What is Home Performance
Home performance describes how all aspects of a home work together as one comprehensive system with the goal of creating the most comfortable, healthy, and resource-efficient place in which to live.
Why Is Home Performance Important?
We design, build and renovate homes to be a shelter from the elements, and to reflect the owner’s personal sense of style and living. Often more thought goes into selecting the kitchen cabinets or the flooring than into what is needed to make the home comfortable, healthy and durable. With rising energy costs, we know it’s important to insulate the building envelope, install high energy efficient equipment or even use “green” materials, but are surprised when the residents aren’t warm or cool enough, or when they have excess moisture or poor air quality.
From its founding in 1986, the Home Performance Coalition has looked beyond the basics of weatherizing a house or apartment to the building science of what happens when you air seal and insulate a building, upgrade the HVAC equipment, or do any work. This approach is known as house-as-a-system or whole-house treatment.
In 20 years, we’ve identified many factors that affect how a building performs, including such key elements as moisture and combustion gases. As a contractor or technician, you can cause serious structural and comfort problems if you ignore how moisture could be entering or transferred in a building. Or cause a furnace or water heater to backdraft if you install a high powered kitchen fan without checking or sealing off the heater.
We understand much more about how all elements in a home are connected, including the activities of the homeowner or renter. We also know that it makes good business sense to adopt the whole house approach, to avoid or reduce costly callbacks or liability claims. Unfortunately, many homes are still built or remodeled, or have HVAC equipment installed without a thought to all the elements.
Home performance is based on building science and astute observation, not “legends” to determine what is happening or will happen in a building. Home performance contractors use diagnostic equipment to assess what needs to be done and verify their work. They don’t know every single detail of how everything works in the house, but they understand how things interact, and they know who to call for specific problems. They explain what they have done and how equipment works, so the residents become active partners in home performance.
Buildings are no longer just four walls, a roof and a stove. They’ve evolved into tightly sealed, comfort chambers, with tricky equipment and some toxic materials. You can probably get by as a contractor with just the “basics,” but why not think “outside the box” and move up to home performance? You may save a life, or a building, and you can certainly grow your business.