For those of us in the building industry, the term High Performance Home is something that is meaningful and pretty consistent.
We’ve been using this term for at least 10 years, and to us it’s a home with a good building enclosure, that is airtight and insulated well. It has right sized, installed, and commissioned heating and air conditioning systems. Because it’s airtight, it also has mechanical ventilation for fresh, clean air. It is strategically placed on the lot to take advantage of solar exposure (either passive, active, or both). The result is a home that’s comfortable, healthy, durable, and energy efficient.
But is this enough?
The terms “Green Building”, “Sustainable Building”, and even “Eco-conscious Building” are either becoming outdated, non-inclusive, or meaningless buzzwords. Without a standard in the industry of what a High Performance Home actually is, the term falls into a category that has little meaning to a home buyer.
So what should the standard be for a High Performance Home?
A High Performance Home (HPH) is a home that a client will be able to afford long into the future despite increases in energy and water rates. An HPH is healthy for our client’s families, is durable, lasting, and beautifully made. HPHs also have abundant natural light and take advantage of the renewable resources that are available on the building site. In all, an HPH is a home that is a joy to own, operate, and inhabit.
High Performance Cars and High Performance Homes
We have heard comparisons (in jest) comparing a high performance car and a high performance home. But let’s embrace that. This is actually the comparison we take very seriously and in fact like to make. No, your home won’t go faster or be more aerodynamic when we build it for you; but it will “perform” better with staggered-stud walls, blanket insulation, extended eaves, triple pane windows, and an open concept design.
This also leads to the question, why are all homes not built to be High Performance Homes? Consider:
- Integrity: Home builders often ignore the performance problems in a home and will leave them behind for unsuspecting home buyers.
- Lack of Knowledge Base: Many builders, architects, and trade contractors don’t understand proper building science.
- Irresponsibility: Some builders are more concerned about finding trade contractors who give them the lowest bid rather than the best work.
- Lack of Consistency: Building codes are being improved but don’t get enforced uniformly, and the energy codes are enforced less stringently than the building codes.
- Resistant to Change: There is a population in the construction industry that considers energy codes, green building, energy efficiency programs, and building science as too expensive and difficult.
Green built or sustainable, eco-conscious or high performance, we build our homes this way because it is the high standard we set for ourselves. We care about our clients’ future and the future of this beautiful place we call Earth.
Questions about High Performance Homes? Let’s Talk! Call me at 541.383.2140 and we’ll chat. Or, simply contact me.