I had the chance to visit a company in McKeesport that is building a very unique energy-efficient home. These affordable smart homes are being created to help seniors, or people with disabilities, realize greater independence and give them the ability to “age-in-place.”
Blueroof Solutions (http://www.bluerooftechnologies.com) is achieving these goals through high-tech monitoring and connection of the entire home to a server in order to control and supply accessibility, independence, security and comfort to residents. For example, as you approach the home a video camera on the porch sends a signal that residents can view on their television set. When you ring the doorbell the resident can pick up their phone to talk with you through the intercom and if they choose, open the door, all without having to get up from their chair or bed. This feature lets a caretaker enter the home, if necessary, and gives residents the ability stay in their own home longer. The combination of an RFID card and a single button allows the security system to be activated without remembering a code and sensors throughout the home can monitor activity without being intrusive.
The homes are all single floor, cottage homes, which have for extra space upstairs for guest rooms or storage. They are built to be low-maintenance by incorporating Trex decking and innovative no-wash window coatings. As both a builder and a research company, Blueroof Solutions gathers information which it uses to make the homes more functional for its residents. This has resulted in homes that go beyond ADA-compliance. Extra width is added to the hallways to benefit wheelchair bound residents. Wide stairways allow for the installation of stair climbers for those that need help going up and down. A garage can be incorporated into the basement level and a lift system will let those in wheelchairs or with limited mobility to get up to the main living level.
The energy-efficiency aspect of the home is based on the desire of the builders to make these homes comfortable, environmentally-friendly and cost-efficient for residents. The homes are well insulated and air sealed. Geo-thermal heating and cooling provides year round comfort with almost no cost. Tankless hot water heaters, programmable thermostats, CFL lighting throughout the home and Energy Star appliances are all standard. John Bertoty, the President of Blueroof Solutions, told me that their high gas bill from last January was only $70.
Blueroof Solutions has a model cottage and another research cottage located in McKeesport. Future plans are to create an entire community in conjunction with the McKeesport Housing Authority. The mission of Blueroof is on building both homes and the community by focusing on stimulating the community and driving economic growth through training and long-term employment opportunities for local youth. Blueroof also builds custom homes incorporating their technology and research throughout the Pittsburgh area.
Want to know more about Blueroof Solutions Home? Call Christa Ross from RE/MAX Select Realty, your certified green agent and RE/MAX green specialist at 724-309-1758 or visit my website at www.greenhomespgh.com.
Buying or Selling a home in Pittsburgh? Call Christa Ross from RE/MAX Select Realty, at 724-933-6300 x214 (office) or 724-309-1758 (direct) or visit my website at www.bestpittsburghhomes.com.