How do you decide whether to build a high-performance home or a home built to code? We can help you figure it out.
In California, CalGreen is the baseline building code that all new home construction must follow. In terms of energy efficiency, air quality, and sustainability, there is a lot of room for improved performance by building beyond this code. And, the cost difference is not very significant. In high-performance design and construction, everyone involved in the building process takes into account energy and water efficiency, resource efficient building design and materials, indoor environmental quality, homeowner maintenance, and the home’s overall impact on the environment.
In the sections to follow, we’ll highlight some of the key areas in which a high-performance home excels, helping you to gain a fuller understanding of the direct benefits to you as the owner of a high-performance home vs. a conventional home. These areas include the following aspects of your home:
A high-performance home should have zero added formaldehyde to any of its building materials. Ask your designer and contractor to look at all of the glues, caulks, paints, and carpets that go into your new home. They should review the Green Guard rating to ensure you are getting the healthiest choice for each construction element.
In order to achieve superior indoor air quality, as well as avoiding issues such as mold, carbon monoxide, and radon, you should also ask your designer and contractor to pay very close attention to your home’s moisture control systems, pest management, heating, ventilating, air conditioning (HVAC) and combustion venting systems.
Consistent temperature, fresh air, and a quiet interior are hallmarks of a passive home. Even in a high-performance home, you can realize most of the same benefits. The following elements can help your home always feel comfortable:
High-performance homes support the health of our environment by consuming less energy, conserving non-renewable resources, and reducing our carbon footprint while maintaining a high quality of living and lowering your monthly utility bills.
A conventional home often wastes energy, is inefficient, has thoughtless design, and poor construction. Extreme efficiency does two things:
Approach all material decisions with an emphasis on durability, longevity and environmental responsibility before price. The value of a material has less to do with how much it costs and more to do with how much use you’ll get out of it. If your budget is limited, it’s smarter to build small with better materials rather than to build big, compromising the quality.
When you select home-building materials, consider questions such as:
People are often surprised to learn that a high-performance home only costs 5-10% more than a conventionally-built home. After several years, the high-performance home catches up, offsetting the difference in initial construction costs and begins to pay for itself. High-performance homes cost remarkably less over time, because their efficiency simply soars off the charts. Plus, your family enjoys a home that is beautiful, healthier, more comfortable, and better for the environment.
Want to learn more about how Clarum can help you build the sustainable home of your dreams? Give us a call at 650.322.7069