bill. Make sure your ducts are sealed, so that no air is leaking. Install a programmable thermostat to help you regulate the temperature and your energy bill (no need to have the AC on full blast while you’re gone; it will save you money to actually leave it running at a few degrees warmer). Make sure your insulation is up to snuff to keep cool air in and warm air out (and vice versa during the winter).

Bonus: Feeling bold? This might also be the time to install those solar panels you always wanted. Check out the federal tax benefits. Your state might even have its own incentive plan.

 

These are just several ways to get your home into springtime shape. For more home improvement tips, check out BartBeasley.org.

Winter Home Projects

Winter Home ImprovementsWith the winter coming up, people start thinking about what home projects they can start in the spring. But like most us, the thought of a cold, long winter stuck inside can drive one mad. But you can keep busy this winter by working on some of these easy and rewarding home improvement projects.

The best projects to consider getting started on are ones that can give not only improve your home but can increase your property value and save you money on bills. Here are some great ideas to get your started.

Better Your Bathroom

Winter time is the best time to work your bathroom. There’s no reason you can’t turn that boring bathroom into something that looks like it should in a spa retreat. Consider doing some upgrades replacing the bathtub, or working on the tiles on the floor to not only give the room a facelift.

A total bathroom remodel can be a costly and time-consuming investment, but it’s something those (especially with older homes) should consider. When it comes to bathtubs, sinks, and toilets, consider how much plumbing is going to be involved. Seeking professional help for this is important too, as for the common DIY’er it could be a little too much. Plus as most contractors will tell you, if you’re going to invest in a project, make sure you get it right the first time.

Lighting Updates

In these cold, dark winter months, a little light can go long way. Brightening up a room can warm you own spirits and set you up for the spring with new lamps or ceiling fan. Plus it’s one of the most affordable ways to update any room.

Not only is it an easy money saving option, in terms of upgrading to energy efficient options. LED-style lights are more energy efficient, but with the option of having a dimmer, can set the mood for a room, giving it a new a fresh look. Another form of lighting that is growing in popularity is Steampunk. Steampunk lighting is a cross between vintage and industrial designs.

The Kitchen Backsplash

Upgrading your kitchen can be a very timely and expensive, but adding a nice little backsplash can not only a great addition to any kitchen, but it can be a great winter weekend project.

Consider the personality that you can give to a room with a little upgrades where and there. A few years ago, most hardware stores only had in average 40 tiles to choose from. Today most stores have over 400 styles to choose from. The possibilities to change a room are endless and can really change an entire room.

Installation is a pretty simple process that any DIY’er can do, but be prepared! Make sure you are taking the time to prep and lay out a template that is unique to the area you working with. Plus another great resource to use is free tile classes from your local Home Depot that can help you be the most prepared you can be!
 

Build Your Better Home – Winter Home Projects from Bart Beasley on Vimeo.

Energy Efficient Improvements

As less and less people are building new homes, most people are buying homes that are now approaching the 100 year old mark. Older homes have their appeal of having some history and character to them that new homes just don’t have.Bart Beasley Old house

Older homes do come with a downside though. Large utility bills being at the top of that list. Luckily, there are easy fixes that can save you money on energy costs, and actually be valuable upgrades to a home. Let’s take a look at some of the best energy saving upgrades you can make on your old home.

Seal Air Ducts

Air ducts move air from your furnace to your living space. Older ducts have a tendency to bleed out heat. It’s a common issue that is just caused by old age in the ducts that can include holes, or just simply loose joints between ducts.

To make your ductwork more efficient try these simple fixes. For the loose joints, just adhesives. For those holes and cracks you might find, high quality metal tape can seal those ducts right up. Regular old duct tape isn’t a substitute for metal tape, with many HVAC professionals calling for you to avoid using duct tape on your ducts.

Furnace Upgrade

Once your ducts are all sealed up and up to modern day standards, considering upgrading your furnace to an Energy-Star rated one. These newer furnaces will cut your heating bills by almost 35% percent and are helping America become more energy efficient. With more energy efficient furnaces, the less fuel we need, and that means less money spent on heating bills.

Seal Windows and Doors

A simple fix to trap heat inside of your home is to simply make sure your doors and windows are sealed well. Weather-stropping and caulk can go a long way with saving your hard earned energy costs. Adding caulk around your windows can seal up major weak points where heat can escape your home. With an average cost of $150 to bring in a professional to seal your cracks, it’s an easy, cheap fix that will save you money in the long run.

Get a Programmable Thermostat

These thermostats are helping homeowners all across the nation by saving money when they aren’t home or are asleep. As long as you’re keeping the difference within a few degrees, most energy experts say you can save money per degree on energy bills. So, for example, if would see a 5% decrease in your bill if you lower your heating by 5 degrees at night.