In an article in the section on Feb. 12, James Miller, regional sales manager of Ryan Homes, was quoted correctlu quoted as saying that the firm is using "R-19 batts with facing staples" between the studs of walls. Miller now says Ryan use R-11 rated insulation. He said that the garrison overhangs have R-19 insulation and the attic floors have R-30.
Prospective home buyers in the Washington area, who have been only slightly inhibited in their forays into new models during the this unusually cold winter, are asking more questions about the costs of heating, builders report.
Buyers also seem more interested in insulation and other energy-saving techniques than they were in warmer times.
One Northern Virginia builder, Miller & Smith, has instituted a monthly drawing among homeowners in the Walney and Ashleigh subdivisions near Reston and Fairfax City. Owners of these all-electric homes present copies of their electric bills to the Miller and Smith sales offices and the winnering family has its bill paid by the builder. Spencer Stouffer, makerting vice president, said the drawing helps alert prospective buyers to the cost of heating in the houses. He added that the houses are equipted with heat pumps, which help save on heating and cooling bills.
At another subsidivision, Hiddenbrook, where the firm has "a special persondetailed to rechecking all insulation and filling in cracks and crevices here and there, one owner-to-be inspected his house under construction and admitted that he could not find anything left undone. And believe me, the buyers are now coming out to the job to see what goes into their houses," Stouffer said.
Jamer Miller, regional marketing service manager for Ryan Homes, said the firm adopted a standard energy package a year ago in order to counteract buyer resistance to higher costs of electricity.
"As a matter of record, many of our recent buyers are referrals from other buyers already living in our subdivisions," he said. "They have show their friends actual electric bills. We're using R-30 blown cellulose insulation on the attic floors and R-19 batts with facing staples instead of just stuffing the batts between the studs of the walls. Heat pumps are options and very popular with buyers at our 20 subdivisions in a six-county area."
"When people come out in this weather, we know they are serious about buying and not just interested in looking at our models," said Donata Edwards, the sales manager at the Fort Lincoln new town in Northeast Washington. "We have a diagram on the wall in the sales office to indicate the construction thickness and insulation. We have 9-inch-thick batts on the attic floor and 3 1/2 inches in the walls. We do not quote prices on what heating bills will be because different people have different heating and cooling habits. Heat pumps are installed in all of our electrically heated cand cooled dwellings and we can make cost referrals to present residents."
At Churchiill, a new community in upper Montgomery County, sales manager Andrew J. Sciumbata said that that prospective buyers seem to be relieved that oil heat is offered and that the tanks are 550 gallons, rather than 265 gallons. He said: "When they ask about insulation, we tell them that there's R-11 in the walls and R-19 in the ceilings and they seem to understand. And they seem to feel more assured of an oil supply because of recent stories about a gas shortage."
One Silver Spring resident who has been considering a resale house in Howard County, said that he was impressed that the 18-year-old house has storm windows and that the present owner assured him that the oil heat bill would average about $65 a month through the winter months.
At Reston, where an energy conservation program has been launched by Gulf-Reston, sales manager Ronald Glass said that the upgraded insulation system is graphically displayed in a cut-out section in a corner of a closet in a Colonial Greene townhouse. He said that, in addition to offering heat pumps with the electrical heating system, the Gulf-Reston-built homes in Colonial Greene have storm windows and double-glass sliding doors.