Houses That Really Perform

Posted By DEMILEC || 22-Nov-2011

Best HomesEveryone has heard a story that sounded too good to be true. When I first heard about Best Homes from one of our customers in Texas, I had to check it out for myself. Here’s what caught my attention: I was told that during one of the hottest summers on record, with an average high temperature of 102 degrees and keeping the thermostat at 75°F, Mike Murphy’s company had built a 2,414 square foot home that had an energy bill of only $43.69 for the month of August, 2011. When I looked into the story further, I found out that all of the properties Best Homes were building performed similarly.

With my pen and yellow note pad I headed out to Burleson, TX to see him. Within the first two minutes of arriving, I knew I had been given the opportunity to meet one of the most amazing builders I have met in the last 17 years. Mike and his partners had worked with the university, as well as different engineers and architects to design a home that really performed in all weather conditions. The best part was, his customers knew it. In an economy where many builders were going under, Best Homes had developed a product that consumers desired so strongly that some were even coming in and paying cash for them. Mike called me up this morning while I was writing this article to tell me that he had sold 4 homes last week. They were the first homes he had sold in November in 10 years.

When I asked Mike what he attributed the performance of his homes to, he said that it was Demilec USA’s spray foam insulation and the design of the mechanical system. Mike said; “I’ve got to tell you Ken, many of the homes being built today are nothing but shelter. Our homes have no dust because of the lack of air infiltration, they are quiet and I have had zero call backs on crown molding shrinking. When we used fiberglass we had to go out and fix 40% of our homes.” Mike has every reason to be excited. He had a customer tear up a contract on a house around the corner and purchase one of theirs after the couple stopped by the model home while checking out their new neighborhood. “These homes perform so well that the money they save in energy is enough to cover up to two of their mortgage payments per year.”

As Mike walked us through the model home, he was quick to point out the raised ceilings in every room. “Now with spray foam, I’m sloping and raising all kinds of walls that I couldn’t before. I can raise any top plate in a foamed house and my HVAC performs perfectly.” Mike went on to explain that he is against sloping a wall with conventional insulation because, in his experience, the air permeable R-22 insulation just doesn’t perform and makes the room uncomfortable.

When I asked Mike why more builders didn’t build this type of home he said; “I started this in 1985. It was so hard to change even my own thought process on building and everything I do. I had to retrain everyone’s thinking that works for me. In a vibrant market I may not have given spray foam a second look. Learning the technology has been fun.” I went on to ask Mike how long he had been thinking about building homes the way he was now. “I’m two years into this and my models have only been open 2 weeks. The hardest one to convince was my mechanical contractor.”

Attic with spray insulation The minute a prospective buyer sees the attic in one of these high performance homes, the Best Homes commitment to quality and energy savings shines through. Mike took me on a tour which started by going through the garage to a set of stairs leading up to the attic. As we headed up the stairs, you could feel the temperature rise. When we got to the top you could feel the heat radiating off of the radiant barrier coated plywood. Mike turned to us and took a moment to say; “My competitors are using this radiant barrier, I just put it on so people can see how well it works.” Even though it was only 98 degrees the day that we toured the model for Best Homes, the roof deck was too hot to touch.

As we began the tour of the attic insulated with spray foam, Mike opened the door to the attic and we were amazed. Mike began to count as he watched our eyes. He let us know that normally he can count to ten before someone will speak. Yes, it is true that the temperature, the humidity level, the comfort and professional look of the attic can leave you speechless. Where you would expect to see long tangled runs of flex duct strung everywhere and a dusty mess, you see instead a clean and professionally done space that shows you what a closed attic assembly should look like and why they are becoming so widely used.

Best HomesIn my mind this story is about the fact that people want quality products. I would never go to the big electronics superstore after saving up my money to buy the cheapest home theater system I can get. I want performance. Why is it, so many builders miss this? The way customers are buying their homes shows that Best Homes understands this concept. Mike Murphy and his partners are thrilled with the performance of the spray foam insulation they use from Demilec USA. When I called Mike to tell him about the article I was writing about Best Homes, he gave me the statement that really is the moral of the story. “Our customers are so thrilled with the performance of these homes that they are writing us fan mail.”

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