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Will An Energy Audit Really Help?

With its array of fiery colors, cool breezes and the promise of the holidays, fall is a season many look forward to. Still, that doesn’t mean you want it, or its frigid cousin winter, inside your home. Those falling autumn leaves are beautiful, but the icy breezes behind them can mean drafty hallways and high energy bills.

That’s where Malcarne Contracting comes in. With an energy audit – an inspection and analysis of your home geared toward making it more comfortable and energy-efficient – the winterizing wizards at Malcarne can help you keep the cold outside weather out, where it belongs.

So, why should you consider an energy audit to make your home more efficient?

It’s free.

Besides the potential to save you big bucks on your heating bill, the best thing about an energy audit may be the price: For those with a yearly household income of less than $175,000, the audit is free; if your income is more, it’s offered at a reduced cost.

It can make your home safer and healthier.

While saving you money is a top priority at Malcarne, so is the health and safety of you and those you care about. We want your home to be sound in every way, which is why our audits check for gas leaks, monitor combustion appliances such as boilers, water heaters, and gas ovens and comb through your house to be sure that, when it is sealed up and energy-efficient, any problems will be erased, not exacerbated.

It will show you exactly where your home needs help.

Whether it’s a lack of insulation, old appliances, or the need for updated light fixtures, an energy audit can pinpoint precisely where your energy losses are – which means you can correct the problem the first time. The floors, walls, ceilings, windows and doors are all evaluated and checked for gaps, cracks and holes that often let cold winter drafts in. Whether it’s your heating and cooling systems, your water heater or even your fridge, everything that uses energy will be under the microscope – concretely pinpointing where you can reduce your cost.

It helps you budget those much-needed improvements.

Even though the audit’s free, the major question may still be how to pay for the improvements it suggests. Every component from the energy audit – from health and safety issues to insulation to appliance ideas – is recorded in a detailed, organized report, giving you each suggested improvement, its cost, and how much it should save you on separate line items. Malcarne’s experts walk you through how much each job costs, and how much it will potentially save you. Whether you start with one project or tackle the entire list, you’ll save money and become more energy-efficient.

Best of all, getting on the path of keeping the outside out – where it should be – can be easier than you think: It all starts with a phone call to Malcarne. We’ll get you scheduled for an energy audit at your home, at your convenience. That one appointment delivers all the critical information about your home that can keep you safe, comfortable and saving, for years to come.

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Award-winning Expertise – From Us To You

When we at Malcarne Contracting work on projects, our goal is to get things right – 100 percent – every time. And we don’t simply want to follow what other companies are doing in our field: We want to make sure you’re getting top-of-the-line, cutting-edge service when you hire us.

Maybe that’s why we were so thrilled last month to have received the Deep Energy Retrofit Award in the multi-family program from NYSERDA, The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. When compared to all the energy-efficient buildings in the Empire State, Malcarne was able to build a structure with the most energy savings in its class – a building with a 55 percent energy reduction.  

Like many awards of this kind, the challenge starts with building a model showing how the structure would be energy efficient. In some cases, accolades are given to companies based on these models, but proving that a building may be energy efficient from a prototype doesn’t always pan out in reality – and this challenge demanded more evidence. More than four years ago, Malcarne sent in plans for our building and, after they were approved by NYSERDA, we put the blueprints into action and completed the building in 2012.

The results? An award-winning, energy-efficient, five-unit structure, located on 55 Garden Street in Poughkeepsie. Every nook and cranny was designed with savings in mind, including water-conserving fixtures, solar panels to reduce electricity usage, Green Label Certified flooring, and Energy Star appliances. In fact, by using natural gas, the fees for heating and cooling the building for an entire year, including our harsh New York winters, was only $1,200 – and that’s for all five units!

With a full year of energy data from the building – and real tenants calling the place “home” – Malcarne proved why our talented employees deserved to beat out the competition for the prestigious NYSERDA award: According to the newest state energy codes that dictate what it means to be “energy efficient,” a “deep” energy retrofit means that the home must go above and beyond the average energy savings, and Malcarne’s Garden Street home uses 55 percent less energy than what New York labels as an “energy efficient home”!

But while we’re proud of the building that won us an accolade, our true goal is to also make your home into a great example of an energy-efficient structure. Whether you’re looking into a brand-new build or want to convert your already-standing home into something that can save both the environment and your bank account, Malcarne Contracting has the skillset to make it happen.

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Act Now!

Not that long ago, the streets swarmed with eager trick-or-treaters, some sweet in princess or pirate costumes, others hell-bent on scaring their peers with monster masks or faux-bloody bodies. But while October may bring out the fright in some, November may usher in a whole new kind of scary for homeowners: the pre-winter chill.

Whether you’ve forgotten last year’s frosty winter thanks to a relatively mild fall or have been following the Farmer’s Almanac’s grave predictions, there is a way to keep the season’s chill out of your home – all you need to do is act now.
At Malcarne Contracting, our primary goal this time of year is to help our customers get their homes ready for winter now, especially in light of the bitter conditions the last one brought to the northeast. During last January and February, for instance, fuel prices for both oil and natural gas skyrocketed, leaving many homeowners in the cold until spring set in. Cutting your energy costs now is the key to keeping your expenses as low as possible when it seems like the mercury refuses to rise.

So how do you fight Mother Nature’s worst? By preparing for it now! It’s not as difficult – or even as costly – as you may think. First of all, if you have the opportunity to change your heat to natural gas, do it. Natural gas will cost significantly less and it could reduce your heating costs by up to 50 percent. While it won’t make your house feel any warmer, switching to natural gas will heat up your wallet with the cash you’ll save on energy bills.

To really turn up the heat in your house without touching a thermostat, air sealing is the best way to keep your warmth – and dollars – from literally flying out the window. Malcarne Contracting experts fill in any gaps, cracks and holes in your house; insulate your attic and basement, two areas where air tends to escape the quickest, and therefore leaves your home feeling colder than it should; and put in weather-stripping around doorways or windows. They’re simple little tweaks and changes, yes, but they mean the difference between enjoying watching those snowflakes fall outside and feeling like you’re in the middle of the blizzard.

So what’s scarier: The fact that this winter’s predicted to be worse than last year’s, or that now there are fewer than 54 shopping days until Christmas? At least with the former, by calling Malcarne Contracting now, you can have a simple solution: your home’s temperature – and your energy bill – consistent and comfortable and ready to handle the weather well before the holiday season really sets in.

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Oil to Natural Gas Conversion

Some home renovations may require some thought: Does the cost of new windows really add enough energy-efficiency to the house, or is keeping Old Man Winter out simply a matter of good insulation? Is it the right time to redo the kitchen, or will adding a new bathroom mean more value to your home?

With most home-improvement decisions, planning and prioritizing take first place – but there’s one upgrade that really doesn’t require a pro-and-con list: If you have the option to change your oil heat over to natural gas, the choice is easy: Just do it.
Simply put, an oil-to-natural-gas conversion means changing either your furnace or boiler from oil to natural gas as the fuel source. According to the experts at Malcarne Contracting, that investment will always have a good return – and a big one at that.
If pumping gas into your car makes you cringe, the amount of money you sink into oil for your home most likely causes you pain each month as well. A gallon of oil, which emits 140,000 BTUs of heat, costs about $3.89 and it’s even gone higher. Compare that to about $1.50 for a cubit foot of natural gas, which emits around 100,000 BTUs.
Technical terminology and mathematical conversions aside: You may have to “fill up” a bit more often with natural gas as your fuel, but it will cost significantly less – between 80 to 100 percent less.

In addition to the reduced cost to operate, efficiency-wise, natural gas wins again: A new oil burner or furnace – and that’s a top-of-the-line, Energy Star-rated burner or furnace – will only be about 85 percent efficient, while a standard natural gas furnace or boiler works at 95 percent efficiency. And better efficiency means you’ll need less fuel to do the same job. Plus, it has some aesthetic appeal as well. Say goodbye to ugly oil tanks: Natural gas arrives via a pipeline straight to your home.

The downside? Natural gas is, unfortunately, not available for every home, but the experts at Malcarne Contracting can also walk you through other heating options, including propane and electric heat pumps. And they’re always available to answer questions on the best conversion options for your home – so don’t hesitate to call.

Still, if natural gas is available, it makes financial sense, even if you’ve recently put in a brand-new, energy-efficient boiler. Typically, you can expect up to a 50 percent reduction in heating costs when switching from oil to natural gas. The bottom line is clear: If there’s an existing option for your home to have natural gas, said owner Joseph Malcarne, that’s how you know you should make the switch. Period.

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Air Conditioning

After one of the longest, coldest winters the Northeast has shivered through in years, the last thing on everyone’s mind this spring was air conditioning. If you’re like most of us, after being cooped up for nearly five months under flannel blankets and long underwear, opening the windows and letting the warm May breeze run through the house was – quite literally – a breath of fresh air.

But then, as it always does, the soaring summer temperatures make us forget that the mercury sank to sub-zero levels not all that long ago – and can leave homeowners in a sweltering situation if their home is not equipped with central air.  Still, there’s no need to suffer through another dog day without a quality, energy-saving, whole-house cooling system, expertly installed by Malcarne Contracting.

Aside from transforming your house from a continually baking oven to cool and comfortable in spite of the weather, a central air system also keeps your energy bill from burning a hole in your bank account: A new central air system can use less energy than a whole-house fan or window units, for example. A constantly running house fan could not only cost more on your electric bill than an energy-efficient air conditioner – which will stop running when it gets to the goal temperature – but it also won’t do as good of a job maintaining a steady temperature.

But heat’s only half the issue: A house fan does little to help the waves of humidity that blanket the area this time of year, wreaking havoc on your body, and the house and its contents. Do your doors or windows stick, making opening them akin to an hour-long workout? Blame the humidity: Woodwork and doors can swell from the moisture difference. Air conditioning tames that moisture, making your home feel much cooler even if the thermostat’s not set at an icy temp, while protecting the house from moisture differentials – giving you a good indoor air quality and even preventing mold and mildew.

And while window units may seem like a great alternative to sweltering in the humidity, they’re not able to keep the entire house at a steady temperature, often leaving one room close to the outdoor summer temperature while another has you singing the theme song from “Frozen.” Plus, money literally flies out of your home, as a box unit means that, since your window is partially open, you’re losing precious energy in the gaps.
In the winter, it’s easy to think that the summer heat won’t be that bad, or that it’ll be easy to “make do” with a window unit in a few rooms of the house. The fact is, after having a central air system installed, Malcarne Customers most often ask, “Why did I wait so long for this?” After all, in a matter of one to three days – regardless of whether it’s January or August – your home can be equipped with a state-of-the-art, money-saving central air system from Malcarne.

So whether it’s by adding a new deck, your dream kitchen or a much-needed central air system, now is the best time to feel perfectly comfortable in your home.

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There’s No Time Like The Present

Some major life decisions – saying “yes” to that wedding ring, for example, or leaving a secure job for a new career across the country – may take a lot of serious thought and careful consideration. But many others – finally taking that dream vacation or really going after that promotion at work – simply mean a leap of faith. Your home is no different, and there’s no better time like the present to take that first step to making your home “just right.”

At Malcarne Contracting, the sentiment we hear most often when it comes to clients who have recently finished a renovation, upgrade or addition to their home is nearly always, “I wish we would have done this sooner!” Their former concerns – the time it would take to complete the project, for example, or their thoughts that the house needed too much work – seem small in comparison to the extra space in a new deck area, an upgraded, better-functioning kitchen, or a second bathroom for kids or guests.

We couldn’t agree more: Whether it’s the money you’ll save on air conditioning by sealing out the sultry summer air, new siding to give your home better curb appeal, or relaxing in the extra square footage of a new finished basement, now is the perfect time to make your vision a reality. Plus, now is the best time to begin a home project: Summer weather means the perfect opportunity to undertake outdoor projects such as backyard spaces, roof and window work, or even that energy-smart makeover you’ve been wanting for years.

Still, not everyone’s in their “forever home” – and perhaps your family is planning to find a new abode sometime in the near future. Even if you’re hoping to move out of your current space, doing a renovation or addition can have twice the reward: You’re more likely to get a higher return on your investment when you sell your property, as well as more likely to sell the house faster thanks to upgraded spaces, plus you get to enjoy the renovation now while you look for a new home.

Still, whether you’re naturally a “just go for it” kind of person or are someone who has each day planned out down to the minute, the best time to consider a home renovation is the same: Now is the perfect moment to call Malcarne and get that home renovation you’ve been pining after for years. It’s time to close the door to “I wish we would have done this sooner” and to say “welcome home” to “just right.”

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Free Building Science Class for the Community : July 1st, 7pm at the Malcarne Training Center

From house-flipping shows to magazines chock full of design dos and don’ts, it’s a great time to be a home improvement fan. Still, while the pros who strip buildings down to studs and reconstruct them in a week’s time make the process look like a piece of cake, if you’re an average homeowner, taking on complicated tasks may not be all smooth sailing. A real, working knowledge of a building and, better yet, experience laboring on one, is key to making sure your upgrades don’t turn into a money pit.

Enter Malcarne Contracting: On Tuesday, July 1st from 7 – 9pm at the Malcarne Training Center, the general public can have the opportunity to attend an introduction to building science seminar – the basis for what those at Malcarne do every day – taught by owner Joseph Malcarne himself. This free class explains how a building’s environment, those living there, the building itself, and the mechanics of it work together as a system.
Malcarne’s goal has always been to provide top-notch, attic-to-basement home improvements, from making your place more energy efficient, to creating that much-needed addition, to completing any-sized home repair you can think of. And now, the new Malcarne Training Center offers classes geared for those in the business to expand their professional horizons.

But what about those who aren’t home specialists, have no prior home improvement experience, or perhaps haven’t even purchased a home yet – but want to make sure they’re doing things “just right”? That’s where the new building science class comes in. When you apply these principles, you can properly evaluate a home and make cost-effective, smart choices regarding it: Does it make sense to tear out all those windows for expensive replacements, for example, or will a properly sealed home protect against the elements and lower those energy bills for a fraction of the cost? When you understand your home using building science principles, decisions like these may not be as tough to make.

Maybe you’re a long-time homeowner, or maybe you’re just considering your first mortgage. Perhaps you’re living in an older home and need to maintain or update it, or are finally ready to take the steps to build your dream home from the ground up. Or maybe you’re wondering if energy-efficient options exist for your structure. This class – an easy-to-digest, two-hour beginner course – can give you a true idea of what home improvement looks like, as it covers the basics of home performance, building science principles, health and safety recommendations, and other house information, all backed by Malcarne’s high standards and expertise.

Yes, it’s a great time to be interested in home improvement, but it’s still a challenge to guarantee that your place will come out “just right” if you go it alone. At Malcarne, we know that every home improvement needs a good foundation – and this class has just the knowledge to get you to that solid base. Interested? Simply call the Malcarne office (845-876-6889) to reserve your spot.

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Springtime Home Projects

Whether you’re from Maine or Georgia, Old Man Winter has certainly wreaked havoc up and down the East Coast this year – and probably has most of us hoping not to hear the word “Nor’easter” again for a very long time. This spring, it’s time to appreciate what’s finally just around the corner: weekends spent out-of-doors, annual vacations or reunions, and perhaps even getting to those home projects that spent the better part of four months buried under snow.

As you gear up to opening your windows, clearing out your basement, and taking on warm-weather chores, now’s also the perfect time to contact Malcarne and tackle that addition, renovation or deck you forgot about in those sub-zero temperatures. And though it’s taking a while for Mother Nature to thaw out completely, waiting until June or July to begin building projects may mean your plans can be put on hold due to winter weather – again. Remember, building permits alone take 6 to 12 weeks to gather, and workers and construction plans also can take time to book and pull together. Still, calling Malcarne now means that an expert team can expedite the process, allowing you to enjoy your home in a new way as the weather changes.

If a major project isn’t on your spring to-do list, now is the perfect opportunity to get your home ready for hot weather (if you can remember what that is). Don’t wait until the mercury reaches the 90s before checking on the state of your cooling unit: Malcarne’s experts can have you ready to enjoy summer well before barbecue season hits.  

And while you’re probably not thrilled to think about reliving those snowy nights just yet, Malcarne can ensure that next winter, you’ll be cozier than ever. Did you notice any rooms in your home that weren’t well-heated or insulated? Maybe your roof leaked after one of the ice storms. Or perhaps your heating bills were through the roof this year and you’d like to look into solar heating as an alternative. In any case, Malcarne can get your home insulated and running the best it’s ever been before warm weather makes the past few months seem like a bad dream.

Whether you’re hoping to add more space to your home or revamp the square footage you have, now is the time to tackle those spring projects, to organize and prioritize them, and to get Malcarne on the job – before it’s too late in the season to reach your goals. Especially this year, don’t wait for warmer weather to arrive before you attempt to cross things off your list. After all, Jack Frost may not be done with us yet!

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To Our Customers: Thank You

When Janet Santoro-Jaeger needed work done on her 1977 Staatsburg home, she decided to contact Malcarne Contracting. “I had them do a room addition,” she said. “We knocked down a screened-in porch and deck and added a much larger all-season sunroom. They actually started in January – and it was a terrible winter – but they were so diligent and worked throughout it.”

That first major job on Janet’s home was in 2003: More than a decade later, she’s trusted her house to Malcarne – and only Malcarne – for jobs as big as the addition down to smaller projects, such as crown molding, exterior lighting and gutter work. “They’re very responsive and very good to work with,” she said. “The fact that I can call them anytime and get a call back – when they say they’re going to be here, they’re here.”

And that’s the kind of relationship we’re committed to giving every customer – because we’re truly grateful for those clients we work with. It’s the reason why we’d like to take this month to thank all of you for allowing us into your homes: Our goal is to help you accomplish yours – no matter how big or small.
“It’s because of you that we are successful in the area,” said owner Joseph Malcarne. “It’s because of you that we can continue to grow. It’s because of you that we are able to provide the service to the community that we do, which we feel is very beneficial.”

<strong>Thanks for trusting us</strong>

For Mike Bennett, a Building Performance Institute (BPI) certified building analyst, envelope specialist, and manager of the Green Jobs, Green N.Y. energy audit program for NYSERDA who is responsible for customer creation and satisfaction for Malcarne’s energy-saving projects, having the trust of clients is paramount. “It is that trust in me that I am going to do the best job I possibly can to make their home more safe, comfortable and energy-efficient that really makes me feel a sense of pride and joy in what I do,” he said.

In nearly every home-improvement job – especially ones that may take months to complete – challenges often arise, but Malcarne is dedicated to using that trust to make customers safe and happy every time. And we’re always grateful to be able to spend time in your home making it a better place for your family.
“What it is that we do is so dependent upon our customers,” said Joseph. “We provide a service to people, and there’s a lot to that, but we really appreciate those people who provide the opportunity for us to work for them. We’re dedicated to them.”

Thanks for letting us contribute to home safety

In fact, Malcarne Contracting’s goal is to go above and beyond our clients’ expectations to, especially, keep your home as safe as possible for your family. “I had an audit with a couple that had just bought a home prior to the heating season starting and had not turned on their furnace yet,” said Mike. “I conducted our standard testing to find the heating system that was located in a closet in their bedroom was giving off excessively high levels of carbon monoxide.” In addition, natural gas leaks in the garage were found.

“We were able to call our technician and get the unit repaired and avert a potentially deadly situation,” said Mike. “It is these types of situations that make me realize how important the work we do is and how important our customers and their safety is to us.”

<strong>Thanks for being the heart of our business</strong>

For Janet, who has had both emergency plumbing and electrical situations arise in the 11 years she’s worked with Malcarne, knowing she can count on the company – from the office staff to Joseph himself – has meant a lot. “They’re very good to work with,” she said. “Anything we need to talk about, I can count on a call right back.”

At Malcarne Contracting, your home is not a “job” to us – it’s an extension of who we are, and we want you to feel that way every step of the process. “When we enter into a relationship with clients, whether it’s just meeting together to see if our projects are compatible to seeing if we can work together, we’re committed to them,” said Joseph. “Basically, we are there for them 24-7.”

So, to each of our former, current and future customers: Thanks for allowing us to share in your vision – we’ll do our best to make it a reality!

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Malcarne Training Center’s Grand Opening: This Spring

 

For nearly two decades, Malcarne Contracting has made a difference in the world of construction and energy efficiency based on one goal: to treat its customers like family. Now, owner Joseph Malcarne’s original objective has taken root in the new Malcarne Training Center, set to celebrate its grand opening this spring.

For Joseph, the MTC, located off Route 9 in Hyde Park, is a dream nearing a lifetime in the making. Since starting Malcarne Contracting, he’s had a desire to open a school dedicated to properly evaluating a home’s energy needs; implementing cost-effective and safe improvements; and making structures healthier and safer.

Concrete, Custom Classes

During college, Joseph, who studied mechanical engineering, noticed that the teachers he enjoyed the most were ones who had experience working in the field, combining their theoretical knowledge of chemistry, physics and thermodynamics with real-life uses. His desire was to create an atmosphere for his peers combining expertly run classes with the 18 years of practical, working knowledge Malcarne is known for – all with applications tested and tried by the company.

As with its customers, Malcarne is committed: When customers go through a renovation, retrofit or addition or remodel, they know that the company is committed to them, and the same is true for MTC students. Just like any Malcarne project, the MTC provides custom, individual attention to each person’s needs.

As an authorized training center certified by the Building Performance Institute in 2012, the MTC also offers official tests following the courses, allowing the person to be nationally certified after passing. Still, if they’re not ready for the test, students can take practice tests until they’re more comfortable. Said Joseph, “We want this to be about people learning and succeeding in what it is they want to.”

Courses to Build on

Whether you’re hoping to skim the surface of what goes on behind the walls of a home or want to fulfill your professional aims in a new field, Malcarne offers four courses to help you reach those goals.

For example, the Building Analyst course offers an introduction to all things building science, encompassing the building environment, the people who live in the buildings, the buildings themselves, and the mechanics of the building – and how all of that works together. Physics, chemistry and thermodynamics come together through discussing how they apply to buildings and homes. As a preliminary course, this can appeal to professionals from realtors who want a better understanding of what they buy and sell, to carpenters who work on buildings’ interiors – truly anyone who desires a better idea of how the whole house works as a system.

For those looking to delve deeper after completing the BA training, the Building Envelope Professional class offers an in-depth study of the exterior of a building, including air sealing and different types of insulation. For particulars on heating equipment, the Heating Professional class offers an understanding of combustion appliances: specifically natural gas and propane, and oil-fired appliances. Those students who hold an EPA refrigerant certificate can benefit from the Heat Pump and AC Professional course, which offers more knowledge on effectively measuring and installing the correct appliance.

Regardless of the class, the experience the MTC offers makes it truly unique. Not only will students learn the theory behind the knowledge, but also the practical know-how that Malcarne Contracting has successfully implemented over the decades.

Education That Continues

Whether it’s gleaning the knowledge to reduce energy consumption, garnering the expertise to reduce energy bills and save money, or keeping the environment healthy, Malcarne wants to give you the tools to succeed. Concerned about tuition? The Dutchess County Workforce Investment Bureau has grants available to help pay for the training.

Plus, while classes are between 1 and 3 weeks long, the guidance doesn’t end there: Working with Malcarne – in any capacity – means the company will be there to answer students’ questions even after the trainings end, in what Joseph calls a “lifetime membership.”

At the Malcarne Training Center, classes are committed to real-life knowledge and geared toward practical application – from instructors who know how to succeed in their business. Said Joseph, “If someone wants to learn, we’re here to guide them, especially since this is what we do every day.”

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