The Pretty Good House Movement
When the term “energy-efficient homes” and superinsulation started to gain currency late in the 20th Century, some critics may have dismissed it as being a pipe dream for hippies and survivalists. But it has grown into a respected standard, the Passive House Standard, for houses that use very little energy.
Energy-efficient construction is nothing new to Connecticut contractor Charles Bogie, who’s been at the forefront of energy-efficient construction for some time.
“I started doing energy-efficient homes back in the early ’80s,” Charles says. “I started with passive solar, and then I went into superinsulation.”
Charles passed down his knowledge of energy-efficient building to his son Ben, who now owns Built to Last Design & Build, LLC. While Built to Last has executed Passive House certification on some projects, they embrace what has come to be called “Pretty Good House” principles: getting the most bang for the least buck. It falls somewhere between the building code and Passive House. It generally includes more insulation and air sealing than the energy code requires. In 2017, Ben, Charles, and the Built to Last crew began remodeling a retirement home in Woodbury, Conn. MI Windows and Doors donated the windows for the project, which was organized by Professional Remodeler magazine for its annual ModelRemodel series.
MI Windows supplied 1650 Extreme Double-Hungs, 1675 Casements, 1650 Picture Windows, and a 1615 Sliding Glass Door to the project. All of the windows were triple glazed for superior energy efficiency.
“When you’re standing next to a window and that surface is cold, it actually draws the heat out through your body,” Ben says. “So the room may be one constant temperature, but you start to feel cold. But if you have triple glazing, that’s another layer of protection, so not only is the building holding its temperature better, but you’re perceiving the temperature inside the home better.”
According to Daniel Morrison, who’s been tracking the progress of the remodel for his website protradecraft.com, Ben Bogie is the ideal person to install these energy-efficient windows.
“I first met Ben at a New England Sustainable Energy Association show,” Morrison says. “It brings a lot of energy nerds together. A remodeler from Maine introduced me to Ben. I went to one of Ben’s job sites and liked what I saw, so I have been working with him for a couple of years now shooting video. The first video that I did of Ben … was a Passive House retrofit of a 1030s cabin. To gain Passive House certification, the house must use very little energy and be extremely air tight.”