95n House and Home

Talks about Home Interior Design and Furniture

The New Home Communities Of San Antonios Wilshire Homes

If youre looking for new San Antonio homes for sale then you undoubtedly have heard the name Wilshire Homes. Wilshire Homes has become synonymous with quality and value, and has earned a solid reputation when speaking of San Antonio homes for sale.

A good example of Wilshire Homes commitment to the best San Antonio homes for sale is the many awards and accolades this Texas homebuilder has received. Wilshire Homes has been awarded the following accolades:

Energy Star Leadership in Housing Award, Winner 2009

Grand MAX Volume Builder of the Year Winner 2004, 2005, 2006

Best Places to Work in Austin Winner 2004, 2005, 2006

Best Places to Work in San Antonio Winner 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008

San Antonio Summit Awards Winner 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007

Wilshire Homes has also become one of the builders in terms of green building. When searching for San Antonio homes for sale, consider Wilshire Homes for its commitment to both green and sustainable building. In fact, this San Antonio home builder focuses on creating healthy indoor living environments for the people living in these homes. These goals are accomplished by adopting a wide variety of new construction and development techniques and philosophies all of which emphasize preservation of the environment, water conservation, energy efficiency, and healthy, non-toxic interior living spaces.

Some of the newest Wilshire Homes communities include:

The Estates of Lookout Canyon Creek

Homes priced between the $200,000s and the $260,000s

Conveniently located off Highway 281 North, this gated community features such amenities as: a recreation center and swimming pool; a toddler swimming pool; a picnic area; a sports court; and miles of walking trails.

Bulverde Village

Priced from the $190,000s to the $290,000s

Conveniently located in the Texas Hill County, this Fort Worth home community features a number of outstanding community amenities, including: a recreation center with a swimming pool, a splash pad, covered cabanas and restrooms; a basketball court; a playscape; and miles of walking trails.

Lakeside at Canyon Springs

Priced from the $180,000s to the $260,000s

This Fort Worth home community features a gated entrance and a community pool, complete with a splashpad and a cabana. The entire neighborhood is surrounded by greenbelts, and the convenient location is close to medical facilities, restaurants and shops, just to name a few.

Terra Bella

Terra Bella, which is located near Stone Oak, features a gated entrance, an amenity center, a community swimming pool, and a playscape.

Wilshire Homes allows homeowners to personalize their homes, and each home is designed around each individuals needs and wants. Instead of prepackaging a home like other home builders often do, Wilshire Homes is committed to building custom homes that adhere to the companys core set of values: Honesty, Integrity, Trust and Respect, Teamwork, Entrepreneurial Spirit, Excellence, and Continuous Improvement.

Wilshire Homes is an Austin-based homebuilder and is Central Texas largest, private homebuilder. Wilshire Homes has built homes in 20 communities throughout Austin and San Antonio.

Reasons Your Mom Wants Soundproof Windows

When the kids head outside to play, it gives mom time to do other things. She can tackle some chores, soak in a hot bath, or relax and read a book. Sounds great, right? There is just one problem – the peace and quiet is constantly destroyed by the sound of kids yelling and screaming right outside the window.
Even though she knows they are just playing, no mom can relax or focus on a task when the ear piercing cries of her children are reaching her. You know the kids are fine and one of the other kids will be quick to inform you if there is a real problem, but you just cant help being distracted by the racquet. So whats the solution?
A great solution is sound proof windows. Noisy children are just one motive to invest in soundproof windows, though. Here are 7 valid reasons all moms deserve soundproof windows in their home.

7. Eliminate the Sound of Rowdy Children

It really is not necessary to hear the kids taunting and teasing each other or whooping and hollering as they play their games. Its even less necessary to hear the kids next door when they are creating a cacophony of noise. Eliminate that racket with soundproof windows.

6. Shut out Those Noisy Neighbors

Soundproof windows effectively reduce the noise made by your neighbors lawn mowers, stereos, and domestic disputes. Keeping those sounds out will help make your home a more tranquil place to live.

5. Increase Your Homes Value

Odds are you will sell your home some day. Installing sound proof windows increases the value of your home, so not only do you enjoy a quieter, more peaceful place to live, you are making a sound investment in your home.

4. Save on Taxes

When you install Energy Star soundproof windows, you are eligible for tax rebates. You can enjoy the peace and quiet even more when you know you also have a tidy tax savings wrapped up.

3. Increase Energy Efficiency

When you replace older windows with soundproof windows, you not only reduce noise, you also reduce energy costs. Soundproof windows are a great way to help retain heat and energy in your home instead of letting it escape outside.

2. Durable

Soundproof windows are strong and resilient. They often last much longer than other types of windows. You may never have to worry about replacing windows again.

1. Better Quality Sleep

After you install your soundproof windows you may be surprised just how much better you find yourself sleeping. You wont be disturbed by traffic noise, barking dogs, or thunderstorms. Even those noisy garbage trucks wont wake you up in the wee hours of the morning. And lets face it, a mom who gets a good nights sleep and wakes up feeling rested and refreshed is a much happier and more energetic mom. Thats a bonus for the whole family.

Choosing An Energy Star Home

When you make the decision to build a new home, you want a builder who will provide the highest quality at an affordable price. Many Knoxville home builders can offer competitive prices but when you are investing in a new home, you want the best. Home ownership is a great investment, but it can also cost a lot of money over the years. You can save in future ownership costs if you choose a builder who can build an Energy Star qualified home.

What Is Energy Star?
Energy Star is an international, governmental standard for energy efficiency in consumer products. When you own an Energy Star home, you have a home that performs better than most homes in America. Your cost of upkeep and ownership is reduced, and your home will last longer without the need for repairs.

What Makes a Home Energy Star Qualified?
Energy Star homes have higher standards for insulation and water management. In an Energy Star home the walls, floors, and ceilings are all tightly sealed and properly insulated to reduce drafts and leaks. Proper insulation not only provides lower energy costs, but also better air quality. Energy Star homes will have protection from more pollen and dust then regular homes.
Energy Star homes also must have efficient water management systems. There must be a way to direct water off of the roof and away from the foundation. This keeps your roof in better condition for longer, and protects the foundation from water damage.

If you are building a new home, your quality of life and cost of ownership will be improved if you invest in and Energy Star home. Many Knoxville home builders can build you a decent home, but if you want the best, find a builder who can give you an Energy Star qualified home.

Londons Dirtiest Buildings

An energy survey that carried out recently on several public buildings in and around London shows that Buckingham Palace is the least energy efficient of them all. The palace which was built in 1820 and was first ever occupied by Queen Victoria received the worst possible green score of 0 out of 10 when a team of energy surveyors carried out a survey of the palace following Januarys big freeze.

The surveyors was carried out by using thermal image testing to find out where the building was leaking energy. However, despite these tests being carried out in total darkness, the palace still lit up due to the amount of heat that was escaping from the building. The major culprits for this big loss of energy were the windows, the roof and even cracks in the wall. According to the surveying team, it appears that Buckingham Palace is better at heating the air outside than inside.

Furthermore, the latest Royal Household Financial Report that was carried out in 2008 showed that 5.9 million were spent on running Buckingham Palace, of which 2.2 million were spent on utility bills. However, according to the energy saving expert Ivan Lucas, the construction of Buckingham Palace does not lend itself to easily turning it into an eco-home.

However, there a few quick fixes that can be carried out in order to help Buckingham Palace save energy. These include replacing the single pane windows by brand new double glazing windows, because despite the thick curtains, a lot of

heat is still escaping the building.
Other repairs that can be carried to improve Buckingham Palaces energy efficiency include installing insulation panels to the outside as well as the inside of the property in order to minimize heat loss.

Carrying out these types of repairs will contribute to relieving the building industry that was very hardly hit by the recession. It would enable many companies to save jobs and train their staff in using energy saving materials.

According to energy saving experts, Buckingham Palace was not the only offender. Many other official or public buildings such as the MPs office building of Portcullis House in London and MI6 header quarters in Vauxhall were also part of the main offenders. Whats more, this happened despite the government recently launching a multimillion scheme that would lead to British households slashing their energy emissions by 50 percent by 2050.

In the light of the results of the surveys that were carried on many public buildings throughout, it transpires that the government is not setting a good example when it comes to reducing carbon emissions, and this despite multi-million schemes that aim at saving more energy.

Saving Money With Energy Efficiency

A home should be an environment that is comfortable in both the hot, summer months and the frigid, cold temperatures of winter. However, heating and cooling your home so that it is comfortable during these extreme temperature periods can get to be quite expensive. If you aren’t careful, you can rack up a huge energy bill during the winter or summer months without even realizing it. Heating and cooling a home requires so much energy, so sometimes consumers can become devastated at the amount they pay at the end of the month.

However, there are ways to save money on heating and cooling your home. These ways often have a less harmful impact on the environment and a less harmful impact on your pocketbook. While these methods may require an initial investment to make them operational, the money you save over time in heating and cooling your home will be worth the initial investment.

Insulate Your Home

The first and easiest way to make heating and cooling your home more energy efficient is to ensure that air is not escaping from your home or seeping in from the outdoor environment. Poor insulation is often the number one culprit in homes that use energy inefficiently.

You can improve the insulation in your home by installing energy efficient windows that are double paned, or you can have the cracks and gaps sealed around the windows with insulating material. You can also add insulation to your attic and prevent warm air from seeping out through your roof. These small home improvement fixes can help you save a lot of money on your energy bill at the end of each month.

Geothermal Heating and Cooling

Another great way to make your home more energy efficient is to install a geothermal heating and cooling system in your home. Geothermal systems rely on the heat that is generated from the ground in order to make your home more comfortable.

The earth is a wealth of energy, but many consumers don’t know how to tap into the energy that is right below their feet. A geothermal heating and cooling system taps into the heat sources and uses them to power an HVAC system. This type of system is expensive initially, but it can save you thousands of dollars in the course of a lifetime.

Solar Heating and Cooling

Solar power is another great way to save money on your energy bills each month. The energy from the sun is completely free and is abundant almost all year round. If you live in an area of the world that does not have a lot of rainfall, solar heating and cooling systems may be perfect for your area.

A solar heating and cooling system uses huge solar panels to absorb the energy from the sun and convert that energy into a usable energy that can help to power an HVAC system. With the energy from the sun powering the heating and cooling system in your home, you won’t have to shell out so much money each month to an energy company.

Luxaire Air Conditioners

Luxaire is a division of the Unitary Products Groups – A Johnson Controls Company. The company is a major supplier of heating, ventilating, air-conditioning and refrigeration units in the United States and a leading supplier on the international market. The quest of the company to find the top technology is evident in their line of energy efficient residential and light commercial heating and cooling systems. In addition, Luxaire offers you superior service and support. Efficient and reliable heating and cooling systems that are backed by award winning service is why many homeowners, dealers and distributors choose Luxaire systems.

A vital piece of the Luxaire cooling system is the air conditioning coil. The Luxaire system comes with two parts – an indoor and an outdoor unit. The indoor unit is the air handler or furnace, which is responsible for circulating air throughout the building. Inside the air handler or furnace there is a fan and an evaporator coil. Because of these two components being properly matched, you get a money saving efficient machine that gives you improved comfort and years of maintenance free service.

The air condition coil in Luxaire products are specifically engineered for outstanding durability and exceptional heat transfer. With Luxaire high quality coils you will get the comfort you need in either your home or business atmosphere. You get an indoor and outdoor unit that is perfectly matched for high efficiency. A positive-sloped drain pan reduces the issue of standing water that can lead to germs. A special patented MicroBlue coating on the air conditioning coil keeps germs and moisture from collecting on the coil and being released into the air. In a few air conditioning coils, you can get environmentally friendly and proven refrigerants. For optimum performance, there is an optional thermostatic expansion valve.

The 13 SEER: Climasure MicroChannel air conditioner will make a big difference in your energy bill. Sometimes it can reduce your energy bill by up to 50% compared to other central air conditioning units that are over 10 years old. When combined with a variable speed air handler or gas furnace, you will get efficiencies over 14 SEER, which can further reduce the operating cost of your air conditioning unit.

Lastly, Luxaire air conditioners are specifically engineered for reliability and outstanding performance. Luxaire air conditioners provide a high efficiency condensing units, which provides you with the comfort you need. For the highest efficiency, your furnace and coil are perfectly matched. You get an assured longer life with an advanced MicroChannel all aluminum construction. Luxaire air conditioning units are specifically designed to reach maximum performance in the minimum amount of space. All of the moving parts in a Luxaire air conditioning unit are specially selected and mounted in order to meet the lowest sound ratings. The fan motor on a Luxaire air conditioning unit is permanently lubricated so no maintenance is required.

With all these benefits, it is easy to see why many people are making Luxaire air conditioners the choice for all air conditioning needs. It is also clear why Luxaire has become an industry leader in the air conditioning industry.

Creating An Outdoor Oasis Under Retractable Awnings

The last few years saw a surge in home interior design, and that transitioned gracefully into an interest in designing a backyard with the same thoughtfulness and attention to comfort. Outdoor designs enhance the earthiness and roughness of nature, with the comfort and detail of indoors. This blend is integral to creating a polished, usable environment: the influence of indoor design brings structure and unity to the outdoor space.

Structure defines the space through construction like fences, patios, or gazebos, or through vegetation, like borders or shrubs. Modern retractable awnings are an uncomplicated and inexpensive method to introduce definition to an outdoor space without the high cost of construction or the high maintenance of complicated landscaping.

Define the Space with Retractable Awnings
Design is based on cohesion between decorating elements. For outdoor spaces, cohesion is predicated on structure, an outline for the area. With retractable awnings, the natural flow between the interior space and the new exterior space depends on the size and location of the retractable awnings:
Outdoor access, such as sliding doors
Shade needs for interior rooms; retractable awnings block heat, UV rays, glare, and sunlight, which makes them an asset for overly bright rooms or rooms with UV-susceptible elements, like paintings and photographs.
Sun orientation; retractable awnings which shade west and south facing rooms can reduce indoor temperature gains by 77%, so they are ideal for passive energy efficiency in sunny rooms
Size. The width of retractable awnings can be custom-sized by the inch, so it is possible to scale the retractable awning perfectly to match the desired location.

Incorporate drop screens to provide a natural fluidity to the area. Drop screens are mounted vertically and are lowered down. In areas around pools or for existing gazebos, stairways, or decks, drop screens mark pathways and create an enclosed feeling. Drop screens also have functional benefits, such as rain, UV, glare, pollen, and bug protection for exposed sitting areas.

Basic Design Ideas
Outdoor design is tied to the senses, and the primary sense is visual. First, retractable awnings provide a visual structure to the unordered outdoors. Second, retractable awnings create a color patter; the fabric and colors in the retractable awning define the overarching palette for the rest of the space and diffuse the ambient light, creating a subtle pervasive color.

This makes selecting the retractable awning fabric vitally important. Decide the mood or the natural element to emphasize.
Bright greens for lush vegetation.
Subtle patterns in dark greens and browns or woodlands.
Light blues, turquoises, and golds for waters and beaches.
Bright oranges, reds, and yellows for tropical or desert colors.

Subtle retractable awning features, like different colored frames, tie into the overall theme and contrast with the retractable awning fabric for visual depth. Valances for traditional lateral arm (flat extension) retractable awnings can have a dozen different patterns. For smooth and fluid environments, like beach themes, look for valances with movement to them, like scallops, with sharp angles to echo the rigidity of woods. Other distinct styles can be used throughout the space, such as fluttery sheets of fabric called butterfly awnings or fan-shaped awnings which can fit in corners.

The rest of the backyard space fall into place according to the core elements defined in the retractable awnings. The key is to pay attention to the details:
Seating, particularly with coordinating colors, luxurious pillows and throw blankets. The style of furniture is important, depending on the size of the area delineated by the retractable awning and the functional flow of traffic.
Plants. Retractable awnings cool temperatures as much as 20 degrees and provide protection from the harshest light, so it is possible to fill in the outdoor area with potted plants or types of plants which are prone to drying and heat damage in full sunlight, including ferns, some kinds of palms, flowers, and fresh herbs.
Lighting. Solar lights, strings of lights, and side lamps all provide safe and mild outdoor lighting, which can make the outdoor space enjoyable even after twilight. The retractable awning itself can support very light objects, like Chinese paper lanterns or Christmas lights, but its generally a bad idea to hang things from the retractable awning since that impedes its ability to retract.
Heating and fans. Free standing fans or outdoor heaters carry the seasonal life of the outdoor space from early spring well into early winter. Other heating options, like chimeneas, should be placed slightly outside the retractable awning, to prevent damage to the fabric from the smoke.

Retractable awnings are an interesting alternative for interesting spaces. Retractable awnings make a huge visual impact and provide the core structure and definition for planning an outdoor living space, while being a relatively inexpensive do-it-yourself project. Retractable awnings turn any outdoor space into a canvas for expression.

Saving Energy With Posters

Towards a Green, Energy-Saving Workplace

What does the term “going green” mean for you as far as your workplace is concerned? Environmental initiatives can be at once very simple to suggest, and simultaneously very difficult to implement. Also, there are a number of different paths that an office can take when it comes being eco-friendly. Recycling, for instance, is always a popular tack, requiring little more than the appropriate recycling bins for different types of waste, a few signs to remind people to “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”, and a brief awareness campaign for employees on the benefits of returning waste material to be reprocessed into usable goods instead of letting it collect in a landfill or garbage dump somewhere.

Another excellent direction in which to take a workplace that is attempting to paint itself green is in the realm of energy conservation. The significant electrical resources that the average office consumes to power lights and electronic equipment annually can become quite prohibitive, which not only leads to a really high utilities bill, but a lot less fossil fuel out there for the world to use. These policies can easily be adopted in the workplace, with a little information campaign, and a few energy saver signs.

Signs? It may seem like eco-friendly signs don’t accomplish much compared to, say, penalizing irresponsible employees for wasting resources. University research on the power of suggestion, however, clearly demonstrates otherwise. The fact is that an energy saving sign is a cheap and efficient method of subtly reminding employees that an environmental policy exists in the office, and gradually warm up to the idea that it doesn’t really take that much effort to participate.

For instance, a simple energy saving sign that tells people to turn the lights off after use, and not flick the switch for more lights than are actually necessary, will compel workers to think twice about how they typically waste electricity. A similar sign for electrical appliances does the same for all that equipment that stayed plugged and operational long after people have checked out for the day. Computers may at last be turned off after use, or placed in sleep mode if they are going to be left running, to be returned to afterwards.

One may not think that recycling saves energy, but it aids just as capably in overall resource conservation. Consider that one of the essential components of plastic is oil, which even the most optimistic of scientists will admit is a resource that will eventually run out. If the disposable plastic bottles and packaging that are routinely thrown away are instead rotated back into circulation, that saves on the amount of plastic that has to be manufactured anew. Consequently, that means less oil that has to be expended to make new plastic. A recycling sign will help people remember to put their plastic trash in a recycle bin, especially if placed in the breakroom and other common areas.

The power of sign suggestion cannot be denied. University research has shown that people are more susceptible to performing an act if they see a sign instructing them to do it on a regular basis. In this manner, a couple of well-placed energy saving signs would do well to promote a green workplace.

Improve The Worth Of Your Home With These Handy Tips

Many people experience great difficulty when they attempt home-improvement projects, but the process does not need to be as difficult or painful as you might think. Home improvement can be accomplished by anyone, if you have the right information. This article is meant to guide you through the home-improvement process with helpful hints and tips.

When making home improvements, it is important to check all of your faucets for leaks. A leaky faucet can waste a lot of water. If you run into a leaky faucet, be sure to repair it as soon as possible. When you wash your clothes, try using cold water. You can consider installing low flow showerheads, which will cut down on the amount of water used.

When you are starting a home improvement project, make sure you realize all the steps entailed. Make a step by step list of tasks you need to complete to finish the project so you understand and are ready for all the work ahead of you. Also, plan the completion date a week after you think you will be done with the project to give yourself time to correct any mistakes.

Learning how to remove a sink trap is a valuable skill. It can help you remove anything that has been dropped down the drain which is not an uncommon occurrence. If you do drop something down the drain don’t run water in it until you can remove the trap.

Windows

When you are looking to replace or install window treatments in your home, look into options that tint the windows to reduce the sun glare that comes through during the day as well as shades that can keep your home insulated. This means that the heat will be kept in during the winter and the cool in during the summers.

If you have high ceilings, do not dwarf your windows by hanging drapes immediately above them or on the window frame itself. Hanging curtains or drapes about a foot above the top of the window makes them look larger, and you will not have so much empty space above the windows.

New Windows

To increase energy efficiency and save significantly on your utility bills, consider replacing single pane windows with newer energy efficient ones. The investment you make in new windows now will easily pay for itself over time as your utility bills will be lower and, of course, your home will be more comfortable.

Having new windows installed in your home can be very beneficial. Old windows often do not have a tight seal and allow heat and air to escape, causing an increase in your monthly electric bill. Double pane, vinyl windows are a great choice. Not only do they make your home more energy efficient, but they are easy to clean and increase your home’s value.

As you may now be starting to understand, the home-improvement process does not need to be as difficult or time consuming as you thought it might be. The important thing to remember is to go one step at a time. By following the tips and advice from this article you will help to ensure your home-improvement project meets with great success.

Find and read more tips and tricks how to decorate your home.

The Mountain Biking Benefits Of Clipless Pedals

If you’re a mountain biking and are riding in sneakers and toe clips, you may want to consider making the upgrade to mountain biking shoes and clipless pedals. Here are three reasons why clipless pedals will make your next ride safer, more efficient and more comfortable.

You’ll notice instant efficiency gains when moving to a clipless system. While most mountain biking shoes don’t have soles as stiff as road cycling shoes, they are much stiffer than a running shoe. The more a shoe flexes, the more energy from the legs is lost. A clipless system allows better energy transfer through a more rigid platform and more precise foot placement. You don’t have to worry about your feet being properly positioned on the pedals because the cleats force you into the optimal position.

Once you get the hang of clipping-in and clipping-out, you’ll find clipless pedals to be safer than toe clips. Toe clips have a tendency to snag your feet in a fall and are difficult to get out of in a pinch. That said, there is a learning curve with clipless pedals and you’ll probably fall a few times before you get the feel of twisting your foot to clip-out. However, once you’ve become accustomed to that motion, it becomes second nature when you have to bail at the last second. If for some reason you don’t have time to clip-out before a crash, you’ll probably disengage from the force of fall if you don’t have the cleat tension set too high. If you’re nervous about a tricky section of trail, you can also use the pedal platform without clipping in. Some pedals have wider platforms specifically for this use.

If you’ve ever hammered the pedals for an hour or so in sneakers, you’ve probably felt some soreness and fatigue in your feet. This can result from the constant flexing of the foot and improper positioning of the foot on the pedal. Mountain bike shoes are made for this very specific foot motion and are built to keep your feet comfortable pedal stroke after pedal stroke. You wouldn’t run five miles in stiff mountain bike shoes, so why would you hit the single-track in running shoes?

If most of your rides are two and from the coffee shop and are less than two miles, it may not make sense to go with clipless pedals. However, with the discussed considerations in mind, it makes sense for many recreational mountain bikers to ditch the sneakers and toe clips in favor of mountain bike shoes and clipless pedals.