If we ask the question what will the price of heating oil or natural gas be in the next 5 or 10 years or electricity if we start using more electric cars, we get a sense of what we need Design and Construction in our homes to be. If we don’t change how we look at what is important in housing we may not be able to afford them for the long term.
As a Home Performance contractor, we find the same problems in new homes you might expect to see only in older ones. Air leakage, lack of or poor insulation, comfort issues, inefficient heating systems with poor distribution are all common in the newest of construction.
There has been change in design and construction towards efficiency, comfort and conscientious building. We are finally coming to a point where outside pressures such as limited building resources, illness indoor air quality issues, as well as the instability of the price of heating our homes may force us to reconsider what is important.
I hope design and construction will take a turn for the better for our health, safety, comfort as well as our wallets when he heat and cool these homes, it needs to happen. Put the fancy counter-tops and other luxuries in later. What we need are homes with good insulation and air barriers, deal with moisture well, have efficient heating and cooling equipment sized to accommodate the reduced demand because of an exceptional building envelope. This is our goal when we fix existing homes and can really only be achieved when we take a house as a system approach to building.
I do not wish for the construction of homes to continue in the ‘just adequate’ fashion that potentially creates un-healthy and inefficient buildings. Building to code is the bare minimum standard. It might be seen as good for business for GreenHomes America to carry on in the usual fashion since each home built this way is one that we could fix in the next 5 to 10 years, but the fact is there is plenty of work already for many years to come. The future holds comfort, health and safety wrapped up in efficiency. Homes as they should be: a safe haven new or old.
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