Home Innovation Insights

Insider insights on what's going on in the home building industry.

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January 25, 2019

Education & Training Key to Overcoming Builder Challenges With Energy Codes

Two weeks ago, I blogged about a summary of findings to a builder survey, where more than 250 write-in responses to the question, “What are your biggest challenges in constructing homes to meet current energy codes?” were received.

Responses varied widely. In an attempt to summarize the breadth of responses, I would say they indicated that building more energy-efficient homes means the home building industry has to change, and change can be painful — particularly painful when the industry is producing at near capacity, labor and materials costs are rising, and both management and jobsite labor are in short supply. The 85% of respondents who indicated having challenges seemed to convey that the fast pace of building code changes is disrupting the design and construction of homes, and they are trying to sort things out.

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Building Products, Marketing, Building Practices, Homebuyer Preferences, Insulation, Data and Trends, Energy Performance

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January 11, 2019

Builders Identify Top Challenges in Meeting New Energy Code Requirements

In December 2018, Home Innovations Research Labs fielded our Omnibus Survey of 300 U.S. home builders, which included dozens of questions from sponsoring manufacturers. We also included some of our own questions to gain insight into current building construction issues.

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Building Products, Marketing, Building Practices, Homebuyer Preferences, Insulation, Data and Trends

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January 4, 2019

The Evolution of “Smart” Homes & Technology

It’s been about 30 years since Home Innovation Research Labs built the first Smart House prototype in Maryland research home park. The whole “smart home” concept has been on the verge of exploding in the market for decades, but along the way changing homes, demographics, technologies, and lifestyles have continued to evolve and caused wrinkles in the plans of companies and organizations bringing this technology to market.

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Building Products, Marketing, Building Practices, Homebuyer Preferences, Insulation, Data and Trends

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July 18, 2018

Builder Survey Data Analysis: Trends in Trim, Insulation, Sheathing, Cabinets

The data is in! Home Innovation’s 2018 Builder Practices Survey continues to reveal many new trends and reversals. Some of the most notable changes we’ve seen so far have been highlighted in my recent Trends posts. Here are a few more points I’ve found interesting during my ongoing analysis…

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Building Products, Marketing, Building Practices, Homebuyer Preferences, Insulation, Data and Trends

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February 12, 2015

Don’t Go It Alone: Verifiers Can Help Avoid Scheduling Issues, Costly Damages

One of the most important aspects of multifamily construction is scheduling. If done properly, it can save the owner and the general contractor a lot of time, money, and frustration. But all too often, this process is not monitored closely enough. In large multi-million-dollar projects, the smallest mistakes in construction sequencing can be devastating to the project by causing costly delays, damages, and legal actions. NGBS Green Verifiers can help you plan so that a small error in scheduling doesn't result in a major catastrophe in your green building.

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Green Building, Building Practices, Energy Performance, Building Codes, Air Sealing Design, Insulation

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January 29, 2015

NGBS Bronze Cookbook: Your Winning Recipe for Green Home Building

Despite green building experts’ declarations to the contrary, a truly high-performance, green home is not always easy for builders to design and construct, and there are always additional costs involved as compared to building a code-minimum home. These are facts. But we do all that we can to make the process easier and more affordable for builders, so that more builders will build green homes and verify performance with independent, third-party verification.

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Green Building, Building Practices, Energy Performance, Building Products, Insulation

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October 17, 2014

Are You Willing to Bet it All on Energy Efficiency?

Homebuyers want much more out of their homes than just energy efficiency. The research findings proving this point are irrefutable. Yet there are still builders who put all their marketing might onto the single-point message that their homes are energy efficient and will provide a tangible, monetary payback. That's leaving a lot of unclaimed marketing chips on the table for the home features buyers value even more than energy and the related cost savings. Isn't it time to face the facts and deliver what homebuyers really want? Homes that provide a healthy place for their families, comfort, and contribute to a sustainable lifestyle — truly green homes.

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Green Building, Homebuyer Preferences, Marketing, Building Practices, Energy Performance, Insulation, Survey Research

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August 27, 2014

“R” Your Insulation Products Meeting Expectations?

With model building codes ramping up thermal envelope requirements for homes, and homebuyers becoming increasingly concerned (and knowledgeable) about managing their energy bills, both builders and buyers are scrutinizing the performance of the insulative products used in their homes. R-value is the most obvious and universal “proof point” that batt insulation will perform as expected, but how confident can you be that the R-value posted on a label actually reflects how that product will perform? Very confident … as long as the product also carries our Lab Certified mark.

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Tagged:
Product Testing, Building Products, Building Codes, Energy Performance, Insulation

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May 15, 2014

NGBS Keeps Builders on The Cutting Edge

It's 2014, the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) is gaining ground and being accepted in many states, and it is no longer a question of "if" but "when" you will be required to meet a certain building leakage number. So if you're a home builder still asking, “Isn't it better – and greener – to just let my homes 'breathe' naturally rather than sealing them tightly and relying on mechanical ventilation?” you're in for an abrupt and rude awakening when the new code comes to town. Don't wait. The future is now. And certification to the NGBS is your best tool.

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Air Sealing Design, Building Codes, Building Practices, Energy Performance, Green Building, Insulation

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March 27, 2014

How to Help Appraisers Fairly Value Home Energy Efficiency Improvements

At Elevate Energy, we design and implement efficiency programs that lower costs, protect the environment, and ensure the benefits of energy efficiency reach those who need them most. As a provider of these programs, we understand that future success is dependent upon energy efficiency becoming transparent in the real estate transaction of high performance homes.

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Energy Performance, Green Building, Building Practices, Air Sealing Design, Insulation, Solar Energy

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March 20, 2014

Green Homes Are Expected to be Durable (Now Let’s Make Sure)

High-performance homes appeal to consumers because of their touted benefits: a healthier indoor environment, lower operating costs, and increased durability. Certainly, the benefits are compelling. But do we know if high-performance homes can live up to these elevated expectations?

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Green Building, Building Codes, Building Practices, Energy Performance, Building Products, Air Sealing Design, Insulation

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January 16, 2014

2014: A “Race to Zero” Odyssey

The next generation of housing industry professionals has to be better trained to deliver the home of the future. The DOE Challenge Home Student Design Competition is part of this important transformation process toward creating better homes and communities.

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Energy Performance, Green Building, Building Practices, Air Sealing Design, Insulation, Solar Energy

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December 19, 2013

Student Design Teams "Race to Zero" in DOE's Challenge Home Competition

In mid-December, we closed out registration for the DOE Challenge Home Student Design Competition. The response we got from colleges and universities across North America was really inspiring — all told, 32 teams have stepped up to the challenge in DOE's "race to zero" in energy-efficient home designs. Find out more.

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Air Sealing Design, Building Codes, Building Practices, Energy Performance, Green Building, Insulation, Solar Energy

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July 18, 2013

Cost is Not Always King: Builders Look for Value When Increasing R-Value

While cost is always a factor with home builders, we've seen through data collected in our Annual Builder Practices Survey that value is often an overriding consideration. See what we've found for how builders address the cost vs. value equation when increasing R-value in their new homes.

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Survey Research, Building Products, Marketing, Energy Performance, Air Sealing Design, Building Practices, Insulation

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May 23, 2013

The Modern Crawlspace: No Rot, Mold, or Bugs About It!

The IRC now has provisions for unvented crawlspaces, which can be practical, energy-efficient options for those building in hot-humid climates. But what's the best way to build these types of crawlspaces? Our new builder resources can help.

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Building Codes, Air Sealing Design, Energy Performance, Green Building, Insulation

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February 14, 2013

NGBS 2012: What's In It For Consumers?

What does ANSI approval of the 2012 National Green Building Standard mean for home buyers and owners? Plenty ... and good! Find out more about the consumer benefits imbued in the 2012 NGBS. 

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Green Building, Homebuyer Preferences, Energy Performance, Insulation, Building Codes, Building Practices

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January 31, 2013

How Wet is Too Wet?

It's all relative. That adage certainly holds true when considering moisture content in wood-based building materials. A retrospective on what we've found over the last five years of our investigations on moisture performance of common wall assemblies, and a call for the next round.

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Product Testing, Building Products, Energy Performance, Building Codes, Building Practices, Air Sealing Design, Insulation

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January 11, 2013

Moving to a Higher Green Standard

The 2008 National Green Building Standard has been helping transform the residential construction industry since it was published in January 2009. With the ANSI approval this week of the 2012 version of the NGBS,  I look forward to the even greater transformation to come.

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Green Building, Building Codes, Energy Performance, Building Practices, Insulation

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January 3, 2013

Fellowship of the New Year's Resolution

Like many, a new year has me reflecting on past accomplishments, pondering new goals, and committing to a few new resolutions. Why not make a resolution that gives you the possibility of success and provides some extra joy – resolve to build a green certified home this year.

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Green Building, Homebuyer Preferences, Energy Performance, Marketing, Air Sealing Design, Building Practices, Insulation

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November 22, 2012

'Tis the Season for (Percent Energy) Savings

Visions of holiday savings at the mall may be dancing through the heads of consumers across the country this Thanksgiving weekend, but I've been thinking about percent energy savings instead. What can I say? I'm an energy code geek!

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Energy Performance, Building Codes, Building Practices, Air Sealing Design, Green Building, Insulation

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November 8, 2012

When You're Hot, You're Hot

With thermal performance requirements being ratcheted up throughout the building code, it's more important than ever to get a true sense of how the building envelope performs as a system. The Home Innovation can help with our large-scale hot box.

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Energy Performance, Product Testing, Building Products, Building Codes, Insulation

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October 25, 2012

Building Product Market Opps: Attics & Crawlspaces

What's lurking in those dark attics and creepy crawlspaces just in time for Halloween? Market opportunities, if you know what to look for. An Home Innovation Research Labs nationwide survey of builders earlier this month showed some interesting new trends in unvented attics and crawlspaces.

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Survey Research, Building Products, Marketing, Air Sealing Design, Energy Performance, Insulation

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October 18, 2012

Deck the Walls with Insulation

What's one of the "low-hanging fruits" when creating an extremely energy-efficient home? Wall insulation. Be sure not to overlook some of the best practices in this area that can get you closer to your high-performance home goals.

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Energy Performance, Green Building, Building Practices, Insulation

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August 30, 2012

Bound for Net Zero

There are lots of ways to describe a net-zero home. But no matter the terminology, there is a real-world proven methodology that Home Innovation Labs has used successfully with builders and remodelers across the country to achieve net-zero – it could work for you too.

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Tagged:
Energy Performance, Green Building, Building Practices, Insulation, Solar Energy

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August 2, 2012

Don't Get Caught in A Tight Spot - Pay Attention to Air Sealing

The Home Innovation is helping builders and manufacturers prepare for more stringent air sealing requirements in the 2012 IECC.

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Air Sealing Design, Building Products, Energy Performance, Insulation