Services to help you to achieve your goals

We offer Passive House building consulting.  It is always the goal to build low maintenance, durable, low operating cost homes that can last generations.  There are many building products used in the process of building Zero Energy or Passive Houses that one can’t get at your local building product stores. We can help with this. There are many ways to build high performance homes, we have experience with these. Insulation, air sealing, flashing systems, mechanicals and many other things that go into a high-performance home can be tricky to select and execute and we have the experience and knowledge to help with this.  Continuing education and product research are key components of what we offer. 

Field tests. We can help with site analysis to take advantage of solar gain, wetland considerations, and other considerations that can have an impact on cost, performance, and longevity of the home.

Wall system consulting.  There are companies that make panelized wall systems that make building a high-performance home much easier and with very good results from a labor and cost standpoint.  When walls are constructed in a factory setting, waste is reduced, and it is easier to get good quality walls. Quality can be much better controlled in a conditioned building place and as a result on the job site, the roof can go on much quicker helping to protect your investment.

Roof system consulting. We have put together different types and materials of roof systems and can help with selecting what you need to complete your roof and protect your window/wall system.

Foundation systems and material consulting. There are different types of basement systems available and have different performance levels. If you are (and certainly should be), insulating your basement, how much and of what type of insulation do you need? Or if building on a slab, do you need frost walls or a thickened edge slab and how do you insulate them? There are panelized basement systems available that are cost effective and that can greatly speed up building a home.

Insulation consulting. This is a big one. If you are building a home that you want to last as long as possible, insulation types and processes to install them are critical. What is the longest lasting insulation, how do you have to handle air sealing for that insulation? Cost, environmental impact, safety of the materials, ease of installation, and water retention are just some of the considerations involved in these decisions.

Follow up tests/diagnostics. Blower door testing with infrared thermal imaging cameras. If you don’t test the home, you have no idea how it will perform or how long it will last. Air sealing the home and reducing air leaks everywhere leads directly to building performance and longevity. This is critical.

Building a tight home result in providing its occupants fresh filtered air to breathe. You need the correct amount of fresh air delivered in the right place, which is done by a ventilation system. The typical ventilation system is about 70-80% efficient in exchanging fresh air and losing some heat. There are systems available that are over 90% efficient in retaining the heat and can help with humidity in the home as well. We can help with selecting the latest, highly efficient, cost-effective systems.

Window and door consulting. Window and doors are holes in your insulation system. Putting the right products in those holes by using the correct installation methods is critical. Window technology is continually advancing and using the right materials, glazing, and sealing components in the windows can greatly extend the lift of the windows. By putting correctly designed windows on the south facing wall of your home, they become part of the heating system for the home. Windows and doors that are tightly sealed, well insulated, with multipoint locking, and rebuildable if something happens are available but typically not at the local building supply store. Energy modeling is very important in selecting the right windows, doors, and insulation levels at whatever climate you live in. This can also predict energy usage in the home once occupied. Typically, we have an energy model done for all our homes to figure out the heat load, and then select a heating/cooling system to provide it with what’s required to accomplish your goal(s). The biggest problem in selecting a heating system for a Zero Energy or Passive House is getting a small enough system for your needs.

Architecture/Design/Engineer services. Many people need help with designing their home. Having someone you can work with that can help with all of the considerations you need to make can help make the process much smoother. The home also needs to have plans made for building officials to approve and for the builder to build. There is a lot of work that goes into this to make your wishes happen. It is usually the architect that does the energy modeling for a high-performance home. The architects we use have the Certified Passive House Consultant designation and the PHPP (Passive House Planning Package) software that aids them in achieving the most accurate energy modeling results in the world.

Depending on the project, engineering services may be needed to build what you want. We have a list of people we have worked with that understand what type of buildings we work on.

Heating systems are slowly developing for the low heating demand loads of high-performance homes. Again, we are constantly researching new types on the market and comparing them to what we’ve used prior so you can rest easy.

Water heating becomes one of the biggest energy loads in the home once the heating load goes down. There are water heaters and distribution systems that can help lower this.

Energy efficient appliances are available now that weren’t just a few years ago. They also address water usage, reducing the need for water lines and possible sewer issues.

Solar PV panels and battery storage systems. Once you have the high-performance home, the next step to self sufficiency is renewable energy. Solar panel systems are the most commonly used way to achieve this. We work as salesmen for one of the top 500 solar panel installation companies I the country, Carlson Electric out of Hayward, WI. They can install any brand of solar panels and battery systems available. In the future, if you are planning for an electric vehicle, we can help you proactively prepare ahead of time for this inevitable path. This field is evolving rapidly and so are the systems involved. We are diligently working to stay up to date with all developments, which includes not just the systems themselves but any grants/financing options you may be eligible for.

Consultations

Our combined experience, construction familiarity and Passive House credentials help provide added benefits throughout the proposal, preconstruction, design development, material selection and construction stages of projects.

Blower Door Testing + Thermal Imaging

Sustainable Builders Group unlike most builders loves to test our projects because we have nothing to hide and only want the best for our clients.

Pre-construction

We actively manage the budget development process, provide timely input and best practice alternatives, and monitor the availability of materials and compatibility of costs. 

Remodeling

Another key method to enhancing your property is by remodeling an existing space. We rework spaces to your desires and improve overall flow with new design and construction alternatives.