Deltec to Build Second Model Home in Mars Hill, North Carolina

August 24th, 2015

We’re excited to announce we’re building a new model home! The three bedroom, two bath home will be 1,500 square feet and net-zero energy.

“We wanted to show people a more typical Deltec home so we decided to go with one of our most popular sizes,” said Steve Linton, president of Deltec. “People are always impressed with our current model, but we often get requests to see a smaller one. We’re excited to finally fulfill those requests.”

True to our core values, the new model will demonstrate sustainable and energy efficient building principles. The passive solar design, with south-facing windows and stained concrete floors to act as a thermal mass, will help keep the home cool during the summer and warm during the winter. Using our Energy Wall and Energy Saver overhang, it will be super-insulated and air-tight, demonstrating the most cutting edge practices for energy efficient construction. In addition to these features, all of the electricity will come from renewable energy through an on-site solar array, enabling it to achieve Green Built North Carolina Net-Zero certification upon completion.

Located on the same lot as the current 4,500 square-foot model in Mars Hill, NC, the new model will allow people to see two variations. Construction will begin this fall. We’ll keep our customers posted on the progress with pictures and updates!

Destination Mongolia: New Deltec Model Home to Take on Yurt Market

August 17th, 2015
 Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Yurts seen against the backdrop of a modern skyline, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Deltec homeowner Agar B. built a two story Windsor with wing last year for his family in the surrounding countryside of Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia. Since then, Agar has eagerly taken the next step on his Deltec journey: building a Deltec model home in the capital city to better showcase the product he plans on building.

With a skyline filled with modern highrises it might seem odd to imagine a Deltec home there…until you remember that Mongolia is home of the ger, or yurt, as you might know them. Agar selected a simple round two bedroom design for this project,the Monterey.

Yurts have been homes for Mongolians for over 3,000 years, so keeping the traditional round shape in a modern house is very appealing to homeowners in Mongolia. Another big selling point is Deltec’s extreme energy efficiency: Ulaanbaatar lays claim to being the coldest capital on earth, with winter temperatures dropping to -40° F, so an energy efficient home is crucial.

Agar is super excited about getting the model home built. “Finally, the customers will have a home to visit here in Ulaanbaatar.” His Monterey is slated for shipping in October and he plans to build it right in the capital.

Left, the floorplan of Agar's soon-to-be Deltec model home, an 1,165 sq ft Monterey. Right, an example of a Monterey built in Colorado.

The Science of Human Comfort, and Other Topics

August 13th, 2015

Leigha Dickens
Green Building and Sustainability Manager, Deltec Homes

I love my job at Deltec.  I enjoy talking to our clients about their ideas on green building and energy efficiency.  I get to design better wall systems, do energy models on proposed home designs, and learn and research a lot of cool stuff.

As part of that “learn and research a lot of cool stuff” aspect of my job, I recently attended the 19th Annual Westford Symposium on Building Science, aka Building Science Summer Camp. Just like after any good camp, I have returned exhausted but energized by my experience.

Building science is not all fun and games, nor is it really a camp: it is a conference for experts, where they can immerse themselves in the newest, grittiest dispatches from the fields of physics, engineering and environmental science that go into making buildings last, helping them stay comfortable and healthy, and helping them minimize energy use. As Deltec’s Green Building and Sustainability Manager—and as a physicist by training—I was surprised and honored to find my name on the invitation list, and eagerly claimed my spot.

The Camp is put on each year by the venerable Joe Lstiburek of Building Science Corporation, a Canadian engineer who began his career with one of the earliest energy efficiency programs in North America. Most energy rating systems and energy codes in North America have been greatly influenced by the research he and his company have done.

It’s not often I get to satisfy my inner building physics geek under the tutelage of such talented speakers. The schedule was jam packed. For me, the highlights included:

• Getting a well-done overview on the factors that affect thermal comfort in a home, and how to better work with our HVAC systems. How comfortable we really feel within a room is affected by far more than just the temperature we see on our thermostat.

• The latest field and modeling research on the moisture resistance and superior thermal performance of double stud walls—quite relevant, as Deltec offers a double stud wall to our customers.

• Getting an insider’s look at the vast dataset provided by NEST thermostats—those snazzy thermostats with the nice design that promise to learn your habits and help you save energy. NEST thermostat provides that data to an engineering firm for technical analysis. Never have we had access to such widespread, complete data on how people actually manage those systems in their homes. Undoubtedly this kind of information can help us improve comfort and efficiency (although NEST aficionados may want to be duly advised: big brother IS watching).

• Networking with fellow women in the building science field, younger colleagues just entering the field, representatives from nearly all major insulation manufacturers, professors of building physics, experts on heating and cooling systems, and builders from all over the US.

People often ask me “Just what it is you do at Deltec Homes, anyway?” It’s not always easy to answer them succinctly. I interact with many of our clients personally: answering questions; researching products; helping with insulation, HVAC, or passive solar considerations; as well as working behind the scenes on our manufacturing operations to help improve their environmental sustainability by cutting waste and increasing renewable energy use.

From now on, saying “I do building science” might be a good way to sum up those things. As buildings get more efficient and better insulated, get built of more complex and varied materials, as HVAC systems get more complex, and as consumers demand solutions that not only work better for them but also minimize or eliminate impact on the environment, building science becomes a crucial field of study.

World Travelers Come Home to Deltec

July 21st, 2015

After an exciting career traveling the world while working for the US Embassy, Ben and Elaine N. were ready to build their dream home. They decided on a quiet, lakeside community on the shores of Lake James in North Carolina.

The Nantz’s first step was to attend a seminar. They were so taken with the entire experience, they discussed it over a barbecue dinner immediately afterwards…and ended up sketching their floor plan out on a paper placemat, which they promptly sent off to their design and project manager, Chad Moore.

The Nantz’s built a two story 1,500 sq ft model on a basement. They went with ten-foot walls on the main floor, but given the airiness of the signature domed roof of a Deltec, they went with nine-foot walls on the upper floor. They personalized their home in various ways: a unique gray-green stucco exterior, a covered entryway and a stairwell wing (complete with elevator) specifically built to house large stained glass windows. The stairwell is placed to the side of their home where the nearest neighbors are located, and the stained glass gives more privacy.

As to their favorite feature, it is undoubtedly the expanse of windows and decks on both the first and second floors from which they enjoy their view of the lake, which they assure us is always beautiful yet constantly changing. They also enjoy the remarkable energy efficiency of their home, Says, Elaine, “We have absolutely no problems with drafts or leaking air around doors or windows or any of our construction. Our design is also helpful in that our large panoramic windows are north facing and the southern exposure has minimal window space thus limiting our heat gain and loss through glass. Considering our 10 foot ceilings and the overall conditioned square footage, and our Northwest winter winds, we are more than satisfied. Needless to say, we love our Deltec!”

Making the Grade: 2014 Sustainability Report

July 16th, 2015

This past year at Deltec we focused on growing our company while continuing our environmental stewardship. In our 2014 sustainability report you’ll find updates on our activities and performance in relation to our environmental and community outreach commitments.

Highlights of the report include case studies of three of the many unique, highly energy efficient and low-impact customer homes we shipped last year; some headway in our waste reduction efforts; and upgrades in our plant to more energy efficient lighting.

We see sustainability as an integral part of our mission and vision and strive for business growth that positively impacts the housing industry, the environment and grows our surrounding communities. You can read or download the report.

Field Consultants: Have Expertise, Will Travel

July 14th, 2015

Field consultant: a Deltec-trained builder who contracts with the homeowner to provide professional services, orchestrating the work of a small, local crew employed by the general contractor on the job

Did you know that there are Deltec-trained field consultants who are ready to travel to your home site and direct your build crew? These field consultants, although independent operators, are factory-trained by Kevin Adams, Deltec’s Construction Advisor, and are ready to oversee your crew, from off-loading and systematically staging the materials to recommendations of the equipment needed for your build, to helping assemble the house shell.

A trained field consultant brings speed, expertise and efficiency to your construction project, giving you total piece of mind. A field consultant can build a 1500 sq ft Deltec shell in just 5-6 days, eliminating the learning curve for your crew.

The cost of a field consultant, which typically ranges from $2,000 – $4,000, pays for itself in terms of the time and money saved in getting the shell up and dried in. At that point, the field consultant’s work is done and your construction crew is more than capable of finishing up the interior on their own.

A significant portion of our homeowners engage the services of one of these field consultants, who are literally ready to travel anywhere in the world! Last year field consultant Jeff Torr went as far as Mongolia, overcoming language barriers as he oversaw the building of a Deltec home.

Congratulations to the Winner of our Prince Edward Island Giveaway

June 11th, 2015

Congratulations to the winner of our Prince Edward Island Trip for Two giveaway, Edwin Symmes, and wife Rhena! Edwin has a passion for photography and architecture, while Rhena is a painter and has exhibited locally in their town. They plan on a fall trip to PEI, where they are looking forward to discovering PEI from an artistic point of view. (And lucky for them, the International Shellfish Festival coincides nicely with their planned itinerary.)

Edwin and Rhena are long time fans of Deltec and actually attended one of our homebuilding seminars a few years ago. They saw the opportunity to enter Deltec’s giveaway on Facebook. Edwin says, “We are excited, delighted and looking forward to the trip, and thrilled to experience the Deltec rotating structure in such an abundantly beautiful location.”

Edwin and Rhena, we know you will enjoy staying in Canada’s Rotating House – Around The Sea. We hope you’ll share plenty of pictures from your vacation to our Facebook page!

thrilled to get to experience the Deltec rotating structure on such an abundantly beautiful location.

First Local Home from Deltec’s Renew Collection Under Construction

June 11th, 2015

Asheville couple Rick and Maureen Winkenwerder have always wanted to retire in a high-performance home. Having been familiar with Deltec, they set out to learn more with a tour of our solar-powered manufacturing facility. As a carpenter, Winkenwerder knew what he was looking for.

“Quality of lumber is very important,” he said. “A prefabricated home was appealing because it keeps lumber out of the elements where it could otherwise accumulate mold and moisture.”

Best known for our custom round homes, the Renew Collection consists of nine pre-designed models in styles ranging from round to Arts and Crafts to modern. Each reduces energy consumption by up to two-thirds in comparison to a typical home. The remaining one-third can be powered with renewable energy.

Even though the Renew Collection was brand new at the time, the couple didn’t hesitate.

“We knew we wanted a highly energy efficient, low maintenance, one-level home, so we chose the Ridgeline model. We didn’t really think about it being the first in Asheville,” said Winkenwerder.

The Ridgeline has 1,604 square feet, three bedrooms, two bathrooms and passive solar design, among other energy efficient features. Once delivered, the shell was assembled in 13 days.

Winkenwerder is acting as his own general contractor and builder, allowing him to fulfill his “40-year-dream” of building his own home.

“Rick has always been interested in green building concepts and I constantly look for ways to be more self-sufficient. This way we do it at our own pace,” said Maureen Winkenwerder.

“The idea behind the Renew Collection was to make it easier to build a home that goes beyond reducing environmental impact to creating a positive effect,” said Leigha Dickens, green building and sustainability manager for Deltec. “The pre-design aspect makes building a high performance home more cost-effective and therefore more attainable.”

Upon completion, the couple will apply for Energy Star-certification and plan to eventually add solar panels to achieve net-zero energy.

“I think everyone is leaning toward more energy efficient houses, especially in this area. There’s so much support for it,” said Maureen Winkenwerder.

President of Deltec Steve Linton agrees that building homes to this level of efficiency is more than just a trend.

“We keep coming back to an essential question: what will the homes of our grandchildren be like?” said Linton. “This is really the future of homebuilding.”

Ridgeline, Energy Star, sustainable home

From the left: Rick and Maureen Winkenwerder take a break from building and enjoy the front porch of their Renew Collection home; Interior view showing the vaulted ceiling and clerestory windows; Rick, an experienced carpenter, cuts wood to size. Rick is owner-builder for the construction of their home.

Top of page: Front and back views of the Ridgeline in progress, one of nine high performance home models in Deltec’s Renew Collection.

Deltec Homes Expands the Renew Collection with Three New Models

May 7th, 2015

We’re excited to officially launch three new models for the Renew Collection. The new models include the Aster, an 861-square-foot tiny round home; the Chestnut, an Arts and Crafts style home; and the Highland, a modern design.

deltec's tiny home, the aster

The Aster was created amidst the tiny home movement. Though it has an extremely small footprint, the large outdoor space and open floor plan make it very livable. The Chestnut is a craftsman-style home that offers that old bungalow charm without the inefficiencies. The Highland is the largest home in the collection with 1669-2170 square feet. It’s very modern, spacious and gives a lot of natural light.

The addition of these three models brings the total number of homes in the Renew Collection to nine. Each is designed to use two-thirds less energy than a traditional home and can easily achieve net-zero living. The pre-designed floor plans enable a faster and more cost-effective build. Our goal is to make high performance and net-zero homes more attainable. Eliminating the time and costs that go into designing a custom home is a huge component of that.

arts anbd crafts style home

This is the first addition to the Renew Collection and we plan to continue adding new models each year. “A lot of research goes into designing a home that performs on this level,” said Leigha Dickens, green building and sustainability manager. “However, we want to have models that appeal to everyone, so it’s a challenge we’re eager to take on.”

Download a new Renew Collection booklet or visit our website to view floor plans

From Deltec homeowner to Deltec employee

May 7th, 2015

As a seasoned Deltec homeowner and a relatively new employee at Deltec I’ve been asked to write about my experience. The first thing that comes to mind is the coffee. I’d much rather drink the coffee inside my Deltec home than inside the Deltec office. It’s obvious we don’t place nearly as much emphasis on the quality of our coffee as we do on the quality of our homes. If you’re thinking of touring our plant or meeting with your project manager, I would highly recommend bringing your own cup of joe.

In regard to aspects of my life that don’t involve coffee consumption, my experiences with the company have been great. I knew from my home buying experience that the staff was really professional. Everyone has been really welcoming and supportive. I doubt there are many companies around the world where people are so intensely focused and simultaneously so laid back. Like one might expect, most of my co-workers are professional adults who are raising families in homes they’ve lived in for years prior to working for Deltec. I came to work here with various qualifications along with the fact that I live in one of our “products”. It gives me a unique perspective as I’ve sat on both sides of the table.

The thing that is hardest to explain is how well my home “works”. I designed my home with help from Chad Moore (Project Manager) and Steve Linton (current President, former Green Building Manager). I was a customer who knew exactly what I wanted when I walked in the door and those guys helped bring my ideas to fruition. I was serious about building my own high performance home utilizing concepts of building science that I had studied at Ball State University in the 1990s. The two factors that pushed me toward Deltec were the lack of interior load-bearing walls and a quick “dry-in”. I could create a floor plan that was simultaneously perfect for both passive solar design and the needs of my family. The quick “dry-in” (getting the shell up and covered with roofing underlayment) meant that as a first time “owner-builder” I could take some time finishing it out and not stress about the home rotting on the jobsite.

Now that I’ve lived in my Deltec for a few years I can say emphatically that it “works” so well that few people can understand it. When I explain that our home’s interior temperature hovers right around room temperature 300 days per year, without the use of electricity for heating or cooling, people start reaching for excuses. The fact that most people spend thousands of dollars a year on utility bills makes my situation seem almost “unfair”. It doesn’t jive with most people’s world view so even though they admire the efficiency they assume there must be a catch. There is no catch. My home is more comfortable than houses five times as expensive yet we pay about $12.50 per month for electricity. I say “more comfortable” because not only is our indoor temperature fairly constant but instead of leaving a consumptive forced air system on “auto” we open and close windows. This brings the outdoors in and connects our indoor environment with natural rhythms. Our exposed concrete slab foundation serves as a 45,000 pound thermal battery. It accepts the warmth of the winter sun and allows nighttime breezes to cool it during the summer, making the entire home feel very subtly pushed and pulled by the seasons.

I was worried when I accepted a position with Deltec Building Company that my passion for sustainability would be pushed aside in honor of the bottom line. It seems the opposite is the case. We’re improving the bottom line by increasing the sustainability of our products. It is unreal that I work for a company that uses solar electricity to process local renewable resources into high performance homes (many of which achieve “net-zero” energy use). The fact that we ship these home packages anywhere in the world is icing on the cake. It means that someone doesn’t need to have a local green building scene like Asheville’s to build a paradigm shifting house. They only need to pick up the phone.

Above left: Dan’s Deltec, a 2-story Crescent Chalet; right: Dan explains the green features in his home to visitors during a recent Western North Carolina Green Building Council (WNCGBC)