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Does Your House Need An Advisor? By John Lambie

john-lambie

Does Your House Need A Trusted Advisor?

By John Lambie

The big ticket items for most people are houses and cars. Most of us have, or wish we had, a trusted mechanic. Your mechanic knows how your car operates, keeps your service record and lets you know when maintenance is needed and what to do in the event of a fender bender or mechanical breakdown. And for improving on the original, only real “gear heads” dig in to their own cars to improve performance.

But What About Your Home?  

Most homeowners were not involved in the design and construction of their home. Many of us have only a vague idea of how it works and its current and potential level of performance. And no wonder! A home’s performance is more complicated to assess than a car. Of course we would like it to perform better and be more efficient but where do we even start?

dwell-greenSaving on utilities and insurance is usually a first concern. Home health, especially air quality is a big issue. Whether it will survive the next big storm is another. Then there is home safety and adaptability to the needs children, seniors and multi-generational households. Is the landscape growing food, keeping your home cool and delivering pure water to the Bay? Does your maintenance and replacement schedule for the A/C and appliances or even the roof and windows capture opportunities for economical performance upgrades? Energy and water use are only a small fraction of total performance and even general maintenance can deliver continuous improvement.

If you want to build a new high performance home you would look for a green builder or an architect and a certifying agent that would help you plan and build the home you want. For existing homes, DwellGreen is pioneering the new field of assessment and planning total home performance. The goal is to help homeowners understand their home better and provide guidance to deliver appropriate and cost-effective maintenance and improvement projects.

The key is the DwellGreen trusted advisor. They are building experts with deep knowledge of structural, energy, water, and quality of life opportunities for this climate, but first of all an expert in listening. One size does not fit all and every home will have different potential for improvement depending on your personal preferences. That is why the 3-hour home assessment begins with a half hour interview around the kitchen table. What are you goals and vision for your home? How do you plan to use it? What’s working, what’s not? What are your return-on-investment expectations?

Then the advisor looks “under the hood” of the house, checking its vital signs using tools like the infrared camera for hints for performance, including its safety, air quality, structural soundness, air and water tightness, insulation, roof condition, landscape design, air conditioner, and appliance efficiency. Suggested improvements are based on the personal interview and home performance evaluation.

The result is a simple, clear sequenced action list detailing suggested improvements that serve to guide. The home assessment and action list is kept as a permanent record on your own private portal – DwellPort™.
 
DwellGreen has assembled a network of reliable trades people and service providers who can then execute your house plan. Also, your DwellGreen trusted advisor is available free of charge for any further questions about maintenance and updates on home technology and government incentives.

It only makes sense to exercise due diligence with your home maintenance and upgrade. At the least they should be as well managed and documented as your car’s maintenance.

John Lambie, a LEED Accredited Professional and former adjunct professor in Environmental Studies at Sarasota’s New College, brings more than 35 years of expertise in the fields of green building, solar energy, and sustainable community development to DwellGreen. He holds the 2008 Florida Green Building Coalition’s award for highest performing building and was the executive director of the Florida House Institute for Sustainable Development for 10 years. John may be reached at (941) 866.7628 or via email at questions@dwellgreen.com.

Copyright © 2011 REAL Magazine

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