Healthy Homes or Simply Smart Homes?
By now, for those of you that can relate to an above code home or better yet, high performance home, you’ve most likely noticed a new trend on the horizon – Healthy Homes.
Trends are good as it makes things that otherwise would go unnoticed be pushed to the mainstream. For Imery Group, it all started with the “Green Movement”. By 2007, the green trend was present across all industries, from automakers to food. Any magazine, regardless of the industry, would have articles or ads about being more sustainable or green. We took notice, and having a development and construction background, we started our research into how “green” applied to homes and communities.
We quickly found out that EarthCraft House had been around for about several years, and LEED for Homes was in its early stages. With respect to Eco-Villages or Green Communities, these two programs were at pilot stages at SouthFace and the US Green Building Council (USGBC)
Upon review of these programs and along with everything that comes with it, we realized that it wasn’t too much about green or sustainability. It was more about doing the right thing, and following “un-commonly” known but “old” construction technics and as well as manufacture’s recommend practices. It became more of a ” you can not afford NOT to own a Healthy, Durable and Efficient Home” for us.
Once we undertook our purpose in the industry of improving people’s lives one home at a time, we decided to learn as much as we could about building homes that would be far superior than a code built home. At this time, we stumbled into a well-established community known as the “Building Science” industry
With an engineering background, we found this subject fascinating as it n made perfect sense that there was a discipline out there solely focused on how to improve or build buildings better. The mindset looked at a building as a sum of its parts where everything impacts everything and was not just about throwing technology at it to achieve performance.
If we wanted to excel in this newly found passion, we had no choice but to roll up our sleeves and go back to school – training that is. In the following years, we acquired so many industry designations that it is hard to keep track off. By becoming a HERS Rater to as much as LEED green rater, and everything in between, these trainings where essential for opening our eyes into considering every job unique, and to ALWAYS take a holistic approach. We don’t have a “one size fits all” recipe. What we have is a good frame work of processes in place that focus on addressing our client’s goals of healthy living within their budget – not all homes can be Zero Energy Ready Homes.
Becoming knowledgeable in the building science field became so handy, and exciting to us, that we decided to have both a construction and a consulting or green rating business. Through the years we acquired practical knowledge that we shared with our consulting clients, and vice versa. Both divisions are constantly feeding each other a wealth of knowledge and information, and the benefits are a better way of building or improving a home, the right way, the first time, which are unparalleled.
Now fast forward a few years. We found ourselves with a couple of Net Zero Homes under our belt, several other Healthy, Durable, Energy Efficient and Comfortable Homes plus more than 1,000 consulting/rating jobs, in addition to many, energy efficient checkup and improvement jobs. We get testimonials from our clients living in their home that just make us so happy, such as these:
“I have always suffered from allergies, specially from mold and chemical fumes, when I’m in a moldy space my body right away starts feeling awkward, first sings include, itchy red eyes and dry cough, if the exposure is long enough I might develop a sinus infection and chronic cough that can last for months, very uncomfortable and frequently requires the use of antibiotics. When we decided to invest in a green energy efficient home, we took into consideration the air quality specs offered by our builder The Imery Group. The way our home is sealed, the materials, finishes and state of the art green A/C system has improved noticeable my quality of life. I can come back home and my odorless fresh space speaks by itself, no mold, no breathing problems, no fumes and no itchy eyes. I’m definitely happy”
“Thanks to you always. You made my house so comfortable and efficient to live in – We love it and are indebted” J.W.
“The job you guys did was the best money spent on this house. I’m extremely satisfied. My whole family was able to tell a big difference” J.C.
Reading them carefully you can begin to connect the dots that building new homes or making improvements to existing home the right way, the smart way does have a positive impact on the homeowners’ quality of life. As such, the industry has noticed, and now you have progressive organizations
such as www.e4thefuture.org and the U.S. DOE’s Roadmap for Integrating Health and Home Performance commissioning studies to determine the implication of a high performance home into people’s health. The preliminary results do not surprise us, as we have been hearing them for a while directly from our homeowners and clients.
In fact, since 2013 two of our homes have been constantly monitored by SouthFace Energy Institute. What we are monitoring varies by home, but, the reports have been encouraging, and validate what we hear from our clients. In 2017 we will be conducting more studies with SouthFace that will focus more heavily into IAQ (Indoor Air Quality)
So is “Healthy Homes” a new trend? Well, for us it’s a better way of saying High Performance Home. What we truly believe is that we are building smart homes – one that does all the hard work for you, while you sit back, relax and enjoy all the benefits that a Healthy, Durable and Efficient Home delivers with very little effort on your end.