Nick knows homes. Several years ago, he started volunteering for Habitat for Humanity. He also helped modify a home that was part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon, a competition for students to design and build high performance buildings powered by renewable energy. On top of that, he’s built six passive houses. So when Nick decided to create an addition to his own home in Washington DC, he was naturally committed to transforming it into a high-performing home.

It was also a natural fit for Nick to reach out to EDGE Energy, a local home performance contractor. Nick heard about Edge’s solar work but he also had familiarity with the company through his experiences with Habitat for Humanity and via an article featured in the Journal of Light Construction.

Nick learned about Pearl Certification separately through Bill Spohn’s podcast and was thrilled to learn that EDGE Energy was joining the Pearl Advantage Network. This meant that as he progressed with his gut-rehab project EDGE, he would not only receive expert solar installation and home performance consultation, but he would also receive a Pearl Certification Report at the end to clearly document the special features of his transformed home.

EDGE Energy, which serves DC, Maryland, Virginia, and other states, joined the Pearl Contractor Advantage Network this year. Dedicated to providing quality construction and exceptional general contracting services, EDGE delivers a finished product worthy of the elite Pearl Advantage Network. Pearl invites only the top 2% – 5% of all contractors in any market to join its network.

“Working with EDGE was an incredible experience. In addition to their expertise in designing and installing my PV system, their experience in insulation and air sealing, as well as their understanding in heating, cooling, and ventilation systems, was very helpful. They were a tremendous sounding board to bounce my design ideas off of,” Nick said.

One of the best parts of this story is the result of Nick’s Pearl Certification Report. Following an assessment, his home was verified as Pearl Platinum, the highest possible rating from Pearl.

Nick’s gut-rehab home was the first non-new construction home to achieve this status! Pearl Platinum homes are considered to be in the top 3% of all high-performing homes in the U.S., delivering more comfort, better indoor air quality, and lower utility bills.

“Now the indoor environment is much more controlled. Before it had an unconditioned crawl space and a lot of humidity,” explained Nick

As Nick gave Pearl a tour of his Pearl Platinum home, he talked about some of the benefits he and his family were enjoying, including:

  • A quieter home. The added insulation and high-performing windows keep outdoors noises out, while the mini-split systems are virtually silent, replacing the previous, loud HVAC system.
  • A healthier home. Proper mechanical ventilation and filtration prevents contaminants from entering the home, and removes excessive moisture and cooking fumes. Nick even described how his CO2 levels are properly monitored and controlled.
  • A more comfortable home. In addition to controlling sound and humidity, the home’s temperature is much more even throughout the home’s upstairs and downstairs.
  • A more affordable home. Even without the PV system, Nick’s home is much more energy efficient.

Nick’s accomplishment demonstrates that homeowners don’t need to design and build a brand new home to make it truly high performing. While you might elect to enlist the support expertise of a qualified contractor, like EDGE, much of the existing single family home inventory can be candidates for similar transformations, whether they achieve Pearl Silver, Gold, or Platinum. And in Nick’s case, it also didn’t hurt that he such a passion and knowledge for building science and home performance.