Net Zero with Superior Air Quality
Pearl Platinum: It’s a lifestyle decision!
Casey had a bit of a head start in understanding building science and performance measures. He’s the Vice President of Quality Systems at Pearl and has been in the home performance industry for over a decade. But the general Pearl framework still helped him and Desi plan and build their Platinum-level home. “Pearl gave us a ready framework to understand what features we should consider when building a high performance home,” Casey said.
Casey and Desi also recognize the benefits for others. “Whether you’re a homeowner or builder or just improving your house, Pearl helps you identify important home features that impact a home’s performance,” Casey said. “Pearl gives you actionable intelligence to reach certain target levels, whatever your needs are.”
Casey provides several examples of this information in action. “Pearl can help you make a determination in terms of what you need to do to reach a level of good versus excellent within a specific feature, like insulation. It also helps you compare across features in your home, such as how important insulation will be in your home, versus water heating.”
Casey and Desi worked with a local builder who gave them the flexibility to hire and manage their own trades, two of which are contractors that participate in the Pearl Contractor Advantage Network. Sigora Solar installed the solar photovoltaic (PV) panels to their house. “It was important for us to deal with a high quality solar contractor who certified their work through Pearl. Sigora made it possible for us to capture and communicate the investment we made,” Desi said.
Edge Energy, also a member of the Pearl Network, performed a variety of modeling and performance testing services that were critical to meet requirements for the ENERGY STAR Certified Homes program, Indoor airPLUS program, and the U.S. DOE’s Zero Energy Ready program. Edge Energy also rated the home to obtain the RESNET HERS Index. “Each of these programs offers unique value,” explained Casey. “Unfortunately, many homes that are built to these higher standards are never recognized as being unique when they are refinanced or sold. That’s what is so special about the Pearl system. The certification report not only documents a home’s specific high-performing features — like high levels of insulation or a very efficient heating system — but it also documents if a home was constructed or improved under a ‘green’ certification program.”
“From the outside, you can’t tell that our house is different from others. You wouldn’t know that it was a Pearl Platinum home, that it was net zero, that it has a superior level of air quality. Pearl allows us to capture and communicate this value when we need to.”
While Casey and Desi have no intention of moving any time soon, they recognize a few additional benefits of having a Pearl certified home. One is private mortgage insurance (PMI). “For many types of loans, you have to have 20 percent equity in a home to avoid PMI, which you don’t know until an appraiser comes out. It was important to work with Pearl to certify our home. Every bit of added home value can make the difference in avoiding PMI,” Desi said
“From the outside, you can’t tell that our house is different from others. You wouldn’t know that it was a Pearl Platinum home, that it was net zero, that it has a superior level of air quality,” Desi said. “Pearl allows us to capture and communicate this value when we need to.”
The other benefit is a better understanding of their home. “Via Pearl, we can better maintain and improve our home over time because we have a clear record of original values like insulation levels or the HVAC system,” Casey said.
The Power of Pearl Platinum Homes
Pearl Platinum homes are considered to be in the top 3% of all homes in the U.S., delivering more comfort, better indoor air quality, and lower utility bills. Most Platinum home features will exceed ENERGY STAR Certified Home Program Requirements as well as those required by modern energy codes.
This was a lifestyle decision, it’s the embodiment of who we are. A healthy and luxurious home environment that is affordable to own and operate. What’s not to love?”
Casey provides an apt analogy. “Pearl is an added level of confidence; it’s a receipt. It’s your receipt stating that a quality investment was made. Without the Pearl Certification Report and the Appraisal Institute’s Green and Energy Efficiency Addendum [which Pearl auto-populates], it would be virtually impossible for us to communicate why our home is different. Pearl gives us the tools and resources to recoup our original investment if we refinance or sell in the future.”
But for Casey, Desi, and their family, their high performance home is as much about who they are as it is what they put into it. “This was a lifestyle decision, it’s the embodiment of who we are,” Desi said. “A healthy and luxurious home environment that is affordable to own and operate. What’s not to love?”