You’ve probably heard the term “high performance” associated with cars. That could mean they have great gas mileage, are designed for speed, have an excellent handling and braking system, or are outfitted with the latest technologies. You’ve probably seen ads that talk about each aspect of a high-performing car–but what about a house? I doubt you’ve rarely (if ever!) seen the term “high performance” associated with a house. It’s a shame, because a home’s performance is incredibly important to its owners in terms of finance, comfort, and peace of mind.
To illustrate what high performance means when talking about a home, I’m going to use our latest constructions in Minnetonka, MN and Edina, MN as examples. These houses were built with our signature Optima Homes process, resulting in two homes that are energy efficient, thoughtfully designed, and comfortable. Here are 10 reasons these new constructions are considered to be high-performing:
1. An incredible HERS rating
With a HERS rating of 44, these houses are amazingly energy efficient! We talked in detail about the HERS index in a past blog post, but the basic idea is that a smaller number is better for energy efficiency. The average existing home has an average rating of 130 and the average new home is at 100.
2. HUGE energy savings
This exceptional HERS score adds up to $2,353 in savings annually compared to existing homes of a similar size.
3. Heating and cooling efficiency
Especially in parts of the country where the weather is variable, it’s important to have a smart HVAC system. These homes pass the test! Plus, you’ll save money. The expected annual energy cost is less than $50/month for heating and cooling, even through all of our extreme weather conditions!
4. Quality plumbing fixtures
Nearly all of the plumbing fixtures in our new constructions meet the EPA WaterSense criteria, making them 20% more efficient than average fixtures without sacrificing performance. WaterSense appliances save American consumers billions of gallons of water each year!
5. Quality materials
We’ve used quality, long-lasting construction materials throughout the entire home, including solid hardwood floors, LP Smartside cladding, 20-year warrantied windows, Lifetime shingles, and many more quality materials. This makes for a low maintenance home AND less waste for our environment!
Our latest constructions were designed to take advantage of natural light. We also installed highly efficient LED lighting throughout each home which, when combined with the Energy Star appliances we’ve installed, cuts the annual electrical costs in HALF from those in the average existing home.
7. Smart ventilation
Every one of our homes is equipped with an Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV) because our homes are air-tight and energy-efficient. The system provides fresh, filtered air throughout the house without sacrificing efficiency. Here’s how they work: in the winter, cold outside air is pulled into the air exchanger. Then, the heat from the interior air is transferred to the fresh air and distributed throughout the home. After the heat is extracted, the stale, polluted interior air is exhausted outside. Existing homes have uncontrolled ventilation which can be very leaky, causing uncomfortable living spaces, high energy bills, and dangerous drafts that pull moisture out of the home and into the exterior walls. That moisture allows mold to grow and causes people to rely on humidifiers, which only adds to the problem!
8. Factory precision
These homes were factory built! The quality of the wood needed to build in the factory is superior to a hand-framed house. Nearly all the waste associated with traditional, by-hand construction is eliminated through pre-engineering and recycling cut lumber.
9. Elimination of natural hazards
In these homes, mold-resistant building products were used throughout the foundation and exterior walls. We also installed a sealed foundation radon venting system that ensures that radon and soil gasses cannot enter. No Mold. No Radon. Period.
10. Superior windows
High-quality windows with low U-values complete the highly efficient envelope of our Optima homes. Our homes have some of the best warranties in the industry–up to 20 years, depending on the brand! There’s a reason the warranties are so good: we select windows of such superior quality that they’ll likely keep their integrity for 20 years, and beyond.
There are many elements to a high-performing home. We’ve listed 10 of them, but the list is much longer than that. Do you know what to look for in your next home? Are you interested in learning more about high-performing homes? Please don’t hesitate to contact us today.
Samantha Grose is both Associate AIA and Allied ASID. She is the lead designer for Optima Homes and JP&CO. She takes a unique approach to design creating spaces that are casually sophisticated and timeless in design, where you and your family can live comfortably. She has worked extensively throughout the TWIN CITIES area having completed many new homes and large scale whole house remodels.
Samantha received her BS from the University of Minnesota majoring in both ARCHITECTURE and ART. She is deeply committed to a creative approach giving you highly functional spaces with an aesthetic appeal for everyday living.