How Can You Change Your Carbon Footprint?

The science of custom home building is something Merlin Custom Home Builders takes very seriously. After attending classes in California, Colorado, Utah and Nevada, Steve and Bart became Certified Green Professionals. This National Association of Home Builders 
(NAHB) certification identifies their education and ability to build energy efficient homes with green building principals and materials.  There are many ways to obtain an energy rating on a new home and upgrade your current home, as well as a variety of products to achieve these energy ratings.  Merlin Custom Home Builders also works with a local energy rating inspection company to review plans on new custom homes to help us achieve the best energy rating possible.  This company also identifies the up-to-date energy rebates available locally and nationally.  You can find Merlin Custom Home Builders on 
Energy Star’s
 website as an energy star builder in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Merlin Custom Home Builders is currently building a home in Mt Charleston / Lee Canyon that is completely off-grid using solar panels, a backup generator, well water and propane to power the home’s utilities.  This home is an extreme example of energy efficiency in an off the grid location that was a fun challenge for Merlin Custom Home Builders and our very knowledgeable subcontractors to build. More importantly, it met our homeowners goals for energy efficiency.

Steve Jones and Bart Jones also have partnered up with two of the best insulated concrete forms manufacturers:  Fox Blocks and ARXX ICF. The insulated concrete forms (ICF) are “leggos” for adults.  Check out the
ICF, llc website for more information regarding these products.  Steve and Bart are proud to be authorized dealers for Southern Nevada, where ICF walls are the perfect compliment for our extreme temperature swings.  The insulation value of ICF walls is equivalent to an R50 rating.  These ICF walls are almost soundproof buildings, with 4-hour fire ratings, and ICFs rate as one of the greenest building materials on the market today.

Green custom home building is certainly a hot topic these days. For builders striving to reduce the environmental footprints of the homes they build, the process encompasses a wide range of materials, products and systems.

But does building green really mean anything to you as a homebuyer? You may recognize and perhaps even appreciate seeing the Energy Star label on windows and appliances, but what’s the tangible benefit of recycled-content drywall or certified wood doors to your daily life … and your pocketbook?

As a professional custom home builder who is ready and able to respond to what our homebuyers want — including homes with better energy efficiency and indoor air quality — we also recognize that buyers need to see how our efforts impact them personally.

To that end, we strive to educate our clients about the various “green building” methods and materials we employ. Along with contributing to our planet, we approach this from the perspective of the practical benefits to our owners and their families.

Hidden Gems. The bulk of a comprehensive green building effort happens behind the finishes. Instead of touting the R-value of the attic insulation or the solar heat gain coefficient of the windows, we talk about comfort: no more drafty feelings by windows and doors; no more temperature differences between floors or rooms; the ability to walk around in your bare feet. Those benefits seem to resonate far better than any technical information.

Easy Recycling. We not only want to encourage but also help facilitate recycling household waste. So we increasingly provide convenient bins within the kitchen and laundry cabinets to make it easier to collect those items and get them to the curb and out of the landfill.

In that same vein, we have also installed handy compost bins in the kitchen to collect vegetable clippings and other organic matter that can be added to a larger compost pile or collector outside and used to improve soil for a vegetable or flower garden — allowing homebuyers to extend an interest in local produce and organic foods.

Breathe Easier. To help save energy and boost indoor comfort, green builders often use non-toxic paints, flooring, and other interior finishes — as well as ventilation systems — that improve the quality of the indoor air.

Rather than explore the world of vent fans and semi-gloss paint, we often phrase our efforts in terms that address allergies, respiratory problems, and other sensitivities that our homebuyers might suffer … and will appreciate not having in their new homes.

Future Green: Monitors and Electric Cars. While certainly not mainstream, in-home computer programs that allow homeowners to see and adjust their use of energy and water are great visual reminders of green building efforts that also help to optimize them.

Similarly, we’ve seen electric car chargers that run on the home’s electrical service (or even solar energy) that can accommodate all-electric or hybrid cars, allowing homeowners to conveniently serve that investment in sustainable living.

The bottom line is that builders often get caught up in the details and technical specs of green building; professional builders understand that to be truly beneficial, those efforts have to improve the quality of everyday life.

Warm Regards,



Steve Jones & Bart Jones
Merlin Custom Home Builders
6408 S. Arville Street
Las Vegas, NV 89118

702.257.8102 – Phone