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Evolving into a New Era of Home Building

Net-Zero Energy Homes designed for the Future of our Planet

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”   – Buckminster Fuller

Ever since the first cave family decided to move out of their drafty subterranean dwelling into a sun-drenched lean-to shelter in the suburbs, homes have been becoming more energy efficient. Through the years, home builders and buyers have adapted building techniques to address climates, forces of nature and social needs. Today, homes from big cities to remote regions are ready to enter into a new era, with change being driven by an urgent need to conserve precious resources, clean air, water and energy, not to mention land itself.

Fuller’s notion is very applicable to our present-day situation. Today’s existing reality is that standardized home construction practices need to be updated to a new sustainable model of building. In other words, a Zero-Energy or Net-Zero Energy-Ready Home.

A Net-Zero Ready home is built to be more energy-efficient than a conventional home built to minimum code requirements. Improved energy efficiency is achieved by using:

  • Additional insulation.
  • High-quality, energy-efficient windows and doors.
  • Energy Star® appliances.
  • LED lighting and lower water use fixtures.

These features, combined with intentional design, utilizing natural heating and cooling qualities along with the introduction of natural light, all add up to the highest energy efficiency possible, well above the usual standards. A Net-Zero Energy home is complete with all of the efficiency elements, plus the addition of solar energy and other renewable sources to offset the home’s energy consumption.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the residential and commercial sectors consume about 70% of the total electricity in the United States. Currently, fossil fuels such as coal, petroleum and natural gas are required to produce the majority of that energy. Unfortunately, emissions from burning these fossil fuels are extremely harmful for the environment and human health, and must be phased out as soon as possible.

Thankfully, Zero-Energy Ready and Zero-Energy homes have crossed the threshold to becoming financially viable for home builders. A study performed by the Rocky Mountain Institute highlighted that Zero-Energy homes have an average cost premium of 7.3% and Zero-Energy Ready homes have an average of just 1.8% cost premium compared to baseline code-built homes. The study also finds that homebuyers are willing to pay as much as 4% more for a green built home. And that’s before tax incentive help compensating for the extra cost. So the question remains: Why aren’t we building more of them now?

Sad as it may seem, we are currently at the proverbial crossroads of maintaining a habitable planet for our species or possibly setting the stage for the end of humanity as we know it. At least as far as home building is concerned, the tools have been developed and the technology is in place to evolve like our cavemen ancestors and build a better future.

For additional information, visit a local-based website, zeroenergyproject.org and the Department of Energy’s Zero Energy Home page at energy.gov/eere/buildings/zero-energy-ready-homes.

Some information provided by ABBIE AND RICK SAMS

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Give Your Home Some Love this Fall and it will Love You Back this Winter.

Get your home ready with our quick maintenance checklist.

Some people here get very excited about the warm active summers. Others are all about the wonderful white winters. But the season everyone seems to love the most in Central Oregon is fall. The temps are mild and comfortable for all of the outdoor activities, yet the trails, waterways and golf courses are much less-crowded. And we all remember why we moved here in the first place. No wonder it’s the only season that has two names.

But in between all of those delightful autumn hikes, bike rides and rounds of golf, you still need to take care of a few home maintenance items to make sure you can enjoy the winter months as well. Not only will lower your utility costs, it can help you avoid expensive repair bills.

Annie, Get Your Caulking Gun

First on your to-do list next weekend is making sure your house is air tight. Leaks near doors, windows and other openings account for a high percentage of heating costs due to a loss of warm air. Sealing these areas with weather stripping or caulk will leave your home feeling more comfortable and significantly reduce your heating costs.

Service the Furnace

Once your home is no longer leaking its vital essence (heat), make sure the furnace is ready to produce it. After all of the smoke-filled skies we’ve had recently, it’s especially important to have an HVAC company inspect, clean or change the air filters. This keeps energy costs down while extending the life of the system and helping to improve indoor air quality.

Blow Out Before the Snow’s Out

Leaves turning colors and falling to the ground are a sure sign that it’s about time to have your irrigation system winterized. Most sprinklers are not buried deep enough to avoid freezing in the winter, and frozen pipes that are full of water are very likely to break. Most professional landscaping companies are equipped with compressors that can force the water out of the pipes with air pressure. But they get very busy this time of year, so you’ll want to contact one soon. Don’t forget to drain, disconnect and store garden hoses for the winter as well.

Gutting it Out

After some recent winds, your gutters are probably filled with dirt, leaves and other debris, limiting water flow. After you’ve removed everything you can, it’s a good idea to pour a gallon or so of water to make sure your gutters are sloped properly and will drain when the winter snow melts off the roof. If you’re unable to do this yourself because of the height of your roof, contact a pro. They can also offer solutions to keep debris from getting into your gutters in the first place.

The Ice Dams Cometh

If you’re new to colder climates like we have in Central Oregon, you should know that ice dams can form on snow-covered roofs during freezing and thawing cycles. Warm air escaping from inside the home moves through the attic, heats the roof and melts the snow from below. This melted snow (aka water) flows down the roof under the snow pack, until it reaches the much colder eaves, which causes the water to freeze. This creates a literal dam of ice which allows water behind it to pool up over the heated attic space. Standing water on top of the roof will try to finds its way into the home, and can damage walls, ceilings and insulation, all of which can cause many thousands of dollars in repairs.

One way to help prevent ice dams is to hire a professional to add insulation, seal warm air leaks and create proper ventilation in your home. Short of that, your next best option is to regularly scrape the snow from the roof or hire a pro to remove it for you before it’s too late.

We hope you’re enjoying the crisp mornings and mild afternoons of fall in Central Oregon. But if you’d like to get out and enjoy winter just as much, you’ll need to get your homework done.

Some information provided by ABBIE AND RICK SAMS.

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Duke Warner Trend Report for September 2020

It’s official, and Fall is here! After an epic summer of historical portions, for both home buyers and sellers in Bend, the leaves are changing, and there is a slight chill in the air. Central Oregon is as beautiful as ever, and although the seasons are changing, the real estate trends remain as fast and furious as the spring and summer. In our monthly Trend Report, we offer valuable insights by reviewing last month’s activity, which can be a wonderful resource for any upcoming trends we might see as we finish out October and move into November.

We continue to see throngs of homebuyers from out of the area seeking to relocate to Central Oregon. As many of us know, Bend has been a magical vacation town for many people and families for generations. We are not surprised to see some urbanites taking advantage of the remote work possibilities and landing on Bend as their new home destination. Just as the past several months, unprecedented transactions both in the fast selling process and the number of active home seekers who are outbidding one another is a larger factor in the increasing housing prices. The active Bend listings for September increased mildly from August but were still historically low due. Homes continue selling at a rapid-fire pace- often within hours of hitting the market. The low inventory in both Bend and Redmond markets continue to create a sellers’ market.

October 1st Inventory and September Activity

With a slight bump in active listings as of October 1st, the Bend market has 197 active listings, and Redmond experienced a substantial drop in current listings at 111. The supply and demand of buyers vs. sellers continue to be quite the precarious dance in the real estate market in Central Oregon. Still a seller’s market regardless of the season now would be an excellent time to consider selling your home if it is on the radar for Spring 2021. We see the combined active listings for Central Oregon at 308, a dip from 322 last month.

Property values are increasing substantially daily, and our experienced, local brokers have not slowed down as the summer months progressed into Autumn. They continue to seek out the ideal home for buyers, which has required 24/7 diligence as a real estate expert. The Redmond markets showed 127 homes sold, 109 new homes on the market, and 139 homes pending. The bulk of active homes on Redmond’s market were in the $325,100 -$425,000 price range, showing 42. The $225,000 – $325,000 had half the active listings from August at 6, and the $525,000 & up price range showed 38 active listings.

For Bend, the numbers in September were similar to August except for the $225,000-$325,000 range  with only 1 active listing, 32 in the $325,100-$425,000 range, 38 in the $425,100-$525,000 range and 23 in the $525,100-$625,000 price range. Eager homebuyers are waiting for additional homes to be put on the market, in all price ranges, as the Duke Warner Realty trend report data exposes. We showed a slight increase to 50 active homes available in the $925,100 & up price range compared to 42 in August.

As the real estate market continues the expeditious pace, buyers should expect to compete with multiple full-price offers. If you are on the fence regarding selling your home and trying to price your property, we encourage you to consult with your trusted Duke Warner Broker for seasoned, expert advice. Our brokers will share their experience, knowledge, and excitement while they work for you. Duke brokers know how to price properties according to the market trends and current housing competition. At Duke Warner Realty, we can help you plan, sort out the details, and get you started on your home buying or selling journey.

Sold and Pending Listings

Bend had 329 pending homes in August and 272 in September. These numbers confirm the sellers’ market telling us both buyers and sellers seek to finalize a purchase or sale. For sold listings, there were 306 in August and 286 in September. In Redmond, we saw 133 sold listings in August and 127 in September. We expect the homebuying frenzy to continue feverishly through the end of 2020 well into 2021.

A Real Estate Expert is More Important Now Than Ever Before

Many of us know and value this special place we call home. Central Oregon is a beautiful place to live, and no matter what stage of life you are in, there is something for everyone in the real estate market. As you consider your housing needs, start to plan and look ahead; whether you want to buy or sell a home, keep us in mind for your real estate ventures. Our professional brokers can offer great insights as you navigate your next home experience. Give us a call today, and let us help you get started! We can be reached at 541.382.8262 or send us an email at info@dukewarner.com. Because you can’t fake experience.