What is a High-Performance Home?
Living in a high-performance home is like living in a giant Styrofoam cooler - except with doors and windows in it. They will out perform the energy efficiency of a typical home the way a finely tuned Ferrari will beat a clunker for speed. Like a fine sports car, all of the systems in a high-performance home are designed to work together to give the best performance. The suspension system on my Ford truck is great for my truck, but I don't think it would work well on a Ferrari.
How is a High-Performance Home built?
A high-performance home begins with a building 'envelope', or exterior shell that is extremely well insulated and virtually air-tight. Typically some type of foam insulation (either rigid or spray foam) begins under the basement floor or slab, goes through the walls and ends under the roof. We have found the use of Structural Insulated Panels (SIPS) to be the best way to build the shell. Doors and windows must also be high quality and very well sealed. Add an energy-efficient mechanical ventilation system, a high-performance heating/cooling (HVAC) system, Energy Star appliances, LED or CFL lighting and some special vent covers to prevent outside air from leaking in through the dryer, range hood, etc.
Although it doesn't sound that difficult, it is the attention to every little detail and proper integration of all the home's systems that make all the difference. It takes years of training and experience to learn the tricks to getting maximum performance.
Does building a High-Performance Home cost more?
The high-performance homes built by Bridlewood Builders typically cost only about 5 - 10% more than a traditional custom stick-built home.
Although the up-front cost to build a high-performance home will be slightly higher than a much less efficient home, the home will save tens of thousands of dollars over its lifetime. And those savings start on day one.
How does that work? Let’s say the cost of a typical stick-built home is $300,000, with a monthly payment of $1744. If we add another 8% to make the home more energy-efficient, the purchase price becomes $324,000, and the mortgage payment goes up to $1884. If the average total heating, cooling and electric costs of $500/month are reduced to $100/month in the energy-efficient home, the monthly savings for each month, including the first one, would be $400. Subtract the difference in mortgage cost, $140, and you actually save $260 each month – even with the higher mortgage. Over 30 years, those savings add up to $93,600!!! And if those savings were invested each month … well, that is a LOT of money!!!!!
How does a High-Performance Home save you money?
High-performance homes require significantly less energy to keep the homes comfortable. For example: We built a 2400 s.f., all-electric home for a family of 4 and their average ANNUAL electric bill for the last 4 years has been around $200 - TOTAL, for the WHOLE YEAR.
Bridlewood Builders is a division of Leaders in Excellence, Inc., based in Harrisburg, PA.
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