The construction industry is undergoing a significant shift. With more and more evidence of human-caused climate change, the public appetite for green technology is at an all-time high. The average community member is seeing their utility bills continue to rise with no end in sight. The time is ripe for exploration into greener technologies, both to improve the planet, but also to save you money in the long run.
Enter, High-Performance Homes!
So, what exactly is a high-performance home and who are they best suited for? What are the myths surrounding this technology? We will address these questions, and detail the benefits of having even a “partial” high-performance home, leveraging only those technologies that suit your specific needs.
Let’s jump in!
What is a High-Performance Home?
A high-performance home is a property that utilizes the latest in green technology to aid in making that home as energy-efficient as possible over the long term. These homes are commonly referred to as “net-zero” homes. While net-zero is a common term, these homes can also be referred to as “high-efficiency”, or even “passive” as well.
While there is no universal definition for high-performance homes, the common consensus is that these homes fall under the category of: comfort, duality, indoor air quality, energy use, efficiency, and sustainability. These categories are then applied to principles within construction.
For example, here are some qualities that would make a high-performance home:
- Improved air tightness, resulting in less air exchanges per hour. This allows us to use smaller mechanical equipment, reducing operating expenses
- Upgraded exterior wall and roof assemblies with increased R-Value and reduced thermal bridging
- Triple glazed windows and doors to combat both heat loss and solar gain
- Mindful design to maximize sun during the winter and minimize during the summer
Even more crucial to the development of a high-performance home, is the integration of an energy advisor. The role of any energy advisor is to model the home based from “upgrades” to exterior wall assemblies, window & door packages, insulation values, air exchanges and mechanical systems. From there, the advisor provides our team with target performance compared to the same home using code minimums. That information then translates into what percentage of improved performance is available, and learn what parts lose the most energy.
From our experience, we have seen as much as 30% improved performance for just 3% increase in total cost!
Who Are They Best Suited To?
While we believe anybody who plans to build a custom home for themselves can do so in a high-performance fashion (See below for more info on these myths), some demographics of people are particularly suited to the implementation of this technology, including:
- Anyone interested in lessening their carbon footprint
- Those looking for increased comfort as a result of consistent temperatures throughout their home
- Anyone interested in predictable and significant savings in home energy usage
- Those in high-traffic locations that experience excess road noise
We’re finding that as time goes by, these technologies are becoming a more viable option for consumers. Fast forward to our current year, and the trends of carbon footprints, and demand for a more efficient home is on the rise.
The Myth of High-Performance Homes
Okay, we’ve shared with you some of the key benefits to building a high-performance home. With all this being said, there is a pervasive myth that building a high-performance home comes with a steep initial cost.
Most new technologies are indeed more expensive than the existing ones they intend to compete with, but this doesn’t tell the whole story. For the record:
Anyone who has the desire and the means to build a home would more than likely be able to afford a high-performance home.
Don’t believe us? Let us explain why.
Contrary to popular belief, cost savings on high-performance homes can be realized much sooner than several years down the road. The cost significance can even be recognized within the first month. These green technologies become more affordable every day, as they’re starting to crowd out traditional technologies that rely heavily on fossil fuels for electricity generation.
There are even incentives like the BC Step Code, that continue to become commonplace in municipalities around the world. The BC Step Code is an optional compliance path in the BC Building Code that incentivizes or requires minimum standards of energy efficiency for new builds.
While the concerns are reasonable in theory, they just don’t hold up in practice! Which brings us to our next point…
Can You Make Your Home “Partially” High-Performance?
The answer is an emphatic yes!
It is important to elaborate on this. If you are one of the many who believe that if your home isn’t efficient as is, then you need to demolish it and start all over – then we have news for you.
There is such a wide array of suitable energy-efficient technologies available for new homes today, as well as many that are designed to retrofit existing homes. You do not need to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars or build a new home to positively impact a home’s energy-efficiency via these technologies.
We pride ourselves in being able to sit down with our customers, and have genuine conversations about the opportunities with high-performance housing. Our passion is bringing your dream to live, and creating something you can be proud of!
As you can see, we are increasingly passionate about High-Performance Homes! They are becoming more and more feasible for the average consumer and we are proud to be experts in the construction of these types of homes. We at Brentwell Construction, are optimistic about the future and we match that optimistic attitude with the skills to make it possible for you.
To find more information about how we can take your home to the next (more efficient) level, get in touch with our team here.