The Illinois Home Performance Approach

Illinois Home Performance aims to improve the comfort, safety, durability, value, and energy efficiency of Illinois homes by taking a whole-home approach to energy upgrades. But what exactly does this mean?

A Whole-House Approach

A whole-home, or “house as a system" approach treats a home like a system of interrelated parts rather than a collection of seperate components. While many people may believe that comfort issues or high energy bills are the result of one faulty component, such as old windows or an old furnace, these issues are more often the result of a combination of things working together to lower the performance of the home. A whole-home energy upgrade takes into account the interaction between many systems, including:
  • Thermal envelope (outside walls, attic, foundation, insulation, and air leakage)
  • Mechanical systems (heating/cooling, hot water, kitchen and bathroom ventilation)
  • Appliances
  • Lighting
  • Occupant behavior
  • Local climate

During an Illinois Home Performance upgrade, a Participating Contractor will first assess all of these features of your home and then make recommendations for improvment. Typical recommendations include:

  • Sealing air leaks
  • Adding insulation
  • Cleaning/tuning or upgrading heating and cooling systems
  • Sealing ductwork

For a more comprehensive list of common home performance problems and solutions, check out this helpful guide from the national Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® program.

One of the most common recommendations given after energy assessments is the sealing of air leaks in the home's walls, attic, windows, doors, and basement. The diagram on the right (click image to expand) illustrates common air leakage issues throughout a house; a house with these leaks might feel drafty or cause other systems, such as heating and air conditioning, to underperform no matter how efficient they may be.

The next most common recommendation is adding additional or upgrading existing insulation. For optimal energy efficiency, your home should be properly insulated from the roof down to its foundation. The diagram on the left illustrates the areas of your home that you should be thinking about when considering insulation. You may also find this resource on where to insulate and this guide to different types of insulation helpful.

Images courtesy of ENERGY STAR® and the U.S. Department of Energy

 

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