The current remodeling trend is toward “wellness-focused” changes to the home.
One of these changes is the replacement of the existing lighting system with a circadian lighting system.
The word “circadian” literally means “approximately a day” and is used most often in the term “circadian rhythm”. Any physical, mental or behavioral change that follows a daily cycle is a circadian rhythm.
These circadian rhythms are primarily light related. One example of a circadian rhythm is the 24-hour cycle of sleeping and being awake. When it’s light outside, you feel awake and alert. When it gets dark, you become drowsy and eventually fall asleep.
Circadian rhythms can also affect mood, energy level, concentration, coordination, reaction time, body temperature, blood pressure, digestion, appetite, etc.
All these functions are regulated by the natural cycle of the sun’s path across the sky.
The position of the sun determines the intensity and color of light that we are exposed to at any given time during the day.
We are all aware that the light at dawn is soft and grows brighter as the sun travels toward its highest position overhead at midday, gradually becoming dimmer again as it reaches the horizon just before sunset. This is the intensity or brightness of the sunlight.
The color “temperature” of the light changes, too.
At dawn the light is in a range of “warm” colors – amber, orange, red.
As the sun climbs toward its highest point, the light becomes a “cool” blue.
It then passes again through the “warm” range of colors as it sinks toward the horizon before nightfall.
This is followed by a period of complete darkness when most of the bodily functions slow down so that the body can rest and repair itself.
Regular exposure to this 24-hour cycle of light intensity and color is vital to the health and well-being of all living organisms.
Unfortunately, most of us don’t get this exposure.
Our homes and offices are illuminated by man-made lights and electronic devices that shine with an intense, cold light from dawn until well after dusk, if not all night long.
There is no gentle transition from dim to bright and back to dim. Nor is there a gradual color temperature change from warm to cool and back to warm again.
Sadly, exposure to artificial lighting can throw a person’s circadian rhythms out of whack, leading to a host of health-related problems.
On the bright side, the research which uncovered the above data has also led to the development of circadian lighting systems for offices and residences.
These lighting systems use the knowledge of the effects of light intensity and light color temperature to create healthier homes and workplaces through lighting.
Neuroscientists are finding that living and working in an environment using proper circadian lighting can help to reset your circadian rhythms.
This, in turn, can help you maintain a healthy sleep/awake cycle, improve your mood, help you concentrate and boost your energy.
You can create a healthier home by switching to circadian lighting.
This can be as simple as changing from standard light bulbs to circadian bulbs.
Or you can go all out and switch to a programmable circadian lighting system for your entire house.
Give Rocha Construction a call if you need help with this or any other project.
The Internet of Things has finally brought the Home of the Future into our present day lives.
What is the Internet of Things?
Very simply stated, it is a system whereby everyday objects communicate with and control other objects over networks without any attention or intervention from humans, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. This system is based on machine-to-machine communication, cloud computing, and a network of data-gathering sensors.
So how does this technology work in the home and how will it benefit you?
Here is an example:
For decades, we have had programmable thermostats.
You would set the thermostat for a certain temperature and the sensor in the device detected the temperature of the room and turned the heating/air conditioning system on or off accordingly.
In more advanced models, you could also program the thermostat to adjust the temperature based on the time of day.
If you went away for the weekend and forgot to reprogram the thermostat, your system could be blasting away, wasting energy and money.This system only involved machine-to-machine communication i.e., the thermostat talking to the heat/air-conditioning unit, and it relied on a human to tell it what to do.
The new, “smart” thermostat is truly like something out of a science fiction story. It becomes the brains of a whole-home system. Once the thermostat is installed, it figures out what kind of heating/air-conditioning system you have and turns on the right features for you.
After about a week of use, it will learn what temperature you like and when you like it and will create a schedule based on yours. After that, you don’t have to touch it.
It has several features that make it truly “smart”.
It gradually learns about your house—how long it takes to heat up or cool down, and how drafty it is. It tracks the weather so it can automatically adjust to keep you comfortable or save energy. If the thermostat’s sensors determine that you have left the house, it will adjust to save energy.
Once you connect it to the Wi-Fi, you can control it from anywhere with your smartphone. You can remotely tell it to adjust the temperature so that the temperature is comfortable by the time you get home. The thermostat’s humidity sensor can show your indoor humidity and manage your whole-home humidifier or dehumidifier. It shows you how much energy you use every day in an energy history report. You can see when you use more energy—like evenings or weekends—and how to use less.
So far we’ve only covered your home’s thermostat. Here are some more “things” to add to your Internet of Things. Your heating system could be a source of CO leaks or it could spread smoke through your home in a fire. If there’s a CO leak, another device can tell your thermostat to turn off the heat. If it detects smoke, it will have your thermostat turn off the fan so that it won’t spread the smoke. Connect your thermostat to a smart lock and, when you unlock your door, it will immediately start warming or cooling the house.
Your thermostat knows when you are away from home and, using smart lighting, can make it look like someone is home by automatically turning on and off your lights throughout the house. With a home cam, you can see your home on your phone, and monitor your pet or babysitter. A smart bathroom cabinet on the system can tell you when you’re almost out of toilet paper. A smart closet reminds you to do your laundry.
You can communicate with smart appliances like your refrigerator, oven, washer, dryer and vacuum cleaner using simple conversational texting from your smartphone. Check on the contents of the fridge from the grocery store. Get recipes from the oven. Remotely start a load of laundry and get notified when it is done. Command your robot vacuum to clean your living room and kitchen floors whether you’re in the backyard or a thousand miles away.
Does this all sound too far out? Well, maybe it is for most people at this stage, but so was the idea of a home computer back in the ‘50’s and ‘60’s. Give it time, and we could all be living like this sooner than we think!
If you want more information about how you can have the Internet of Things in your home, give Rocha Construction a call!
Here is another glowing testimonial from one of Rocha Construction's happy customers.
"Thank you to Gilbert and his team for our kitchen remodel that changed the way we live in our house!
From the beginning, Gilbert was easy to work with and understood what I wanted to accomplish. He provided a detailed estimate and then delivered on time and on budget. His team was professional and had a high standard of work. We are thrilled with the result and will be back for our next projects."
- Manhattan Beach
By now you all are familiar with the slogan, “When in Drought”. Well, we ARE in a drought!
You are also well-acquainted with the severe water restrictions imposed upon us here in California.
With gardens and lawns that should be green and growing year round, it has been hard on all of us to watch as the grass turns brown and our lovely plants and trees begin to die.
Well, there is something you can do about this without being in violation of the new rules about water usage. You can install a “graywater” system.
"Graywater" includes but is not limited to wastewater from bathtubs, showers, bathroom washbasins, clothes washing machines, and laundry tubs, but does not include wastewater from kitchen sinks or dishwashers or toilets.
For many years graywater systems were illegal, in spite of the fact that millions of people installed them.
Due to the recent drought conditions, the State of California has become more lenient and has revised the code for such systems.
Basically, there are three systems:
1 - Clothes Washer System - uses ONLY the water from the clothes washer to irrigate your garden. No permit is required for this system.
2 - Simple System - exceeds a clothes washer system and uses the wastewater from bathtubs, showers, etc. Simple systems have a discharge capacity of 250 gallons per day or less.
3 - Complex System - is similar to a Simple System but has a discharge capacity over 250 gallons per day.
Permit and plans required for both Simple Systems and Complex Systems unless exempted by Enforcing Agency.
For more detailed information visit the website of Art Ludwig, THE expert on this topic at OasisDesign.net. You can also learn more at www.thegreywaterguide.com/californina.html
Be sure to use detergent in your washer that is labeled “graywater safe, 100% biodegradable”. Look for other cleaning products which are "biocompatible" or "biodegradable".
Keep your garden green without wasting water!
Remodel the Kitchen
The kitchen is easily the most important room in the house and its condition can often be the make/break point of any home sale.
You don't have to go in for a major remodel to improve the appearance of an out-of-date kitchen.
Sometimes just replacing the appliances can make all the difference in the world.
And a fresh coat of paint will give any room that "new" look.
Your ROI (Return On Investment) for a kitchen remodel can be 60%-120%*. And who wouldn't want a "new" kitchen?!
Would you like to add value to your home and improve your family’s quality of life at the same time?
Here are some ways you can do that!
Add a Bathroom
A home with only one bathroom is much harder to sell than one with multiple baths.
You don't need to create an addition to your home to do this.
With the help of an interior designer or a contractor, you can find space in your existing home where a new bathroom can be created.
It just take some imagination and some design expertise from someone who can "see" the possibilities of your home.
The expected ROI on this project is about 80%-130%*. Well worth it!
Add Energy-Efficient Windows
Everyone is becoming more “green-minded” and is looking for ways to save money on their electric bills.
According to Energy Star, you can save up to $500 a year on heating and cooling costs by making your home more energy efficient.
In addition to the 60%-90%* ROI on installing energy-efficient windows, you can also receive a green energy tax credit of 10% if you install Energy-Star rated windows.
This one actually puts money in your pocket by reducing your energy bills!
Add a Deck
More people are staying at home these days instead of traveling when they take a vacation, and a deck is very desirable to those who want to turn their backyard into a summer-time retreat.
The ROI is 65%-90%* on this kind of addition.
And what a great way to spend time with the family!
Fire up the BBQ!
Give Rocha Construction a call if you want help with any of the above home improvements.
We have over 28 years experience doing projects like this in the South Bay!
Rocha Construction is a name you can trust!
*According to HGTV
"Ultimately, we were lucky, but this storm ripped the skylight from the master bathroom ceiling, leaving a gaping hole of almost 3 feet across. This allowed rain to pour through the ceiling onto the bathroom floor.
“At 3:30 in the morning, there weren’t many people I could call for help, so we scrambled to cover the floor with heavy plastic tarp and towels. Without a ladder to reach the dislodged skylight covering, there was no way we could prevent the deluge of water from entering our home. The storm raged on and the water continued to pour through the ceiling opening.
“A couple of hours passed and, after exhausting every possible solution, I remembered Gilbert’s services as a contractor and thought that maybe he could send someone to help. I called Gilbert at 5:30am and he immediately answered the phone. We hadn’t seen or talked to each other in over a year, so I wasn’t sure that he would even remember me, let alone be willing to help.
“After identifying myself, I described the situation and he immediately said that he would come right over.
“Gilbert first made a quick trip for supplies, then arrived at my house in less than an hour. He personally scaled the roof and reattached the skylight, effectively turning off the faucet to the unwanted indoor rain shower.
“I can’t remember when I’ve been more happy to see someone at my door than that morning when Gilbert arrived. I wasn’t even an existing client of his, yet he went out of his way to help and fix the problem.
“Frankly, I was surprised by how little time it took Gilbert to repair the massive hole in my ceiling, but I was more impressed by his personal work ethic and willingness to help someone he barely knew.
“What I now know is that I will definitely seek Gilbert’s professional help for any future contracting job, and highly recommend his services to others.
“Thanks again, Gilbert!” - J.S., Hermosa Beach
As a homeowner, you are probably concerned with two things:
What is the value of my home and what can I do to increase its value?
The value of you home depends mainly on location, age, size and condition.
You can’t do anything about location or age but you can definitely do something about its size and condition.
A home addition will increase the size of your home.
If you can’t build OUT, you can always build UP.
A new master bedroom suite or a family room addition will add thousands of dollars to the value of your home and at the same time improve the quality of your home life by adding living space and giving your home a new look.
Remodeling will greatly improve the condition of your home, thus increasing its value. Especially if you’re planning on selling your home in the near future, consider one or more of these renovations that offer the biggest returns:*
1. A new front door. (Return on investment: 96.6%)
2. A wooden deck addition. (Return on investment: 87.4%)
3. An attic bedroom. (Return on investment: 84.3%)
4. A new garage door. (Return on investment: 83.7%)
5. A minor kitchen remodel. (Return on investment: 82.7%)
Even if you’re NOT selling your home sometime soon, remodeling it will make it more enjoyable for you to live in now!
Need help or suggestions? Give us a call and we’ll be glad to help!
~ ~ ~
*Source: US News and World Report, March 7, 2014
So You Want to Build a Second-Story Addition?: An Interview with Gilbert Rocha of Rocha Construction
Tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.
Rocha Construction offers a full range of construction services from major additions and remodels to smaller repair jobs. However, home additions are our specialty. I'm a general contractor with over 27 years of experience who you can trust to give you exactly what you want for a fair price and who can guarantee that you will be completely satisfied with the job when it's done.
I have been doing additions for such a long time now that I know exactly what to expect and what to tell the customer to expect on an extensive construction job like an addition. I really love doing additions and I'm really good at them. I'm prepared for everything and anything that can come up on this kind of job. I have had hands-on experience with all phases of building home additions - demolition, footings, slabs, framing, plumbing, electrical, insulation, drywall, roofing, finish carpentry work, painting, tile work, etc. I've done it all!
What are some of the biggest benefits of building a second-story addition to a house?
When you add a second-story addition to a house, you increase the square footage of the living area without taking any square footage away from the area of the lot. You're building up, not out. You are able to preserve the yard and garden, the patio, the play area and the area where your kids and pets are free to run and play.
You are also doubling the square footage of the house without having to build a whole new house. Many people have chosen to tear their old house down to the slab and create a whole new home. That isn't necessary if you go with a second-story addition. You can have a "new" house, doubling the size of the old one by adding an addition.
According to Bankrate.com, you can increase the value of your home with the following home improvements:
1) A big, updated kitchen (preferably open to another room) with lots of work space, solid surface counter tops, high-quality flooring and cabinetry that is in good condition.
The kitchen is the most important room in the home since this is where we spend so much time.
2) Modern bathrooms including a master bath with whirlpool tub, double sinks, separate toilet room and separate shower stall with steam and/or multiple jets shower head.
An out-of-date bathroom can be a make-or-break point when it comes to selling your home.
3) A spacious master suite with master bath as described above, his & her walk-in closets and room for lounging.
4) Natural materials including hardwood, granite, stone, ceramic tile are “in”. Wall-to-wall carpet is “out” unless it is very high-quality. "Green" materials are a huge plus-point.
5) An overall feeling of space and light is vital.
Adding skylights, removing walls, adding windows are all things that can create the feeling of airiness and life-giving light that people are drawn to.
6) Curb appeal can increase the value of a home by up to 10%. Cosmetic repairs and improvements to create a great first impression are well worth the investment.
A new paint job, stone facing, a new garage door, outdoor lawn lighting, etc. can all contribute to make your home look extraordinary.
7) Good windows, preferably insulated, energy efficient ones, are important. The size and placement of the windows is critical. Windows, depending on their exposure, can make a big difference in the way the sun and other weather factors affect the energy usage of the home.
8) Landscaping can get overlooked by the homeowner trying to improve the value of his home but it is a vital factor.
You can totally upgrade the overall appearance of your home by adding color, texture and interesting masses with local plants that are easy to maintain.
9) Lots of storage is a big plus.
In many homes, there is wasted space that can be easily converted into storage space.
Look at your home with a "fresh eye" to find places you could add storage, like under the stairs.
Where are you storing things now? Could that space be turned into a walk-in closet?
10) A basement (must be dry), especially if it’s been converted to additional living space is a big plus.
Rocha Construction can help you with all of these home improvement projects.
Gilbert will be happy to come out and help you decide what would be the best way to add value to your home.
Here at Rocha Construction we like to encourage and help our customers to explore "green" alternatives to conventional building materials. Cork is a great choice if you're planning on a new floor!
Most hardwood flooring material is made from the trunk of the tree, killing the tree. When cork is harvested, only the outer layer of bark is removed from the tree. This does not kill the tree which replaces this outer layer within six years when it can be harvested again.
Cork is extremely durable. It was used as a flooring material centuries ago in European homes and many of these homes still have their original cork floors.
Cork is resilient. Standing on a conventional tile floor can cause soreness and strain in the calf muscles. A cork floor does not result in this kind of leg pain. This makes it especially good for a kitchen floor where almost all the “living” is done on your feet.
Cork is a non-slip surface. It also does not easily absorb water or other liquids. This makes it a good material for both kitchen and bathroom. When cork is used in the kitchen or bathroom, it should be sealed.
Cork is naturally hypoallergenic. It doesn’t shed fibers into the air or release toxins or fumes. Mold and mildew does not easily grow in it. Dust and pollen is not attracted to it.
Cork is a natural insulation, not conducting heat or cold. It tends to be warm to the touch, unlike concrete floors. This makes it an excellent material for family rooms where children will be playing on the floor.
Cork comes in a variety of colors and designs.
It can be installed to look like a conventional hardwood floor or you can let your imagination take off and create any kind of design that you want!
If you're interested in "green remodeling", give Rocha Construction a call. We can help you get a new look for your home with a "green product" that will benefit you and your family AND the environment!