Clarify Efficiency: Defining a Common Term

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In the building industry, the term “high-performance home” is thrown around on a regular basis. We hear it so much, that both contractors and homeowners slowly become numb to it. The words lose their meaning, or become unclear. Although we often overlook this phrase, to most contractors, “high-performance homes” have a very specific definition, but to consumers this is not the case.

A “high-performance home” is essentially a home with a tight building enclosure. It is airtight and properly insulated. The home has heating and air conditioning systems that are appropriately sized and installed. Because a high-performance home is so airtight, it also has mechanical ventilation to maintain airflow. Overall, the home is comfortable, durable, and energy efficient. Seems simple enough, right?

The Shelton Group is a marketing firm that aims to inspire sustainability and energy efficiency. Suzanne Shelton, the president, recently shared her thoughts on the term “high-performance home.” She stated that “we must stop using this term unless we are going to really make the effort to make it meaningful to consumers.” The Shelton Group surveyed consumers’ attitude and understanding of the industry, and discovered that 84% of homeowners cannot define what a “high-performance home” is. Each home should aim for high-performance, but this is not easy to do if you cannot define what it is.

The phrase seems so common these days that we rarely stop to think about it. As people in the industry, we must speak in a language that all consumers can understand—and that we ourselves can define. Here at Dolphin, we aim to educate you in the simplest way possible. When you insulate your home, you should not feel as though you are stepping into a dark cave of high-performance. We are here to answer your questions, and to define our industry’s vague terms.

Contractors and building analysts alike try to figure out a clear term to use in place of “high-performance home,” but cannot come up with anything. Although there may not be any distinct term for these homes, we can offer you clear definitions. We can even go one step further, and offer you tools for us to convert your home into a “high-performance home.” We convey the terms through clear definitions instead of assuming that all consumers somehow know about the terms of the industry.

The definition of a “high-performance home” is simple enough, so you might be wondering why all homes are not high-performance. There are many reasons for this. First, builders often do not have to pay to fix any home performance problems that they leave behind. To them, their completed home does not need to perform well, as long as the basic structure is effective enough. Too many builders out there also do not understand the building science behind efficient, high-performance homes. Also, although building codes are slowly improving, they are not always enforced. Likewise, the energy codes are not universally enforced.

If you know what a high-performance home is and looks like, then you will not fall victim to an inefficient building job. At Dolphin, you can be sure that your home will be taken care of. We strive to make your home a “high-performance home,” and will not settle for mediocrity. Insulate and air seal your home to take the leap to high-performance.