Interactive Tablet App Provides Information to Strengthen Structures Against Natural Disasters

FORTIFIED Home On the Go interactive tablet app gives information to strengthen homes against natural disasters.

FORTIFIED Home On the Go interactive tablet app gives information to strengthen homes against natural disasters.

The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) and Munich Re, US launches an interactive tablet app to help builders, contractors, architects and homeowners design and build structures in the face of increasing severe weather events.

FORTIFIED Home On the Go interactive tablet app is available for free download from the iTunes Store.  It walks homeowners, contractors and architects through the steps for strengthening homes. The information includes videos, animations and technical specifications for retrofitting or building single family homes.

Information in the app is taken from IBHS’ FORTIFIED Home program, which provides a set of building standards for homes in high-risk areas, such as in the plains and coastal states.

Vivint Solar Inc. and Renovate America Collaborate to Offer Rooftop Solar to More Homeowners

Vivint Solar Inc. and Renovate America are collaborating to expand access to rooftop solar for homeowners. By offering Renovate America’s HERO program as its PACE financing option, Vivint Solar is enabling more homeowners to purchase solar systems and lower their utility bills.

Under this business agreement, homeowners will be able to use HERO financing to purchase Vivint Solar systems and pay for them over time through their local property taxes. Payments are made at a fixed interest rate for terms of five to 20 years, and the interest on the payments may be tax deductible. Since it is expected that the system will stay with the home and provide utility savings into the future, any remaining balance on the assessment may be able to transfer to a new homeowner at the time of sale.

The announcement of this relationship comes at the same time as the Federal Housing Administration’s recently issued federal policy guidance that endorses PACE financing.

“We are excited to work together with Renovate America to provide this solar financing product that will make solar available to a range of consumers, including those who either do not have the upfront capital for a solar energy system or for whom traditional loans, Power Purchase Agreements or Solar System Lease Agreements are not viable options,” said Vivint Solar Executive Vice President of Capital Markets, Thomas Plagemann. “We are pleased with the new FHA guidelines that open the door to wider acceptance of the PACE financing product throughout the United States.”

Since its launch at the end of 2011, HERO, which stands for Home Energy Renovation Opportunity, has financed more than $1.5 billion of improvements such as solar, energy-saving roofing, windows, and doors, more efficient HVAC systems, and building insulation. About a quarter of the home energy improvement projects – around 19,000 – have been rooftop solar installations.

“More than 67,000 homeowners have invested in the efficiency of their homes,” said Greg Memo, executive vice president of business development and product strategy at Renovate America. “Vivint Solar and Renovate America are able to provide more families the ability to go solar and lower their utility bills.”

Vivint Solar is rolling out the HERO Program throughout California, and both companies are working with state and local governments to expand this product offering nationwide.

CertainTeed Corp. Unveils Interactive Tool for Remodeling

CertainTeed Corporation unveils a marketing and reference tool that harnesses the power of the Apple iPad to deliver interactive content. Dubbed iDreamBook, interactive book enables contractors to help homeowners find the right combination of CertainTeed exterior products.

The CertainTeed iDreambook offers users an interactive experience. Individual chapters provide detail about the company’s complete line of siding, decorative trim, roofing, house wrap and outdoor living products (fence, decking, railing and porch). Each section incorporates videos, click-and-view images of exterior design ideas, and pop-up windows to drill down and learn more about specific products. Intuitive navigation allows the user to move from chapter to chapter.

“We wanted to enable contractors to use their MacBooks, iPads or other Apple portable devices to explore our line of exterior products with homeowners,” said Matt Gibson, marketing director for CertainTeed Siding. “The combination of video clips, photography and product detail gives our partners access to technology to showcase designs and product options available from CertainTeed.”

The Idea Gallery section will be valuable to contractors who specialize in complete exterior remodeling. This section highlights the trend toward mixing and matching various styles, colors and textures of siding and other exterior components. Each page features a gallery of photos with details on the specific style, color, etc.

The iDreambook also features information and links to CertainTeed’s interactive home remodeling visualization tools, including ColorView, ColorCoach and CurbAppeal. The company’s sustainability initiatives are also highlighted.

To download the iDreambook, visit the Apple iBooks Store at https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/certainteed-idreambook/id1099304022?mt=11