Energy Efficient Home Building in Baja with Insulated Concrete Forms
Contact Info for Estrella del Norte
Estrella del Norte Construcciones builds quality homes in Baja California Sur. Using Novidesa insulated concrete forms, these ‘green’ and energy efficient homes are simple to construct and perfectly suited for building in the Baja environment. Their custom woodworking shop provides unequaled finish quality to make your part time or full time Baja residence a showplace.
Inside wall temp vs: Outside wall temp, no A/C
The Challenges of the Baja Climate
The Baja peninsula has climate extremes from near freezing in Baja California winters to well over 100°F in Baja California Sur summers. For years concrete block homes have been the standard method of building in Baja for the low cost and insect resistance. But concrete block provides poor thermal insulation, remaining cold in the winter and hot in the summer. This old style of construction, coupled with rising energy costs to heat and cool your Baja home makes it no longer sensible.
In recent years improvement has been made in the old construction technique by gluing Styrofoam to the block and putting stucco over the surface. But this is really just patching an old technology.
New Home For Sale in Centenario
READY TO MOVE IN! – 1800 s/f home. ICF construction. R24 walls and R27 roof.
This home will use less than half the energy to A/C. Home interior temperature has never been below 21°C even though exterior temp has fallen to 9°C some nights. ICF walls certified to 300Km/Hr winds
Milgard double pane windows with low E coating
Estrella del Norte Construcciones uses the revolutionary Novidesa insulated block forms to build a home or commercial structure perfect for the Baja environment that is not only more energy efficient but ‘greener’ in the overall construction than standard block construction homes.
What are the advantages of an Estrella del Norte Home?
Estrella del Norte homes are built with Novidesa insulated concrete forms available in a variety of shapes and thickness. Novidesa homes are dramatically more energy efficient and with the costs of heating and cooling a year round home in Baja will deliver real investment savings in two years or less on electric costs. These homes are more quickly constructed than block homes and walls are smoother. The Novidesa system provides less post construction waste and an overall ‘greener’ construction process, from materials to product. To complete the home Estrella del Norte creates all interior finish items in their own wood shop to exacting standards for your showplace home.
Building in Baja the old way
Standard block and pour construction in Baja takes a crew of about 12-14 workers 5-6 weeks to complete the structure for an average 2200sf home. In comparison, the same structure might take the Estrella del Norte team as little as 3 weeks, using 5 men and the Novidesa forms.
Block construction is a simple method, familiar to most folks. Keeping the walls trim and level is the major battle. Walls are tied into Castillo’s or columns for mid-wall support and corners. Platforms are constructed and ceilings or second floors are poured. Then plumber’s helpers and electricians begin chipping away at the new walls to run their lines. The most common sound at a standard construction site is the “tink, tink, tink” of holes being put in brand new walls to accommodate utilities after the wall is constructed.
Building Lots in La Paz as a Turn-Key Home
Estrella del Norte has three lots in Centenario.(minutes northwest of La Paz) in a prime city/Sea view location. These three lots are each approximately 1500m2. Water rights are included and electricity is located on the street behind these lots for an affordable connection. These are prime lots purchased early in the developmental phase.
The two upper lots are offered at $44,900USD and the lower lot at $42,900USD.
If you are looking for a turn-key new home in greater La Paz Estrella del Norte will provide even greater discounts on the property when constructing a beautiful, green and energy efficient Novidesa home on one of these three lots.
This is a private sale. Contact Estrella del Norte for more information.
Building in Baja with Insulated Concrete Forms
With insulated concrete form construction, like the Novidesa system offered by Estrella del Norte, pouring level footings is the first important step. Since the blocks are of fixed size and shape starting from a square foundation is key, any quality concrete contractor should be able to fulfill this need.
Once the footings are in place the fun part begins, the actual construction, and you can see your home or commercial building being erected virtually before your eyes. The Novidesa system is quite simple, and if you have ever snapped a Lego block together you have all the skills required to build the forms for your home.
Novidesa blocks come in a variety of shapes and angles much like the child’s toy. Block snap together and rebar is bent and tied to supports within the form. Door and window frames can be formed from Novidesa vinyl frames. Interior walls can also be created from preformed blocks. During the wall assembly, the wall alignment and scaffold system are installed and concrete is poured from a pump into the forms. Estrella del Norte also offers an insulated roofing system called Fortruss developed by one of the Novidesa partners.
When the concrete is set, paths for conduit and plumbing can be cut with a hot knife, router, or chainsaw in the surface foam. Once utilities are complete a variety of finishes can be applied to the interior and exterior surfaces of the home. The stucco look is common for the exterior and Estrella del Norte can offer modern products that will provide years of maintenance free protection from the elements.
Interior walls also have a variety of finishing materials available. One particularly attractive and durable finish is a ceramic based product called Gigacrete. Gigacrete can provide finishes from rustic Spanish stucco to a highly glossy polished surface. This product is the worlds’ first ‘green’ stucco.
Owner Kelly Hoogers is most proud of where the Estrella del Norte construction project goes from there. Originally from Alberta, Canada he began to migrate his life to Baja about 5 years ago. Inspired by the need for precision construction and his own passion for woodworking, he built his facility and team of skilled craftsmen to deliver the level of quality appreciated by North American clients. His team delivers smooth walls, doors that close tight and square, drawers that slide smoothly and all with an attractive artistic flair. His specialty is using locally available exotic hardwoods. Your finished home will be distinctive and a showplace for family and friends in Baja.
Estrella del Norte offers plans developed specifically for the Novidesa building system but Kelly says just about any architectural plan can be executed with the Novidesa system with some minor dimension adjustments to suit the Novidesa product.
Estrella del Norte can help you construct your Baja dream home from start to quality finish in a compact timeline. As the distributor for Novidesa building products, Kelly can build for you, provide you with a trained contractor along with the materials, or training to become a Novidesa builder too.
To close, the ‘green’ factor of the product is worth mentioning. Although insulated concrete form construction may cost slightly more (Kelly tells us about 6% in a recent comparative bid) than standard block construction, with the energy costs for heating and cooling on the rise that investment will pay for itself in as little as two years. The construction material itself is ‘greener’ to produce and site waste is measured in number of garbage bags rather than truck loads.
Your Baja Home by Estrella del Norte
Estrella del Norte and Kelly Hoogers have much more they would love to tell you about the Novidesa construction process, the savings of the product and the services they provide. They look forward to hearing from you soon.