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The average American family suffers from a common ailment: the tyranny of low expectations. Most people assume that houses perform a certain way as a given: upstairs rooms are going to be a little too warm in the summer; basements will be colder and have a whiff of mildew; utility costs are what they are; and indoor air quality is improved through scented air fresheners or candles.

The high-performing home of the future breaks the shackles of that tyranny. To put it simply, the high-performing home delivers a better homeowner experience — affordable comfort, healthier air, energy independence, resiliency from severe weather or grid instability, and more convenience.

These high-performing homes are not in the distant future. Technology and changing consumer preferences are disrupting the housing and home services industry, including but not limited to, builders’ and contractors’ business models.

Are you well-positioned to benefit from these changes? Or are you at risk of being unprepared and out-competed for business in an evolving industry?

To explore the answers to those questions, it can be helpful to understand how homeowners are:

  • Demanding new functionality from their home
  • Having higher expectations for how their home delivers on traditional features
  • In need of solution providers to attain those functions and benefits

New Features and Functionality

Homeowners are investing in new home technology features, including connected home devices, solar, batteries, electric vehicle charging, energy-efficient upgrades and mechanical systems, and healthy home devices. External factors, such as changing utility rate structures and ”all-electrification” efforts, further push homeowner demand for new technology and solutions. This new technology will have a significant impact for solar contractors and HVAC contractors.

One example of that change is the rapid adoption of sensors. Homes have had sensors for decades. The humble thermostat senses the temperature and can turn heating and cooling systems on and off. Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms detect health and safety hazards and alert occupants. Humidistats can measure and control humidifiers and dehumidifiers. Even the utility meter is a sensor, measuring how much energy a home consumes over a period of time.

What makes a high-performing home different is the scope, scale, and data granularity of the sensors. Economical sensors are now available that can measure:

  • A variety of indoor air quality pollutants, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs), small particulate matter (PM2.5), carbon dioxide, radon, humidity, and carbon monoxide
  • Electrical usage down to the appliance or plug level
  • Comfort metrics that include not only sensible and latent heat loads, but how these comfort factors vary room by room and over time
  • Durability and maintenance metrics, including water leak sensors and fault detection in mechanical equipment that can alert homeowners and professionals to repair prior to a catastrophic failure

The smart home market is expected to grow 400% in the next six years. Homeowners will increasingly be awash in data about the most important aspects of homeownership — the health and comfort of their family and how to affordably maintain and operate their homes. They will also have greater visibility in how their home may be underperforming on the most important aspects that impact the health and comfort of their family, which will drive higher expectations for how their home delivers traditional benefits.

To take advantage of this booming trend, many homeowners will be seeking professional contractors to install their smart home devices, and HVAC contractors are uniquely suited to address this growing demand. Failure to adopt this service could mean not only unclaimed revenue for you, but also increased profits for your competition, leaving you less prepared to compete.

Higher Expectations for Home Performance

One in five families have a family member with asthma (more than 25 million Americans), which can be exacerbated by poor indoor air quality. According to a summary analysis of several studies, 47% of homes have dampness and mold problems. Nearly one-third of U.S. households reported facing a challenge in paying energy bills or sustaining adequate heating and cooling in their homes. An entire industry exists to address uncomfortable homes.

Greater visibility into how homes can and should perform will drive demand for solutions. The ability of sensors, dashboards, and home reporting systems to measure and display health and comfort metrics will increase the demand for solutions to address these problems.

Radon CO2 Mobile

But without qualified professionals who understand the underlying causes of these problems, homeowners will be frustrated in their search for solutions. To better serve the modern homeowner, HVAC contractors should be knowledgeable about the products that improve indoor air quality, as well as possess the skills to install them.

“We are surrounded by data, but starved for insights.”

— Jay Baer, marketing and customer experience expert


Attaining a High-Performing Home

Measuring a home’s indoor air quality, comfort, consumption, production, and durability metrics is only one aspect of the emerging and increasingly common homeowner experience. Homeowners need guidance on how to interpret what is being measured, as well as how to find solutions when problems arise.

Qualified contractors are well-positioned to:

Conclusion

A growing number of high-quality builders know how to design and construct high-performing homes that deliver this better experience. And a growing number of high-quality contractors and remodelers know how to improve older homes to deliver those benefits to their customers.

Changing consumer preferences will reward contractors who understand, communicate, and deliver lifetime value to their homeowner customers.

Contractors who understand how homes create, distribute, and use energy will be best positioned to succeed in the future. No other trade is as well-positioned as HVAC contractors to take advantage of these new opportunities. And no other trade has as much to lose if they don’t understand how the market is rapidly changing as a result of these disruptive technologies. Join Pearl Certification and Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) at The Solar Forum November 14-15, 2022, at the Crowne Plaza in Phoenix, AZ to learn more about adopting these new services and positioning your business for success in an evolving industry.

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Pearl Certification is transforming the housing market. We’re making a visible difference nationwide for homeowners and the businesses that serve them.