What is a High Performing Home?

Green Building. Sustainability. LEED. EPS. HERS. Net-Zero Energy. Passive House. High Performance. All buzzwords in the home building industry. But what do they mean and why should you care?

If you are a home builder or have ever had a home built or remodeled, then you know there are many options in design, materials and methods. Building code provides the minimum standard for home building that is always evolving to advance building practices. Today’s advanced building practices become tomorrow’s code. Certifications like LEED, Net-Zero and Passive House as well as scoring tools such as EPS and HERS showcase homes currently being built better than code. They all have different checklists and options but similarly define how a home relates to its site, use of local and renewable materials, indoor air quality, water efficiency, energy efficiency & renewable energy. Energy modeling and diagnostic testing with equipment such as blower doors and duct blasters measure the home’s performance and enable comparison of efficiency similar to the miles per gallon ratings of vehicles. Home buyers cause use this information to estimate annual operating costs and carbon footprint. Home builders can use these certifications and scoring tools to differentiate themselves in the market, take advantage of utility incentives and stay up to date with building practices. Better built homes are durable, affordable, comfortable, healthy and energy efficient.

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Features of a High Performing Home

  • More insulation: R-49+ attic, R23+ walls, R-30+ floors

  • Air sealing: <4 ACH50 (air changes per hour at 50 pascals)

  • Windows: U-0.25 or better

  • Whole home mechanical ventilation: ERV/HRV = Energy Recovery Ventilator/Heat Recovery Ventilator

  • Moisture sensing ventilation fans

  • Smart Thermostats

  • 95%+ AFUE ECM gas furnace or 10 HSPF 14 SEER+ electric ductless mini split system

  • 95%+ tankless gas water heater or 2.4 UEF electric heat pump water heater

  • 100% high efficiency lighting

Take a look inside an energy efficient EPS home. Features: Zip System R-sheathing, Rain screen system, BIB wall insulation, Air sealing measures, Mitsubishi ductless mini split system, Efficient gas tankless water heater, 100% efficient lighting

Ladies Night @ Tum-A-Lum Lumber, Hood River!

We had an amazing time at Ladies Night at Tum-A-Lum Lumber in Hood River last week! So many women came and made candle holders to take home for the holidays that we lost count. We went though almost 3 large totes of 2x and 4x wood scraps and burned out 2 Forstner bits! Luckily our cordless 18V Milwaukee drills held up to the challenge. And our Milwaukee friend lent us a power sander for the evening which was much better than hand sanding. Adding 2 of those to our wish list this year!

Women's Woodworking Wrap-Up

Wow, what amazing women we have been woodworking with this past month! We co-hosted two women’s woodworking series this fall with Jack Perrin of Gorge MakerSpace in White Salmon, WA and Bekah Rottenberg at Wy’East Middle School in Odell, OR through Hood River Community Ed. Each class started with a beginner box project and then progressed onto individual projects that some women even designed themselves! It was so awesome to coach skill building and confidence building through woodworking. We are so excited for more to come in 2019!

October Bat Box Workshops @ Tum-A-Lum Lumber

Our last workshops of 2018 at Tum-A-Lum Lumber in Hood River and Pendleton were super fun! With the help of adults, over 50 kids built bat boxes out of cedar to take home to provide homes for new bat friends. If you were unable to attend the workshop you can download the plans here and build it at home. We served over 400 kids this year and are excited to plan our 2019 workshops so stay tuned!

Ladies Night @ Marson and Marson in Cle Elum, WA

We were so excited to be a part of the first ladies night at Marson and Marson in Cle Elum, WA! Over 100 ladies came to socialize, eat, drink, do a scavenger hunt and make tea light candle holders from wood. Ladies learned about drill settings and the difference between spade bits and Forstner bits. They sanded and then finished their projects with chalk paint which can be scuffed up when dry to create a rustic finish. Check out the photos below!

September Step Stool Workshops @ Tum-A-Lum Lumber

We had a blast this weekend at Tum-A-Lum Lumber in Hood River and Pendleton building step stools with 46 kids! Parents joked that they were having more fun than their kids. Perhaps, but I saw smiles all around with kids so proud of what they made. They took home skills of measuring, marking, predrilling, screwing, gluing, hammering, painting and staining. If you were unable to attend the workshop you can download the plans here and build it at home. Excited for next month’s bat house workshop!

August Tool Box Workshops @ Tum-A-Lum Lumber

We had another couple of awesome kids DIY workshops building tool boxes at Tum-A-Lum Lumber in Hood River & Pendleton! The came, they built, they painted, they personalized with their names. It's been so rewarding to work with youth especially those who are "workshop regulars." Pendleton's workshops are even spreading to the schools as 8th grade woodshop students will be preparing materials for the next workshops this fall! If you were unable to attend the workshop you can download the plans here and build it at home.

Women & Girls Woodworking Workshops

We are so excited to offer not one but two women and girls woodworking workshop series this fall (and another this winter!) through Hood River Community Ed! Women and girls will learn how to safely use hand and power tools in a supportive environment, building confidence to tackle projects on their own. You can learn more and sign up here for the series in Odell at the Wy'East Middle School and here for the series in White Salmon at Gorge MakerSpace. These workshop series are limited to 12 each so sign up ASAP to reserve your spot!

Kids DIY @ The Dalles Farmers' Market

This weekend we offered a free kids DIY project at The Dalles Farmers' Market! 17 kids chose to build either a mason bee house or a bird house that they could take home and learned more about native bees and birds. Thanks to Tum-A-Lum Lumber for providing all of the materials for these projects. We are also available for private DIY parties and events at your location so please contact us for scheduling!

Kids DIY Peace Boxes @ Columbia Gorge Peace Village Camp

This was our first year at Columbia Gorge Peace Village camp and we had a blast! So much amazing energy, talented facilitators and creative youth embodying peace within, peace among and peace around. We decided on a simple carpentry project, a 5 sided peace box, that kids could assemble with hammer and nails and then personalize with paint. Tum-A-Lum Lumber generously donated all of the materials and we were able to serve 75 kids in 4 days!