Raising the Performance Bar

Raising the Performance Bar


June 2018

The best remodelers build health and comfort into the home.

Efficiency, health and comfort—every homeowner wants those. But delivering them using today's construction methods takes more knowledge than most people realize. That knowledge is one of the benefits of working with a professional remodeler.

Homeowners undertaking a major remodel or addition often have questions about energy efficiency—questions about insulation, heating, cooling, lighting, and whether the project will lower their utility bills.

They also want to know whether the air in their home will be healthy, post-project. They understand the building code may require the remodeler to tighten their walls and want assurance that doing so won't raise health problems. They want to know that the home will not trap dust and odors and will not have unhealthy humidity levels. Healthy air is on a lot of people's minds.

Efficiency and health are just two aspects of what's now called high-performance building and remodeling.

High performance is a comprehensive term. It covers great design and quality finishes, but it also includes taking a 'systems' approach to building. The systems installed during a remodel might include those the homeowners see and touch, like digital home control and monitoring, as well as those whose main benefit is that they go largely unnoticed, like new super-efficient heating, cooling and fresh air systems, and structural elements that will resist decay for many decades.

The goal in a high-performance remodel is to make the home more comfortable and worry-free than ever. Doing so means thinking like an engineer, and it requires knowledge beyond that of the conventional remodeler.

Take those airtight walls, for instance. Meeting the code's requirements while guaranteeing fresh indoor air and structural integrity demands a firm grasp of building science principles.

Building science is a recognized discipline (you can even get a degree in it) that studies how buildings of all types handle air, heat and moisture. Although remodelers don't need to be scientists, they do need to put the findings of building science into practice. They need to know how those new windows and doors will affect home performance, how to tighten walls in ways that won't trap moisture, how to determine optimal insulation levels, and many other things.

They also need a thorough understanding of today's mechanical equipment. That includes how to choose and configure a ventilation system that will keep the air fresh without introducing drafts. If the project includes a new heating or cooling system, the remodeler also needs enough knowledge to ensure that the mechanical contractor has properly sized it, and whether the ducts need to be altered to ensure a consistent temperature and comfortable humidity in each room.

Speaking of which, if there's a need to upgrade mechanical equipment, a high-performance professional remodeler will advise you to choose the best models possible, even if they cost a bit more. Listen to that advice. Even when value-engineering to bring down costs, don't be tempted to downgrade the mechanicals, because the efficiency and comfort they provide will do more than anything else to make living in your remodeled home a great experience.

Warm Regards,





Greg & Staci Davis

Ask the Remodeler:

Q: Who will be in charge of my job?

A: It depends. While the owner of a small company might be on location every day, a large, professionally managed remodeler will have an on-site project manager or lead carpenter. This person typically brings years of experience and extensive training to the table and will become the expert on the intricacies and details of your project.

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