Houses That Work™ Our Foundational Course in Residential High Performance Building Science

Houses That Work™

Houses That Work™ is the nation's leading turn-key solution for educational training and outreach. Houses That Work education provides attendees with ways to improve the performance, efficiency, durability, comfort, safety and health of the homes they build, making them a better value for their customers and incorporating green practices into their business formula.

Houses That Work classes have helped thousands of building professionals benefit from understanding the house-as-a-system approach regardless of what climate zone or the number/size of the homes they build.

In this full day session, participants learn that complex changes in home design, building materials, mechanical systems, appliances, code compliance and consumer lifestyles and expectations make every builder, supplier, and trade contractor’s job more demanding. We will cover the basics of building science and how it is applied to create high performance homes.

The session will address critical home performance elements that exist as a system and are part of energy efficient homes. The fundamentals of building science - air, heat and moisture flow – will be outlined and applied to help participants make better choices with respect to construction materials and methods. Participants will also learn important information about indoor air quality, including the basics of mold and other pollutant sources, and cost-effective strategies to be able to offer healthier indoor environments.

At the end of the session, attendees will have a thorough understanding of how to build better attics, walls and foundations and how to choose HVAC systems that integrate properly into their homes. This session will also cover how building science principles improve the marketing position for building professionals, providing case studies of builders who have changed their building processes and gained return through communicating the value of high performance homes.

Who Should Attend:

  • New home builders and remodelers and their site supervision staff
  • Designers and architects
  • Estimators and contract managers of builders
  • Building industry suppliers and manufacturers representatives of building products
  • Trade contractors who want to know more about how their work affects performance
  • Utility and housing program officials
  • Government housing officials
  • New home sales agents
  • Energy Raters
     

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn the elements of high performance homes and how they help respond to code compliance, and the many changes in the residential construction industry as well as consumer expectations
  • Understand the fundamentals or air, heat and moisture flow and see how they can be applied to make better material and methods decisions
  • Apply the building science to attics, walls, windows, foundations and HVAC decisions to create high performance homes
  • Identify the building process changes needed to cost-effectively implement high performance homes
  • Explore the successes of other builders who have benefited from implementing high performance home strategies.
     

Learn & Earn

Houses That Work education qualifies for CEU credit for AIA, AIBD, BPI, ICC, RESNET, NAHB, NARI, NATE and is approved by the USGBC for GBCI CE Hours towards LEED credentialing maintenance. Learn More...

Houses That Work Session Descriptions

Session What to Expect Description/Outline

Intro to Houses That Work

In this session participants learn how the many complex changes in home design, building materials, mechanical systems, appliances, consumer lifestyles and expectations over the last 30 years makes every builders, suppliers and trade contractors job more complex and demanding. The segment outlines the basic building science physics of air, heat and moisture flow that every builder should know so they can understand why some buildings work and others don't. download
Advanced Houses That Work In this session participants learn how the many complex changes in home design, building materials, mechanical systems, appliances, consumer lifestyles and expectations over the last 30 years makes every builders, suppliers and trade contractors job more complex and demanding. The segment outlines the basic building science physics of air, heat and moisture flow that every builder should know so they can understand why some buildings work and others don't. download
HTW for Existing Homes This NEW workshop explores cost-effective opportunities to implement energy efficient and green technologies and strategies into remodeling projects for existing homes. The fundamentals of building science - air, heat and moisture flow – are applied to help participants understand how elements of a house all work together as a system and how this knowledge can be used by remodelers to reduce risks and find the most cost-effective energy improvements for individual homes. download
Selling HP Homes Full Day This presentation applies proven sales techniques to the task of helping sales agents educate home buyers on the technical features of High Performance Homes. download
Selling HP Homes Half Day This presentation applies proven sales techniques to the task of helping sales agents educate home buyers on the technical features of High Performance Homes. download
Insulation and Air Sealing This session helps participants understand key principles to attain optimal insulation effectiveness in high performance homes. The session will review physics of air, heat and moisture flow covered in the HTW I workshop and essential questions related to creating an effective thermal barrier. download
Indoor Air Quality This session empower participants to sort through the quagmire of IAQ information that is currently available and give them practical and affordable tools and strategies they can use to help their clients make better decisions and to incorporate healthy indoor initiatives into their building projects. download
Water Management This session trains builders and designers apply building science to address the highest risk element of new home construction – water management – keeping buildings dry. download
Ventilation Strategies This workshop will teach participants essential information about airsealing as it applies to single family residences. The house is a system and every component in it works together. Adding insulation and sealing air leaks can improve the energy efficiency of a home and improve the home’s comfort and durability. However, every change made to the building’s envelope (walls, floors, and ceiling) and components will affect how the home works to keep out the elements and keep the occupants safe and comfortable. Tightening the building envelope without providing appropriate ventilation can cause pressure imbalances or negative pressure in the house. This negative pressure can set up the conditions for backdrafting of fireplaces or fuel-burning (combustion) appliances and may draw pollutants into the home. A trained contractor understands how systems work together to keep the house operating as it should. Participants will learn the basics about air leakage and the details and techniques for airsealing. They will gain practical and affordable tools and strategies they can use to help their clients make better decisions. Participants will be equipped to avoid potential risks and identify new opportunities for marketing their services. download
HVAC System Replacement This workshop will teach participants essential information about HVAC System Replacement as it applies to single family residences. When homeowners purchase a new high-efficiency HVAC system, they expect it to perform at the advertised capacity and efficiency. Unfortunately, more than half of all HVAC systems in U.S. homes are believed to perform poorly due to one or more installation issues, which wastes energy and can increase peak load. By purchasing high efficiency equipment and having it properly installed and tested, a homeowner can lower their energy bills, increase comfort and extend the useful life of the equipment. Participants will learn the basics about HVAC system replacement and the details and techniques for a quality installation. They will also gain practical strategies they can use to help their clients make better decisions. Participants will be equipped to avoid potential risks and identify new opportunities for marketing their services. download
High Performance Mechanical Systems for Houses That Work High Performance Mechanical Systems for Houses That Work is a mid-level, full day seminar geared towards Builders, Designers, Code Officials, and Trade Allies that focuses on HVAC, Ventilation, Hot Water, Indoor Air Quality and Electronic Home Controls in high performance housing.  In the past several years, residential mechanical systems have grown in complexity and scope as energy codes have mandated higher insulation levels, better windows and tighter construction. There is now a great opportunity to rethink and redesign HVAC, hot water heating and electronic home control systems as they are major contributors to energy efficiency goals. This course will first review the key building science concepts that have changed the way houses are built and identify the relevant changes to mechanical systems. The remainder of the course will focus on the proper sizing and selection of appropriate mechanical equipment for high performance ever lower load homes. Compelling opportunities to simultaneously optimize comfort, durability, safety and health, efficiency and cost will be identified.  Instructor will use lectures, case studies and group exercises to convey the information to attendees. download
Siding and Window Replacement Water Management of Above Grade Walls This workshop will teach participants essential information about Siding & Window Replacement as it applies to single family residences. Millions of American homes will be retrofitted in the coming years to improve their energy efficiency, make them more “green” or add features their owners want. Participants will learn the basics about above‐grade water management as it applies to siding and window replacement and its impact on the building and occupants. They will gain practical strategies they can use to help their clients make better decisions. Participants will be equipped to avoid potential risks and identify new opportunities for marketing their services. The information presented in this session will build on the basics of building science covered in the popular EEBA full day Houses That Work session. Participants for this Siding & Window Replacement session are encouraged to attend a Houses That Work session before taking this workshop. download
Remodeling for Improved Indoor Air This workshop will teach participants essential information about air sealing as it applies to single-family residences. The house is a system and every component in it works together. Adding insulation and sealing air leaks can improve the energy efficiency of a home and improve the home’s comfort and durability. However, every change made to the building’s envelope (walls, floors, and ceiling) and components will affect how the home works to keep out the elements and keep the occupants safe and comfortable. Tightening the building envelope without providing appropriate ventilation can cause pressure imbalances or negative pressure in the house. This negative pressure can set up the conditions for back drafting of fireplaces or fuel-burning (combustion) appliances and may draw pollutants into the home. A trained contractor understands how systems work together to keep the house operating as it should. Participants will learn the basics about air leakage and the details and techniques for air sealing. They will gain practical and affordable tools and strategies they can use to help their clients make better decisions. Participants will be equipped to avoid potential risks and identify new opportunities for marketing their services. The information presented in this session will build on the basics of building science covered in the popular EEBA full day Houses That Work session. Participants for this Air sealing session are encouraged to attend a Houses That Work session before taking this workshop. An important element of the workshop will be to introduce the DOE’s Building America Best Practice Air Sealing Guide. download