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What is Building Performance?

Building Performance is a philosophy and a science based on the premise that homes should be safe, healthy, comfortable, durable, and efficient.

After all, homes — probably the biggest investment most of us will ever make — are one of the few things we purchase that don't come with an instruction manual. Is a home comfortable? Reasonably energy efficient? Safe and healthy? These are all considerations that a homeowner will either take for granted or simply neglect.  Most of us assume that the air inside a home wouldn't be a potential health hazard, but that's often not the case.

These are the considerations that a building performance contractor sets out to address, while taking into account the interconnectedness of homes, and the relationships between each of the home's components. In accord with this holistic approach, a building performance contractor will assess, and then address, any of these potential problems within a home.

As mentioned above, building performance is based upon what we call the 5 pillars of building performance:

1) Safety: Assessing the safety of a home is the most important part of a building performance contractor's job. Backdrafting appliances that may be sending carbon monoxide into the home, unsafe levels of formaldehyde from building materials, and mold in the home are all potential safety issues that a building performance contractor is trained to address.

2) Health: Indoor air quality is listed by the EPA as one of the top environmental threats to human health. A building performance contractor's job is to ensure that your home's indoor air quality is not a threat to you or your family's health.

3) Comfort: Our home is our refuge. It should be comfortable. Drafty rooms, cold spots, unpleasant humidity and heat in the summer, poor quality lighting or incandescent lighting that creates unnecessary excess heat in the summer, are all avoidable unpleasantries. A building performance contractor can help.

4) Durability: Imperfections within a building, in addition to causing discomfort raising health concerns, can also have long term repercussions. Moisture problems causing rot in framing, or insufficient insulation causing condensation and mold, are among the durability concerns that a building performance contractor will pinpoint, then tackle.

5) Efficiency: People are often surprised that we have efficiency at the bottom of the list.  There is so much focus on efficiency out in the marketplace, but if your home is making you sick, it's uncomfortable, or failing from moisture dmage, how important is it that your bills are higher than they could be?  Providing that the above considerations are addressed however, increased efficiency is an incredibly important part of building performance, and one that a building performance contractor can have a dramatic effect on.  The good news is that most of the steps taken to address health, safety, comfort, and durability concerns usually also increase the efficiency of your house.

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