S9 - Logo - Mark
Lorem Ipsum

Fusce in risus sit amet dolor rutrum faucibus ut id magna.

Question 1
Question 2
October 19, 2023

Building a Sustainable home

8 key elements that define a high performance-home built by Sustainable 9.

In an era where sustainability is at the forefront of our minds, the concept of a high-performance home has gained significant traction. These homes are designed to be energy-efficient, environmentally friendly, and comfortable for their occupants. The technology and innovations behind such homes have evolved dramatically over the years, resulting in a new standard of modern living. In this article, we'll dive into the key elements that make up the anatomy of a high-performance home.

1. Triple Pane Windows

Windows tend to be the weak point in any wall assembly. Triple pane windows consist of three layers of glass with insulating gas between them, which reduce drafts through improved air-tightness, ensuring that your home stays warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Selecting better windows makes a significant impact on the overall performance of your home.

2. Super Insulation

Upgrading the amount of insulation around the entire building envelope helps reduce energy demands and increase comfort. There are a lot of different strategies to create a super insulated building, but one of the best is exterior continuous insulation (ECI) because it also helps reduce thermal bridges. Other strategies include using materials such as spray foam, rigid foam, or advanced fiberglass batts to create an airtight envelope.

3. Eliminate Thermal Bridges

A typical exterior wall in a home today only has insulation between the studs. The problem with this strategy is there's no thermal protection between the outside and inside of a stud. This creates a thermal bridge and allows thermal energy to move through the stud in and out of the home, depending on the season. The solution is to introduce a thermal break to slow down the heat loss through the studs and better insulate the building. By addressing these weak points with proper insulation and construction techniques, homeowners can reduce energy consumption and increase overall comfort.

4. Airtight Construction

Airtight construction is a fundamental principle of high-performance homes. These homes are built with meticulous attention to make the building envelope extremely air-tight to prevent infiltration or loss of conditioned air. By preventing air leakage, the home is able to maintain stable indoor temperatures and reduce the workload on heating and cooling systems, leading to significant energy savings, performance, and comfort.

5. Balanced Ventilation

In the past, buildings were so leaky that it was not necessary to mechanically bring fresh air into the home. As modern construction becomes more air-tight it becomes increasingly important to both bring in fresh air and exhaust stale air, allergens, and pollutants, keeping the air pressure in the home balanced. 

To maintain excellent indoor air quality, high-performance homes incorporate a energy recovery ventilator (ERV), which pre-conditions the incoming outdoor air with the energy of the outgoing stale air. Balanced ventilation systems not only support a healthy living environment but also help save energy by reducing the need for mechanical heating and cooling.

6. Upgraded Mechanical Systems

High-performance homes feature upgraded mechanical systems designed for energy efficiency and optimal performance. A high performance mechanical system is one that can deliver above average comfort and energy efficiency. Zoning, sizing, and layout all need to be thought through to provide efficient comfort.

One of the best ways of increasing energy efficiency today is by using heat pump technology, whether it's an air-source heat pump that sits outside your home and exchanges thermal energy with the outdoor air or a geothermal ground-source pump that exchanges thermal energy with the earth.

7. Net Zero Energy

A zero energy home is one that produces as much energy as it consumes. All of the features listed above can help reduce the amount of energy a building consumes, which then reduces the size of the PV solar array needed to reach a 100% offset and become net zero. Net-zero homes not only reduce carbon emissions but also save homeowners money on energy bills as seen at the Blackfoot Pass Residence

8. All Electric

To further enhance sustainability, it’s best to go all-electric even if it means placing a bet on a greener future. By not connecting any fossil fuels, homes that go all-electric are fully prepared for the on-going transition to 100% clean energy within the electrical grid. Given the current high cost of electricity, high performance matters even more when building an all-electric home. Adding PV solar, geothermal, or exploring incentive programs with your local utility are all great ways of offsetting these higher monthly costs.


Certifying a completed home through a third-party verification process, such as the CEE (Center for Energy and Efficiency) or Energy Star, is of paramount importance. These certification serve as an objective and rigorous assessment of a home's quality, sustainability, and energy efficiency. It offers assurance to homeowners that their investment complies with established industry standards, demonstrating a commitment to environmental responsibility and resource efficiency.

All Sustainable 9 homes are certified by the CEE, EPA’s Indoor Air Plus, and Energy Star providing our clients with top tier energy-efficiency ratings.

A Cutting-Edge Approach To Sustainable Living

The anatomy of a high-performance home represents a cutting-edge approach to sustainable living. By incorporating elements like triple pane windows, super insulation, airtight construction, balanced ventilation, upgraded mechanical systems, net-zero energy goals, and all-electric designs, these homes provide superior comfort, energy efficiency, and environmental benefits. As we continue to prioritize sustainability and reduce our carbon footprint, high-performance homes offer a blueprint for a greener, more sustainable future.

Related Articles

Listing 4up border 03

Let’s Craft Your Perfect Home