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Title: Transitioning to High Performance Homes: Successes and Lessons Learned From Seven Builders

Abstract

As homebuyers are becoming increasingly concerned about rising energy costs and the impact of fossil fuels as a major source of greenhouse gases, the returning new home market is beginning to demand energy-efficient and comfortable high-performance homes. In response to this, some innovative builders are gaining market share because they are able to market their homes’ comfort, better indoor air quality, and aesthetics, in addition to energy efficiency. The success and marketability of these high-performance homes is creating a builder demand for house plans and information about how to design, build, and sell their own low-energy homes. To help make these and other builders more successful in the transition to high-performance construction techniques, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) partnered with seven interested builders in the hot humid and mixed humid climates to provide technical and design assistance through two building science firms, Florida Home Energy and Resources Organization (FL HERO) and Calcs-Plus, and a designer that offers a line of stock plans designed specifically for energy efficiency, called Energy Smart Home Plans (ESHP). This report summarizes the findings of research on cost-effective high-performance whole-house solutions, focusing on real-world implementation and challenges and identifying effective solutions. The ensuing sections provide projectmore » background, profile each of the builders who participated in the program, and describe their houses’ construction characteristics, key challenges the builders encountered during the construction and transaction process); and present primary lessons learned to be applied to future projects. As a result of this technical assistance, 17 homes have been built featuring climate-appropriate efficient envelopes, ducts in conditioned space, and correctly sized and controlled heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems. In addition, most builders intend to integrate high-performance features into most or all their homes in the future. As these seven builders have demonstrated, affordable, high-performance homes are possible, but require attention to detail and flexibility in design to accommodate specific regional geographic or market-driven constraints that can increase cost. With better information regarding how energy-efficiency trade-offs or design choices affect overall home performance, builders can make informed decisions regarding home design and construction to minimize cost without sacrificing performance and energy savings.« less

Authors:
; ; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1084180
Report Number(s):
PNNL-22375
BT0101000
DOE Contract Number:  
AC05-76RL01830
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
high-performance homes; new construction; Building America; DOE Challenge Home; energy efficiency

Citation Formats

Widder, Sarah H., Kora, Angela R., Baechler, Michael C., Fonorow, Ken, Jenkins, David W., and Stroer, Dennis. Transitioning to High Performance Homes: Successes and Lessons Learned From Seven Builders. United States: N. p., 2013. Web. doi:10.2172/1084180.
Widder, Sarah H., Kora, Angela R., Baechler, Michael C., Fonorow, Ken, Jenkins, David W., & Stroer, Dennis. Transitioning to High Performance Homes: Successes and Lessons Learned From Seven Builders. United States. doi:10.2172/1084180.
Widder, Sarah H., Kora, Angela R., Baechler, Michael C., Fonorow, Ken, Jenkins, David W., and Stroer, Dennis. Fri . "Transitioning to High Performance Homes: Successes and Lessons Learned From Seven Builders". United States. doi:10.2172/1084180. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1084180.
@article{osti_1084180,
title = {Transitioning to High Performance Homes: Successes and Lessons Learned From Seven Builders},
author = {Widder, Sarah H. and Kora, Angela R. and Baechler, Michael C. and Fonorow, Ken and Jenkins, David W. and Stroer, Dennis},
abstractNote = {As homebuyers are becoming increasingly concerned about rising energy costs and the impact of fossil fuels as a major source of greenhouse gases, the returning new home market is beginning to demand energy-efficient and comfortable high-performance homes. In response to this, some innovative builders are gaining market share because they are able to market their homes’ comfort, better indoor air quality, and aesthetics, in addition to energy efficiency. The success and marketability of these high-performance homes is creating a builder demand for house plans and information about how to design, build, and sell their own low-energy homes. To help make these and other builders more successful in the transition to high-performance construction techniques, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) partnered with seven interested builders in the hot humid and mixed humid climates to provide technical and design assistance through two building science firms, Florida Home Energy and Resources Organization (FL HERO) and Calcs-Plus, and a designer that offers a line of stock plans designed specifically for energy efficiency, called Energy Smart Home Plans (ESHP). This report summarizes the findings of research on cost-effective high-performance whole-house solutions, focusing on real-world implementation and challenges and identifying effective solutions. The ensuing sections provide project background, profile each of the builders who participated in the program, and describe their houses’ construction characteristics, key challenges the builders encountered during the construction and transaction process); and present primary lessons learned to be applied to future projects. As a result of this technical assistance, 17 homes have been built featuring climate-appropriate efficient envelopes, ducts in conditioned space, and correctly sized and controlled heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems. In addition, most builders intend to integrate high-performance features into most or all their homes in the future. As these seven builders have demonstrated, affordable, high-performance homes are possible, but require attention to detail and flexibility in design to accommodate specific regional geographic or market-driven constraints that can increase cost. With better information regarding how energy-efficiency trade-offs or design choices affect overall home performance, builders can make informed decisions regarding home design and construction to minimize cost without sacrificing performance and energy savings.},
doi = {10.2172/1084180},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2013},
month = {3}
}

Technical Report:

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