Posted by: lcowie | November 16, 2010

The House as a System

If you have read anything about the Building Performance Institute (BPI), you may have come across the phrase “house-as-a-system.” Some of the websites that featured this phrasing didn’t really explain what it meant, so I thought I’d take a moment to delve into it.

The easiest way to understand “house-as-a-system” is to think about all the components that make up a house. There’s plumbing, insulation, heating, air, solar, etc. There may be a professional who works on one of these components without considering its effects on another component in the house. This could be a bad thing. The professional could fix his or her area of expertise and cause an issue elsewhere in the home. After hiring, say, a heating professional to work in the house, the homeowner wouldn’t be expecting a new problem elsewhere in the home. The new problem could, therefore, go undetected for a while.

What BPI wants to do is to train individuals to consider the house as an interconnected network. Work that takes place in one area of the home can easily affect the way another part of the home works. The best type of contractor to hire is one who is BPI accredited because he or she understands the “house-as-a-system” approach and is trained to conduct tests in various parts of the house to ensure that harm has not been inflicted.

Leave a comment if you have a story that pertains to the “house-as-a-system” approach. Have you – or do you know anyone – who hired a contractor to fix a problem within the home, while instigating a completely different problem elsewhere in the home?


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