What is High Performance Building?

The term ‘high-performance building’ means a building that integrates and optimizes on a life cycle basis all major high performance attributes, including energy conservation, environment, safety, security, durability, accessibility, cost-benefit, productivity, sustainability, functionality, and operational considerations. This is as defined by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.

Taking the Science to the Field

Americans are placing more and more demands on their homes—particularly to conserve energy, reduce environmental impact, and improve safety and security. This shift in thinking places attention on their home as a whole, rather than the sum of various components. Achieving this kind of building, known as a high-performance building, requires the deliberate consideration and integration of many attributes. In addition, the homeowner, builder, and design team need to address the planning, financing, design, and construction, as a team.

Constructing a custom home in the field makes it extremely difficult to meet the tolerances required of the building envelop in today’s high performance homes. The tight tolerances and inspections needed to insure that specifications are met are a natural process in the factory environment. The challenges of the site, weather, and security are essentially eliminated by building indoors.

Is Green Building the same thing as High Performance Building?

A Homebuyers understanding typically combines Green Building and High Performance Building together into one notion. While they are actually two different movements, High Performance Building supports the Green Building Movement. High Performance Building’s major focus is on energy use. Green Building is much broader and refers to the structure and using processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building’s life-cycle: from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition.

How Modular Construction Supports High Performance Green Building

Modular construction, by nature, is material and resource efficient. One of the great economies of modular construction is the ability to assemble modules under controlled conditions using materials. An inherent byproduct of building indoors is to minimize material waste typically found with conventional construction due to weather intrusion and construction site theft. Modular construction capitalizes on the ability to construct product under controlled manufacturing conditions, and with tight material inventory control and project schedules. It is inherently waste conscious and minimizes site impact if delivered carefully and strategically with respect to site constraints.

There are also several other basic principles intrinsic to the modular construction process that make it more eco-friendly than conventional construction. The contractor and subs spends significantly less on-site time, a direct result of a shortened construction cycle, (the outcome of the simultaneous activities of on-site development and off-site building construction). It also offers the additional benefits of time and cost predictability, healthier construction, and better worker safety. The inherent materials advantage of the process combined with the tight building tolerances that can only be achieved indoors is a huge leap forward in constructing an energy efficient building envelope.

Built to Code with Shorter Build Times

The bottom line is that with modular construction you can get a home built to the same local codes, using green building technologies and with higher building performance than a comparable site built home in much less time. Additionally, the abbreviated construction schedule allows you to get a finished project faster, exposing you to far less risk than typically found in custom home building, with higher margins and happier customers.