Page 1

HAWAII

MARCH 18, 2012

AN EDITION OF

HAWAIIRENOVATION.STARADVERTISER.COM

INSIDE:

UNCOVERING IMPORTANT TAX SAVINGS FOR HOMEOWNERS. See page 9

AN ADVERTISING SUPPLEMENT PUBLISHED BY OAHU PUBLICATIONS, INC.

Serving Hawaii Since 1981

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HAWAIIRENOVATION AFTER

A HOME OFFICE

THAT MEANS BUSINESS

J

oseph is a successful investment adviser who occasionally works from his home office. His wife, Nicole, also works on her own household projects in the same space. The two of

them were tripping over each other in a main-floor study that was crammed with files, papers and general chaos. Joseph, whose clients sometimes visit him in the home office, wanted a

strong, masculine room, but Nicole envisioned more of a lighter, feminine feel. My challenge was to design an office that would allow both of them to get down to business.

First, I took stock of the space. With a high ceiling, lots of light from five tall windows and a beautiful hardwood floor, I could immediately see that this room had a lot of potential. But the popcorn ceiling had to go — easier said than done, because it had been painted with an oil paint, making it impossible to scrape off. The only solution was to cover it with fresh drywall, which was an unexpected blow to our project budget. But it was certainly worth the time, effort and money. After we added some gorgeous moldings, recessed spot lighting and fresh white paint, you’d never know that a dated old popcorn ceiling lurked beneath that polished new exterior. We topped off Joseph’s old desk with a new white quartz work surface, and placed it in the center of the room, facing the doorway. To accommodate SEE PAGE 12

Call for a free in home consultation

Ph. 306-0843

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New Construction • Additions Kitchen/Bathroom • Remodeling • House Painting

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HAWAIIRENOVATION

GOINGABOVE

BEYOND

AND

By Sarah Pacheco

I

n the past year CV Construction, LLC has built a strong reputation among its clients as a trustworthy company that provides honest, reliable service for a great value. “We always try to give that extra and make sure the client is happy, and by happy, I mean to the extent that we’ve done our job right,” says project manager Victor Yeung, the “V” in CV Construction. “We would not do anything less for our clients because it’s not worth it to go into the business if you’re not going to do what you’re supposed to be doing.” Victor, whose background is in sales, met future business partner Chuan “Sam” He (the “C” in the company’s name) six years ago, shortly after returning home to Hawaii after some time spent living in California. Victor began by working part-time with Sam’s former construction business, eventually joining the company full-time in 2009. Sam, who has an extensive 15-year background in commercial and residential construction on Oahu, Maui and the Big Island, decided in early 2011 that he wanted a new partner with whom to launch a new company that would better meet the requests and needs of his clients. He chose Victor as that person and within a few months, CV Construction was created. The company hits a major milestone this week as it celebrates one year of business, which is an accomplishment in Hawaii’s competitive construction industry.

“We’re very blessed to be busy,” Victor says. Since opening in March 2011, CV Construction has worked on more than 60 projects here on Oahu, including doctors’ offices, dental offices, financial institutions and restaurants. However, the majority of business revolves around residential projects, from kitchen and bathroom remodeling to home additions and other large-scale residential renovations. But CV Construction doesn’t just build houses; according to Victor, the company develops one-on-one relationships with clients that often turn into lasting friendships. “We don’t just do the project and leave. We get invested with our clients and

(develop) a vested interest in their future, because we don’t just consider it a project — we’re dealing with people’s homes, we’re dealing with their livelihood, we’re dealing with what they live in. After we leave, they still have to deal with it day after day after day,” he explains. “We’re family-style, family-oriented, and we take care of our clients just like we’d like to be taken care of. Everybody we have in our company is family.” That extends to CV Construction’s employees, all of whom are either relatives or friends from Sam’s native village of Fujian, China. “We take care of them like they’re our family too because they make CV Construction,” Victor states. “We’re just the name. They provide the services. We rely on their expertise to do the job very well.” This confidence in its employees allows CV Construction to keep a majority of its work in-house. The company rarely, if ever, will rely on a subcontractor, which gives CV Construction control over the cost and timeline of the project, ultimately saving clients undue stress and money. “We try to do the best job we can for the project price, and we’re always very fair,” Victor states. “We always offer (clients) choices, and we never go into anything blind or try to trick somebody. That’s not how we work. We agree on the contract, we follow the contract and we do the job that we were contracted to do.” Victor adds that he is on call seven days a week should a client have questions or need to contact him regarding

changes to the project. “We keep the lines of communication open,” he says. “Open lines of communication mean no surprises.” However, sometimes mistakes do happen, but Victor believes it is the way in which a contractor responds to the situation that makes all the difference. “No contractor is perfect; it’s just how the communication is, how it is handled and how the client is taken care of,” he says. “I cannot promise every project will be perfect, but I can promise to all of my clients we will do the best we can and will always keep them informed about everything, whether through text or email or phone.” Customers can call the office at 5313888 to schedule a free estimate or stop by the showroom located at 1018 Smith St., near the corner of Smith and King streets. Hours of operation are 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and by appointment only Sunday. CV Construction also regularly posts before and after pictures of past projects on its Facebook page (search under CV Construction LLC), along with tips and links for DIY home renovation projects. Other ways to keep in touch are to follow the company on Twitter @cv8888 or visit its website, www.cvconstruc tionhawaii.com, to read client testimonials, see more photos or find out additional information. “We want our clients to be happy, and we want them to talk about us,” Victor says. “We are not in it for a one-shot kind of deal. We’re here to stay.”

CVCONSTRUCTION CONTACT: 531-3888 • 428-5191

MARCH 18, 2012 | HAWAII RENOVATION | 3


HAWAIIRENOVATION

Economical updates for your bath W

ith more than two decades of experience, All Island Bath Remodeling has perfected a unique combination of services. These cost-effective solutions are a fraction of the cost of traditional remodeling solutions. Here are a few examples of these money-saving solutions: • Bathtub and wall surround resurfacing. Resurface your worn or stained tub or wall surround to look like new in any color.

• Bathtub and wall surround liners. Fit a new tub over your old, rusty or hard-to-clean tub or wall, transforming your bath in one day. • Illusionite simulated granite. Transform your existing tile, any type of counter or wall surround into simulated granite. • Repair fiberglass cracks and rusty tubs. The company specializes in the repair of fiberglass, tile, cultured marble and rusty or worn tubs.

Ultimate comfort • Walk-through conversion. Convert your existing tub into a walkthrough shower, making it safer and more comfortable for seniors.

Nothing can make you feel more refreshed and comfortable than a newly remodeled bathroom. These options would make your bathroom safe

and comfortable, and improve the quality of your life: • Senior accessibility conversions. We offer several options which range from low-cost “tub cut outs,” utilizing your existing tub and making your step-over height about eight inches lower than your existing tub, to complete tub-to-shower conversions. We also offer grab bars and safety accessories for making life easier for seniors. • Cost-effective updates. Updating your bathroom offers one of the best returns on your investments, increasing the value of your home. We can offer you several options for updating that

will fit your budget. • Save time and money. Choosing to refinish or reline will be less invasive and less time consuming than traditional remodeling methods. At All Island Bath Remodeling LLC, we offer the widest variety of options which can be customized to your needs. • Senior discount. We offer discounts to seniors, military, multi-unit, Realtors, property management and contractors. We have developed new methods which are unique and can save you time and money. Call us at 358-7780 and we can give you information about your remodeling

ALL-ISLANDBATH CONTACT: 358-7780 • www.allislandbath.com

needs. Our estimates and consultations are always free. Visit our website at allislandbath.com.

We would like to thank our family of customers for letting our company serve you over the years.

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AN ADVERTISING SUPPLEMENT PUBLISHED BY OAHU PUBLICATIONS, INC. | ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


HAWAIIRENOVATION PROVIDING RETIREES

SOLAR ENERGY WITH OPTIONS

R

etired engineer Dave Stock and his wife, Mary, had been thinking about going green for some time. They understood the power of renewable energy in reducing Hawaii’s reliance on fossil fuels, helping the environment and most importantly, decreasing their monthly electric bills for their Kailua home. Being retired, a lower electric bill also would help the bottom line. Manoa resident Ray Tabata, who retired last summer, also considered solar for years, but the timing wasn’t right until last year. After visiting a RevoluSun solar open house in their respective neighborhoods, where they learned about RevoluSun’s multiple financing options, each family decid-

REVOLUSUN ADDRESS: 1600 KAPIOLANI BLVD., SUITE 1700 CONTACT: 748.8888 • www.RevoluSun.com

ed to move ahead with their desire to install a PV system. Through RevoluSun’s partnership with SunRun, a solar-power service, homeowners can pay no money out of pocket and begin paying less for energy as soon as the system goes live. Or they can choose to prepay for the next 20 years of electricity, locking in a rate much lower than current electricity costs, that ends up saving the homeowner tens of thousands of dollars in electricity charges over the life of the system. “Our choice of the

Dave Stock

Ray Tabata

SunRun prepaid program was based on the company owning, maintaining, insuring and monitoring the system while we enjoyed the lower electric bills,” said Dave Stock. “It’s like an ‘annuity’ where my upfront investment keeps paying me back monthly for 20 years at least, and the return on investment is really terrific when you look at the numbers!” “At RevoluSun, our goal is to make installing a solar system as easy as possible

for Hawaii homeowners, no matter what their budget,” said Eric Carlson, RevoluSun principal. “Our long-standing relationship with SunRun, coupled with generous state and federal tax programs, helps make solar energy feasible for almost any Hawaii homeowner.” Both homeowners saw their monthly electric bill drop dramatically. Prior to the install, the Stocks’ bill averaged $180 per month.

SEE PAGE 12

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MARCH 18, 2012 | HAWAII RENOVATION | 5


HAWAIIRENOVATION

Transforming kitchens with custom cabinetry By Kyle Galdeira

S

ince opening its doors in 2007, Golden Cabinets has gained a reputation for offering quality, affordable cabinetry to Hawaii’s consumers. Owner Wayne Cao noticed how expensive it had become to purchase cabinets in Hawaii and sought to bring more affordable options to residents looking to either build from scratch or remodel existing spaces. “When we transform a client’s outdated kitchen into a new, more functional kitchen, it is most satisfying seeing their face and hearing how much their whole family enjoys this new element in their home,” Cao says. Golden Cabinets offers a wide variety of wood selections when it comes

to designing cabinetry. The Luxurious Cherry offers consumers a finegrain wood that features a smooth texture and satiny feel. The option closely resembles the coveted Koa wood appearance, and is usually finished with a medium or dark stain to bring out the wood’s mahogany-red tones. Cherry is integral in defining the Shaker, Mission and country-style cabinets offered at Golden Cabinets. Other styles of Cherry wood offered at Golden Cabinets include the Royal Cherry — the company’s top-of-the-line wood option — as well as Golden Cherry, which offers consumers a lighter tone of wood with the same strength as its darker alternatives. Honey Maple is another

popular choice among buyers looking for a hard wood (this hard maple is also used in making hardwood floors and bowling alley lanes) that can provide the perfect combination of durability and beauty. Design consultant LauraJon “LJ” Cornel suggests utilizing White Oak as a way to brighten a room, as the wood’s white stain and lacquered finish last longer than paint, which tends to peel off at a faster rate. Golden Cabinets also offers a wide range of cabinetry options, including 30- and 40-inch wall cabinets as well as the option of including glass panels as an added artistic element. Special orders are welcomed, and Cornel says that some other possibilities include modifying office areas, adding closets

GOLDENCABINETS CONTACT: 836-8181 • gcgchi.com or sprucing up a garage or lanai with various cabinets and storage elements. “It feels great when you can sell someone all-plywood construction cabinets with Cherry wood doors, beautiful cabinetry, for an extremely unbelievable price,” says Cornel when describing Golden Cabinets’ ability to offer quality products

wood species and cabinetry selections in the near future. “We truly appreciate each and every one of our clients who (has) given Golden Cabinets the opportunity to fulfill their cabinetry needs,” he says. For more information or to speak with a design consultant, call 836-8181 or log on to gcgchi.com.

and service at affordable prices. “They can upgrade their kitchen and make it nice — they don’t have to live with particleboard cabinets that are falling apart. We can help somebody do the projects that they may otherwise not be able to afford.” According to Cao, Golden Cabinets plans on offering more door styles,

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AN ADVERTISING SUPPLEMENT PUBLISHED BY OAHU PUBLICATIONS, INC. | ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


HAWAIIRENOVATION

‘Go green’ now for future generations

B

y now, there have been dozens upon dozens of articles discussing photovoltaic systems and their associated benefits. Hands down, installing a system is one of the best investments that any head of household could make. Even if there is insufficient roof space to fit a system that will bring a HECO bill down to the minimum payment, any savings now become more savings in the future as the rates continue to rise. That being said, there are still many questions surrounding the topic that Hawaii Home Expo can answer for you:

Nearly all residential PV falls under a Net Metering Agreement. In any 12month period, if the generated power exceeds the usage, HECO will give credit for that excess during a later month when the usage is higher than what the PV generates.

Will the electric bill be free? Unfortunately, the electric bill will never be free. There is a minimum fee that HECO charges to be connected to the grid. That minimum fee ranges from $16 to $18 per month.

Will this require a new roof? Does HECO pay for excess power? There are programs for which HECO does purchase power generated by PV systems; however, these programs are typically not for residential systems.

The PV panels (and in some cases, the inverters as well) are warranted for 25 years. The install team always will take into consideration the condition of the roof, but in general terms, if the roof has

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HAWAII HOME EXPO ADDRESS: 2933 KOAPAKA ST. CONTACT: 695-3976 • www.hawaiihomeexpo.com been in place for 15 to 20 years, it’s likely that it should be changed before installing a PV system.

What are the tax benefits for PV systems? Currently, the federal tax credits are 30 percent of the total cost of the system. These are in place until 2016, barring any changes in legislation. The state tax credits are currently 35 percent of the total cost or $5,000 per system, whichever number is lower. There is currently a bill in the legislature called HB 2417 that, if passed, will change the $5,000 cap to per property instead of per system. If passed, this would go into effect in 2013 and greatly reduce the incentives for installing residential PV. No single article will answer every

FREE

question, but the staff at Hawaii Home Expo is more than happy to help. Hawaii Home Expo is donating 2 percent of material costs for all PV systems to Central Union Pre-school’s Capital Campaign for its campus renovation.

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MARCH 18, 2012 | HAWAII RENOVATION | 7


HAWAIIRENOVATION

Q:

Do only drywood termites swarm?

The scoop on orange oil treatments A

loha and welcome SOLUTIONS to spring, which means the CONTACT: OAHU: 754-3393 termites are begin• MAUI: 280-4300 • www.akamaipestsolution.com ning to swarm. Akamai Pest Solutions is dedicated to treat- treated structures with ing drywood termites infants, people on oxygen with the least hassle and and several other health danger to the home and or logistic issues. business owner as possiHow do termites ble. enter my home? Today I want to answer Drywood termites some commonly asked infest dry, undequestions about our XT2000 orange oil treat- cayed wood including ments for drywood ter- redwood, deaf limbs of mites and talk a bit about native trees, shade and orchard trees, utility termite swarming: poles, posts as well as Can I stay in my structural lumber in storhome while the age. To establish new treatment is happening? colonies, winged reproAbsolutely. That’s ductives will swarm to the great thing exposed wood on the about orange oil. The exterior of nearby buildstructure can be treated ings and other strucwithout moving out or tures. boarding pets. We have

A:

No, not only drywood termites swarm. Formosan subterranean termites also swarm, and their colonies can be so massive that oftentimes a large swarm may be subterranean termites and not drywood termites. It also could be both.

AKAMAIPEST

Q:

Do you offer treatment for subterranean termites?

A:

Yes we do treat subterranean termites, but we have to use a registered termite treatment material. We cannot use orange oil treatment because it will not leave the long residual needed for long-term protection.

Q:

A:

Q:

A:

Q:

What are drywood termite swarms?

A:

Termites go through a simple metamorphosis with egg, nymph and adult stages. Within four to five years on average of the establishment of the colony, up to 87 percent of the adults grow wings and become male and female reproductives. These winged termites will exit the colony in a swarm. This

usually occurs on sunny days in the spring and summer although in a tropical climate, swarming can take place throughout the year.

Q:

What are flying termites?

Q:

Does Akamai Pest Solutions offer a drywood warranty?

A:

Yes, it does. Our standard warranty is two years and includes annual inspections, and any new infestations are treated at that time.

Q:

Once termites are located, how does XT-2000 orange oil kill termites?

A:

With the drill-andtreat method, a technician will apply enough XT-2000 orange oil to saturate the infested wood. Once saturated, the orange oil will wick through wood, getting to hard-toreach areas. Once it comes into contact with termites and their eggs, their lights are out. Give us a call to take care of your termite problems.

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Termites that leave the colony to establish other colonies are called swarmers.

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Homeownership beneďŹ ts for taxpayers By Karen Nakamura

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s the April federal income tax filing deadline approaches, millions of Americans are sitting down and sorting through dozens of forms to determine how much money they owe Uncle Sam â&#x20AC;&#x201D; or, how much of a refund they will

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owners who itemize their federal income tax deductions can deduct 100 percent of their mortgage interest payments on a first or second home for up to $1 million of mortgage debt. They also can deduct the interest paid on up to $100,000 of the home equity loans. For most homeowners, this means that they can deduct all of the mortgage interest theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve paid on their home each year. The ability to deduct home mortgage and home equity loan interest isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t the only tax benefit for homeowners.

The three most important sources of tax savings for homeowners are: â&#x20AC;˘ Deductions for mortgage interest â&#x20AC;˘ Deductions for real estate taxes â&#x20AC;˘ The capital gains exclusion for the sale of a principal residence Homeowners also are able to deduct the state and local real estate taxes SEE PAGE 10

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with Shirley Pai Hilton, Pres. & CEO, PII We recently had a customer tell us how her general contractor installed her floor with a defective board right in the middle of the room. OMG--I listened in disbelief as she told us that they tore out half the room to get to that board! Our professional installers know just how to replace that board and ONLY THAT BOARD. Attend our seminar to find out how. Aloha!

$39.99/Linear Ft. Some exclusions apply, price varies with pantry, drawer base and corner cabinets. Promotions not valid with free granite promo. Accessories sold separately. All sales final no refunds or returns.

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MARCH 18, 2012 | HAWAII RENOVATION | 9


HAWAIIRENOVATION

Tax deductions for homeowners FROM PAGE 9

they pay each year on an owner-occupied home. When it is time to sell a home, in many cases homeowners don’t have to pay capital gains tax on the profit from the sale. Under present law, married couples who have owned and occupied their principal residence for at least two of the past five years do not have to pay any taxes on the first $500,000 in profits from the sale of their home. Single filers earn up to $250,000 tax free. Another deduction homeowners may be able to take is for mortgage insurance premiums. Generally, people who purchase a home without putting 20 percent down have to buy mortgage insurance, and those premiums also can be deducted from taxable income. Even homeowners who don’t use the home as

their principal residence and rent it out may be able to enjoy some tax benefits, including interest and depreciation deductions. Buying a home offers tax savings that can add up to tens of thousands of dollars over several years. Homeowners rely on the mortgage interest deduction each year to help offset the costs of homeownership, and prospective buyers take the deduction into consideration when choosing homeownership over renting. But the mortgage interest deduction, which has been included in the tax code for about 100 years, is in danger. A national deficit commission has proposed reducing or eliminating the deduction as part of a restructuring of the tax code. Find out more about the threat to the mortgage interest deduction and read “The Tax Benefits of

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HAWAIIRENOVATION

3

INTEROGROUP HAWAII

TIPS FOR SAVING ON WINDOW REPLACEMENTS

A

re you looking to replace your noisy jalousie windows? Do you have old and rotten Masonite siding? If the answer is yes, here is the good news: We are Intero Group, Hawaii — your windows, doors and siding company working every day to help you weather-

proof your home while saving you money. You deserve the best value for your hard-earned dollars, and we’ve come a long way to offer you windows and siding that you will never need to replace again! This week, we offer three tips on replace-

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ment windows:

Replace windows with vinyl doublepaned energy-saving glass

1.

Are your cooling bills high and continue to increase? Are your windows difficult or impossible to open and close? Replacing your home’s windows with doublepaned windows will not

only save you up to 25 percent per year on cooling, but will make your home more quiet, secure and attractive. Our Intero Group team recommends two industry-leading brands — Alside and Simonton Windows® with a double lifetime warranty. Both are Low-E coating, energy-saving glass that will serve you best by keeping your Hawaii home cooler.

2.

Choose custommade windows

Because custom windows are made to fit perfectly, they provide the best energy efficiency, which means lower energy bills for you! Intero Group offers custom windows that require little work to the inside or outside of your home, install easily and with very little mess.

3.

Look for qualified window installers

Even the best-quality windows won’t deliver the look or savings you expect if they’re installed poorly. Using the same contractor for purchase and installa-

tion helps minimize the chance of problems arising later. Always ask the installer to go over the details of the work to be performed, such as type, amount and placement of flashing, sealant and insulation. We pride ourselves on having exceptionally qualified installers and 100-percent-satisfied customers. For more information and to receive expert advise, call Intero Group Hawaii now at 647-4477 and visit us online for this week’s specials at www.interogrouphawaii .com.

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MARCH 18, 2012 | HAWAII RENOVATION | 11


HAWAIIRENOVATION BEFORE

TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS FROM PAGE 2

storage needs, I designed custom-built-in cabinetry to run down one entire wall, with another file cabinet positioned behind Josephâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s desk. In addition to holding the printer, books and other occasional pieces, the full wall of cabinetry also incorporates a long, built-in work surface for Nicole. Here, she has room to spread out family photos, household accounts and various other projects. A custom-designed pin board runs the length of her workspace, and the cabinets surrounding her desk provide ample storage space. An elegant and feminine white chair adds that extra touch to make this

space all her own. To invoke a masculine influence, I introduced leather pieces. We kept Josephâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s original desk chair and leather blotter, plus my plan called for a tufted leather sofa. At least, thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s what it was originally supposed to be. But, because of the extra work on the ceiling, we had to make budget cuts elsewhere â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and the leather got the chop. Instead, we sourced out a polyvinyl fabric that, I must admit, I was totally prepared to dislike. But, when the sofa arrived, I was shocked. It looked good! I have never

ordered a vinyl couch in my more-than-20-year career. But this sofa certainly proves that you can never say never. Since Josephâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s desk is the focal point of this room, we positioned a new chandelier directly above it, to provide lighting for his work surface, but also to add a touch of understated elegance. Two black chairs for clients are placed prominently in front of the desk. We mounted a TV on the wall for presentations (and the odd hockey game) and behind Josephâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s desk antique mirrored doors conceal a pin board.

Solar options for retirees

One of the most unusual touches in this room is the black-and-white bookshelf wallpaper. It actually looks like library shelves, and it immediately adds a touch of knowledge and authenticity to the office. The homeowners provided us with oak French doors for the room, but they were too wide, so we had to customize them to fit the doorway. It took a lot of finessing, but they were gorgeous once all was said and done. Best of all, those doors now open onto a home office space that is both practical and elegant. Its timeless appeal really works for both occupants. Nicole has her own headquarters for conquering that ever-growing list of household projects. And, as Joseph said himself, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a home office that will make him millions. Which, come to think of it, really isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t too surprising â&#x20AC;&#x201D; it certainly looks like a million bucks.

FROM PAGE 5

It went down to $16 per month. For the Tabatas, their bill dropped from $130 to $18. Essentially, both are creating enough clean energy during the day to offset 100 percent of their total consumption almost every month. â&#x20AC;&#x153;RevoluSun impressed us with good communication and follow up, and we trusted SunRun by association with RevoluSun,â&#x20AC;? said Tabata. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve already mentioned our system and experience with RevoluSun and SunRun to many friends. We are fully onboard for RevoluSun to use our home for future open houses as well.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;The system looks great and I have received lots of positive comments from folks passing by the house as to how clean and neat it looks,â&#x20AC;? Stock added. â&#x20AC;&#x153;One of my neighbors already installed a RevoluSun solar system as a result of the first open house we had.â&#x20AC;? Homeowners interested in learning more about solar power and financing options should attend one of RevoluSunâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s free monthly solar education seminars. Or, stop by a solar open house for a chance to talk story with other local homeowners about their experience in â&#x20AC;&#x153;joining the RevoluSunâ&#x20AC;? and see their system in action. For a complete list of solar-education seminars or solar open houses, as well as financing options and information, visit www. RevoluSun.com.

Interior decorator Candice Olson is host of HGTVâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x153;Candice Tells All.â&#x20AC;? License # C-30206

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HAWAIIRENOVATION

Leaving electrical worries behind L

ooking for an electrician, but don’t know who to call? As you open the yellow pages, there are about 50 different electrical contractors to choose from. But which one do you call? Some contractors may only service certain parts of the island, while others only do industrial work. Well, look no further. Alternative Electric is an experienced residential, commercial electrical contractor that services the entire island of Oahu. With more than 20 years of combined experience, Alternative Electric offers quality work at reasonable prices. As an owner-operated company, the middle man is eliminated and savings are passed down to the customer. Communication and job coordination are the company’s top priorities. Alternative Electric prides itself on communicating directly with the customer before the job begins, while the job is worked on and even after it is completed. As a result, there are no surprises and no hidden fees when the job is done. Sometimes with larger companies, messages get lost in translation as they go from owner to foreman to worker. To satisfy its customers, Alternative Electric stands by its customers through all phases of the job. Customers always can expect a free estimate

ALTERNATIVE ELECTRIC CONTACT: 630-6741 • 285-3663

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and detailed explanations of why Alternative Electric suggests something should be done. The company always takes the time to explain every situation to the customer, with no strings attached. Some of the services Alternative Electric offers include: solar photovoltaic installation, rewires, new construction, maintenance, trouble calls, renovations, meter /panel upgrades, code violation corrections, A/C hook up, light fixture replacement, security motion light installation or simply replacing an outlet. For your next electrical project big or small, give Alternative Electric a call at 285-3663 or 6306741.

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HAWAIIRENOVATION DECIPHERING THE

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watts (6.45 kW). Kilo-watt hours (kWh) is the measurement of electricity produced by the PV system or drawn off the grid by the customer. The obvious, but often erroneous, conclusion is that larger systems generate more energy. The previously mentioned 7.92 kW system yields 923 kWh per month, while the 6.45 kW design produces 990 kWh, despite its “smaller” size.

Number of qualif ied systems

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n this competitive climate, photovoltaic systems are proposed to potential buyers with a dizzying array of figures and numbers. While the intent is to enlighten consumers, some information has the effect of adding more confusion to the process, even to the point of misleading customers.

System size This is expressed in kilo-watts (kW), which differs from kilo-

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This has the potential to create serious problems for the taxpayer with the Hawaii Department of Taxation. Some solar firms will say just about anything regarding the tax credits that might be claimed, but that is probably only a marketing ploy to sell systems. It’s the taxpayer, not the solar company, who will be affected by any challenge the tax department poses to the energy credits being claimed. For example, the 33panel design producing 923 kWh per month is similar to other three-string systems. It is not so similar in price, however, at $63,950 versus $45,000 or less for most of its competition. While such a design will qualify for two or three systems at best, the selling point is the claim that it com-

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AN ADVERTISING SUPPLEMENT PUBLISHED BY OAHU PUBLICATIONS, INC. | ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


HAWAIIRENOVATION Net cost This is one of the figures that determines the true cost of a solar system. It is the “out-of-pocket” cost after the rebates and tax credits are applied against the gross system price. A key component is that the tax credits are legitimate. The other figure is the energy saving from a properly functioning water heater or PV system.

Return on investment

Getting the facts straight prises five PV systems. That will never pass taxdepartment scrutiny.

The periodic savings divided by the net cost of the system can be expressed as a percentage return on the net cost, assuming that a $6,000 solar water heater has a net cost of $2,100 and saves $60 per month ($720 annually). That is a return on investment of 34.3 percent annually, yielding a “payback” period of just under three years. Similarly, a 20-panel PV system with a $30,000 gross cost has a net cost of $11,000 after credits, assuming energy savings of 660 kWh per month at the $0.326 rate recently announced by HECO, that works out to $2,582 annually. The rate of return is then 23.5 percent, a “payback” period of just over four years, three months. While returns of 14 to 16 percent would be considered excellent in the current financial marketplace, they pale in comparison to the 20 to 25 percent or higher that is available from the best designs.

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Power production The higher the kWh energy production by the PV system, the greater the savings. A great deal of this is predicated by panel efficiency and the number of panels utilized. But, projections are simply estimates based on laboratory testing, not necessarily realworld conditions. Production also is affected by panel orientation, pitch/slope/angle of the installed modules, elevation of the geographical location and shading caused by trees or adjacent buildings. Orientation is critical as the closer the panels are aimed toward dead south, the more effectively the modules will work. Deviation will lower the power production and require additional panels. The same can be said for properties in higher elevation — the “cure” is more panels. Installation on flat- or lowsloping roofs becomes more efficient on a rack system with between 22 1/2 and 45 degrees of pitch rather than being flush-mounted between 0 and 15 degrees. There’s not much that one can do about neighboring buildings or trees, but the owner’s own trees and shrubbery can be trimmed.

Gross cost In general, a low system price might indicate cheaper components in a lower-quality system, or an inexperienced company that is unable to properly price its PV systems. These “low-balling” tactics harm the legitimate firms in the solar industry. Prices that are astronomical compared with the rest of the industry do not necessarily equate to top-quality components or service. They may simply be overpriced. You do not always “get what you pay for.” While there is little doubt as to the wisdom and viability of “going green,” being aware of certain basic facts can keep consumers from making imprudent choices. It only takes knowledge coupled with a bit of common sense to avoid potential mistakes. Call the friendly people of Hi-Power Solar at 3420802 for straight answers on the high-quality components utilized in their system designs. They are always ready to provide information on a no-cost, no-obligation basis.

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MARCH 18, 2012 | HAWAII RENOVATION | 15


BACKPAGECOVERSTORY EMPOWERING HOMEOWNERS THROUGH EDUCATION

F

or more than 20 years, Graham Builders, Hawaii’s most experienced design +build company, has been guiding families through the home building and renovating process with its team of experienced professionals. With its own dedicated staff of architects and architectural designers, the locally owned company has helped hundreds of Hawaii homeowners bring their dream home to reality. Graham Builders also is the first design and con-

ers were misinformed about what a home construction project ADDRESS: 1144 YOUNG ST. entailed,” said CONTACT: 593-2808 Evan Fujimoto, • grahambuilders.com Graham Builders president. “This struction firm in the state led to the creation of our to offer free educational free monthly educational seminars to the public. seminar called ‘Building For the past 18 years, Your Home for Life.’ The Graham Builders has edu- seminar continues to this cated more than 5,000 day and is well-received homeowners on the step- and attended by many by-step process of home homeowners.” building and renovation. Held at Honolulu “During the early years Country Club, the twoof our business, we real- hour seminar educates ized that many homeown- homeowners with de-

GRAHAMBUILDERS

16 | HAWAII RENOVATION | MARCH 18, 2012

tailed information on where to start, how to select a builder, what to watch out for as well as what one needs to know about residential design, setting a budget, estimating, financing and scheduling. “If homeowners leave our seminars feeling empowered with knowledge to make informed decisions about their home projects, then we have succeeded,” said Fujimoto. “Our seminar is the most comprehensive because we cover topics that are important to local families, such as multigenerational living and sustainable building.” A trailblazer that is leading the efforts to make multigenerational homes more common in Hawaii, Graham Builders’ seminar offers valuable information on what families need to know to ensure that a project is successful. Topics include designing for making your home friendly and safe for all ages, designing for personal space, blended versus segregated living and pooling resources to help the bottom line. With a rise in Hawaii’s homeowners expressing

interest in designing sustainable, more energyefficient homes, Graham Builders also offers ideas on how to make your home “green.” Seminar topics include taming the energy beast, water management, edible landscaping and reducing noise, heat and other discomforts. Homeowners interested in learning more about the latest trends in design and renovation as well as multigenerational living and sustainable building can attend Graham Builders’ upcoming “Building Your Home for Life” seminar on Wednesday, March 28, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Honolulu Country Club. Seminars are free, but reservations are required. For a full schedule of 2012 seminars or to register, visit www.gra hambuilders.com or call 593-2808. Graham Builders has the distinction of being the first builder ever to win the prestigious Better Business Bureau of Hawaii Torch Award for ethics in small business in 2007. The company also was honored in 2008 with Pacific Business News’ Best in Business Leadership Award.

AN ADVERTISING SUPPLEMENT PUBLISHED BY OAHU PUBLICATIONS, INC. | ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Hawaii Renovation Mar 18 2012  

Hawaii Renovation Mar 18 2012

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