What makes a home “high performance” and what does that mean to a homeowner? How do I know how my current home performs? If I’m building a new house, what steps should I take upfront to ensure that my home is the best it can be? If you’re curious about any of these questions, read on…
A high performance home perfectly controls heat flow, airflow and pressure, moisture, and air quality. This is achieved through careful design and attention to detail using building science principles. Over the last century, the United States has largely ignored many of the basic design considerations that comprise a healthy, efficient home. In addition, we will (literally) do almost anything to keep energy cheap. It’s to the benefit of the builder, homeowner and tenants to have an efficient, healthy home, so why aren’t we all building better?
The single biggest investment that most Americans will ever make in their life is their home. Considering the extended periods of time spent in the home, and the likelihood of raising children in the home, wouldn’t you want your home to be comfortable and healthy? Although there isn’t much curb-appeal to the fine detail that make a home high performance, it still adds significant value to the home. I’ll tell you that I personally will never buy a home without knowing a HERS index for it first (if you don’t know what a HERS index is, click here). As the public becomes more aware of what a HERS index is, the importance and value of that number will tie directly with the value of the home. While the HERS index is great for energy efficiency, it doesn’t quite encompass all of the interconnected systems and health considerations. High performance is much more than just energy efficiency.
It is my advice to homeowners (especially to anyone who is about to build a home) to have a completely thorough analysis of the building from a performance contractor’s perspective. Your money, your time, your family, and your comfort deserve it!