Bob The Builder's Blog

Should I consider Solar Panels?

Solar Panels Ann Arbor, MIWe can attest to the fact that they really work!

At our model home and offices, Burnside’s Inn, our annual utility cost is right around $240.

A lot of people have questions about Solar Panels and we’d love to answer those questions.

Don’t hesitate to give us a call (734-426-4353) or send us an email.

Proud to Build Green Homes in a Cool City

I recently learned that the Ann Arbor area has more green buildings per capita than any other city in the U.S.  Cool city, that is, indeed!  And I am proud to be one of the area’s green-living residents and green builders making it so. 

This weekend, three colleagues and I are holding public tours of eight green homes.  Fireside Home Construction built two of those homes and I can’t wait to show them off.  It’s a chance for us to raise awareness of an issue near to my heart and to showcase what we do best. What a great way to spend the weekend!

The tours will take place June 12th and 13th in support of the national "Green Buildings for Cool Cities," a partnership between the Sierra Club and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).  They, along with many groups and individuals, want to see cities adopt green building as a key component of their long-term environmental planning.  Tours are taking place all over the country and, locally, the Ecology Center is sponsoring them to help raise awareness of the environmental and economic benefits of sustainable buildings.

All of the homes we are showing are certified or registered with the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program at the Platinum level, the highest possible level of achievement.  This means they are documented examples of excellence in energy efficiency and environmental stewardship and that they have been designed and built using strategies aimed at improving performance in the areas that matter most:
  • Energy savings
  • Water efficiency
  • Emissions reduction
  • Improved indoor environmental quality
  • Environmental responsibility
I hope you’ll come tour. You’ll like what you see and you may learn something you didn’t already know.  You’ll have a chance to ask green building professionals about how to “green” your own home now and start making a difference today.   You’ll be talking to builders and designers who know that buildings contribute nearly 40% of global warming emissions and consume over 70 percent of electricity use in the United States and who are committed to clean energy environmental solutions and to rebuilding our local economy. 

It will be a great, green day.  

Register at now and please help spread the word.  Maybe the beauty, energy efficiency, indoor air quality and environmental stewardship of these homes will be “catchy.”  And that’s what we want.  

More green homes, after all, mean that we are going easier on our planet.


It's Nice to Be Powerful

Last week, when I received the first DTE Energy bill since finishing the upgrade to the solar panel array at my permanent model home and business office, I learned that my house - built using innovative green technologies, the latest in sustainable energy systems, the design excellence of a green-minded architect and a lot of TLC -  is powerful . . . very powerful.

So powerful, in fact, that DTE owed ME money last month! Ha!

I think I'm going to frame the bill.

Since I built this home in 2007, my goal has been to get to net zero energy.  We've made a lot of strides and now this 4,000 square foot shingle-style home generates more than 70 percent of its own energy needs - as well as credits from the local energy company!

It's yet another reason to love my house...AND my way of (green) building.

When it was completed in '07, my house was Michigan's very first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum-rated home and as one of the "twelve greenest homes in the nation." Since then, it has achieved even more green certifications and awards.  It uses 73 percent less energy than a typical existing home its size, and generates its own energy using photovoltaic cells and saves energy using geothermal heating and cooling systems.

The update to our array added four kilowatts of photovoltaic cells to our original two. Because of it, I am less reliant on DTE Energy, specifically, and on non-renewable energy sources, in general.  The upgrade reduced our already- low annual energy expenses and also made the house a great testimony to everything I believe in when it comes to building green homes in Michigan or anywhere else for that matter.

There couldn't have been a better investment, as far as I am concerned and I recommend it to you.

By making use of sustainable energy sources, you can:

  •  Expect savings every single month because you'll use considerably less electricity from the public utility.
  • Hedge against rate hikes. I know you've been getting as frustrated as I have by unpredictable rate hikes.  By generating your own free power, no more worries there!
  • Protect the environment.  Solar electricity comes from a clean and renewable source, the sun, and geothermal systems generate heat energy from the earth.
  • Increase property value. These are smart upgrades that make your home more desirable and valuable.

 Try it.  Be me. :-)

Why Choose Fireside