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Home Performance: "Built To Last"
In President Obama’s 2012 State of the Union address he repeatedly stated that he seeks an America that is “built to last”. While that may sound vague to some, to a BPI Accredited Contractor like Advanced Home Energy, building to last is exactly what home performance is all about. But what does building to last mean?
If you are a new homeowner (or an old homeowner) you might not be aware of all the advances occurring in the building industry over the last 10 years. While some aspects of the green building movement have been heavily publicized such as the rise of solar photo-voltaics and the fall of Solyndra, many of the innovations in building science especially the simple ones have received comparatively little media attention.
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab has one of the best resources on the internet relating to all aspects of home performance and building science. The LBNL page also links to many other resources around the web.
Building science has advanced a lot in the past 10 years. The building science approach to building differs from traditional construction because it takes into account all the advances in science and technology that our society has made and applying it from a perspective called the whole house approach. The whole house approach differs from traditional construction because it looks as the house as an interconnected system rather than simply looking at separate unconnected parts. Just like how a doctor doesn’t just examine your foot and ignore all other systems, the whole house approach uses the latest technology to analyze buildings and arrive at upgrades based on science rather than just selling a product.
The website Building Science provides in-depth information for both homeowners and also contractors about the latest advances in building science from the simple Spray Foam Guide to the more intricate Hygrothermal Analysis of Exterior Rockwool Insulation. If you are a homeowner curious about the science behind the latest building practices this site is for you.
Although efficiency is an important aspect, home performance encompasses more than just energy efficiency. For instance, ensuring that gas burning appliances are not leaking carbon monoxide and causing indoor air pollution is not an aspect of energy efficiency but its still an important part of home performance. Homeowners want their homes to be healthy dwellings as well as just being energy efficient. Home performance addresses the safety and health aspects as well as energy efficiency. Several Blog Posts on the AHE website have covered aspects of home health related to home energy systems. Future blog posts will cover additional issues relating to health and safety.
While Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and Building Science are great sources of information, many of the articles and PDFs might seem very jargonistic and technical to the average homeowner. If you are just interested in some of the broader topics relating to the field of home performance and energy, the website EnergyNOW has many great videos that cover many different aspects of the home performance field. EnergyNOW was a tv program hosted by Bloomberg TV. They are currently switching formats but most of the videos are still hosted here:
By taking into account all the advances in building science, home performance contractors such as AHE are at the forefront of re-focusing the construction industry to build sustainable, durable buildings that are more efficient and safer than structures built according to traditional building practices over the past 100 years. So when President Obama calls for a nation that is “build to last”, home performance contractors are ready to step up and provide solutions based on building science to homeowners and business owners across the country. Taking heed of the latest innovations in building science is the best way to build to last. That is what home performance contractors do. Our goal is to improve the building industry in America, making it more durable, efficient and safe. This is how a nation starts building to last, one home at a time.
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