Building codes should push the (building) envelope
Building codes establish minimum standards to ensure structures are constructed to perform in ways that protect and provide efficiency to the occupants. While codes represent the lowest-level of requirements, builders and buyers alike should push for homes that go beyond the standard, experts say.
Homes that outperform code, commonly referred to as outperformance homes, provide added indoor comfort, foster increased structural durability and generally lead to lower monthly energy bills.
A home built to code will last for many years, but an outperformance home will last for many years more.
So how does one achieve outperformance status? Consider the following:
- Create a tight building envelope, to include energy efficient windows and doors.
- Ensure proper insulation throughout, using a variety of products such as fiberglass, STYROFOAM™ Brand Insulation and spray foam.
- Seal potential air leaks throughout the homes, around the walls, between the living space and the attic and basement or crawl space.
All three approaches help to prevent unconditioned air from seeping in and air that has been conditioned by the home’s HVAC system from seeping out, condensation from building up and pests from crawling in.
Companies: Dow Building Solutions
Gary Parsons Gary Parsons is the Lead Building Scientist in Dow Building Solutions Research and Development. He is a LEED Accredited Professional, a licensed residential contractor in the state of Michigan, a member of the Society of Plastics Engineers and a member of ASHRAE. www