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Olympic Ambitions

Created 9/6/2016 by David Bopp
Updated 9/15/2016 by Veronica Marzilli
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Over the last two weeks we have celebrated the best athletes in the world and reveled in their triumphs and cried over their losses. The Olympics come and go every two years yet offer ideals that we could apply daily.  What would our lives be like if we strived for the best, an Olympic level of performance, from our homes and businesses?

We spend 90% of our lives or more inside. The majority of this time is in our homes.  We owe it to ourselves and to our society to build the best that we can for now and future generations.  Every home and business that is not built to gold medal standards is a poor legacy we leave our kids and grandkids that is rife with high costs and poor health conditions.  Follow the five gold medal goals listed below to achieve a gold medal home or business for yourself. 

Gold Medal Indoor Air Quality.   We worry as a society about air quality in the outdoors. Reality is that the air quality is worse in your home most of the time.  Yet we have no minimum standards for quantifying indoor air quality.  What we do have is the technology to provide high efficiency filtered outside air into our homes when and to where we need it.  Why breathe poor air when it is completely avoidable?  We should build gold medal ventilation into every home and business for the health of ourselves and our great-grandchildren.

Gold Medal Comfort. When we aren’t comfortable we don’t like it and change something.  The problem is that if we do not build comfort into a house or business from the start it is very costly to change.  You have three options: run your heating/cooling system more, buy a more efficient, bigger or second heating/cooling system and run it more, or spend a lot to upgrade windows, insulation, and air sealing.  All three are a lot more expensive than simply building a high efficiency “shell” for the house or business to make it comfortable at an affordable cost.  Why settle for less than the gold standard for your comfort?

Gold Medal Heating and Cooling. The majority of new homes and businesses rely upon technology that has been around for a century for their heating.  No one drives a horse and buggy to commute.  Why do we insist on heating our homes with toasters (electric furnaces, baseboards, and boilers), open combustion gas furnaces and water heaters, or highly inefficient wood/pellet stoves?   There are better options and once you reach the gold standard for the other parts of your house or business it is possible to reach this gold standard for about the same cost as your inefficient toaster.  Step up to the podium and grab the gold.

Gold Medal Components. Now that you have a gold medal house that will offer you unparalleled comfort and health why would you outfit it with items that reduce the performance?  High efficiency water heaters, lights, appliances, and controls.  These pieces provide the final level of efficiency and control to make sure your gold medal investment performs as planned, designed, and built. 

Gold Medal Water Protection. What good is it to achieve gold in all the other categories and find your new or remodeled home or business rotting away under you?  A home or business needs a solid Building Science based plan and implementation for handling the water from the outside (rain, snow, sprinklers, etc.) and water from the inside (the humidity from living or working in a building).  Once again easy to build in but hard and expensive to fix afterwards.  Who is evaluating your builder’s water plan?

These are the gold standards for a new home or business or remodeling an older one. Just like the Olympic rings are interwoven these standards when applied to a home are too and cannot be successful on their own.  Five gold rings that interlock to make a unified whole.  Changes to one will cause changes to another. If upgrades are performed correctly they will amplify the other rings but if done without thought will diminish them. 

Reach for gold; why settle for code minimums which don’t even get you to the Olympics much less on the podium? Over the span of a typical mortgage a gold medal home could actually cost you less than a code built home?  Will you reach for the gold?  As this summer’s Olympics come to a close I am reminded to dream of what is possible not be limited by what is common. 

What are your builder’s Building Science credentials? How much continuing education does he or she engage in each year?  Will your builder provide you with independent inspections to prove your home or business will meet gold medal level?  Not sure where to start or who to talk with?  Give your energy coaches at Flathead Electric a call; we’ll help you achieve gold. 

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