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Atlanta, GA
USA

773.398.5288

Advanced residential construction and home improvement consulting and owner's advocacy in Atlanta, using the latest building performance diagnostic and modeling techniques and tools. Airtightness, insulation, HVAC, ventilation, moisture, and air quality and EMF consulting for homeowners and building professionals alike.

How Should a Homeowner Shop for a High Performance Home?!?

Videos/Podcasts/Articles

Home performance articles and stories from the field with internationally respected building forensics guru Corbett Lunsford at the Building Performance Workshop. Hear new episodes of the Building Performance Podcast, see new videos from the Home Performance YouTube channel, and learn all about how diagnostic testing (more than an 'Energy Audit') can make home improvement and new home construction a proven process!

How Should a Homeowner Shop for a High Performance Home?!?

Corbett Lunsford

Hello Corbett,
I have been listening to your podcast and heard your request for ideas. You often mention the challenges in educating consumers, and I think my questions might be interesting to the non-professionals in your audience.
I just moved to Denver, Colorado and am considering purchasing a home for the first time. As a potential first-time homebuyer interested in air quality, moisture management, energy efficiency, and building durability, I expect that it is unlikely that I will be able to find a high-performing home at an entry-level price. With the expectation that I may need to invest in some retrofitting, I have a couple of general building performance questions:

Ascertaining current performance

Assuming that a first-time buyer probably will not have access to the sophisticated diagnostics described on your podcast during their search, what are some key things to look for that would indicate a high or low performance?
Utility bills can shed some light on energy efficiency, but how can someone gauge issues like air quality or moisture control?

Performance improvement opportunities

What factors influence a residential building’s suitability for a high-performance retrofit?
Are there factors that would influence the ROI of a retrofit for a modest home? And how could a homebuyer identify those?

Assembling a team

Do you have suggestions about how to assemble your team (realtors, inspectors, and appraisers) to help identify an entry-level home based on current or future potential?
What skills or expertise would you consider important?
Your podcasts have covered issues about financing for retrofits – so there may be nothing new to address here.
 
Basically, it would be great to be able to use a home performance lens during a home search to identify a property in which it is not too difficult or expensive to improve from decent to good performance.
As a potential consumer, I have enjoyed and learned a lot from your podcast. Thank you for thoughts.

Best,
B