• Program Features

Building Science.

It's all about building a better, greener home.

A home built under the Environments For Living® program is an energy-efficient home that has been constructed using the principles of building science. What's that, exactly? Building science is the discipline of looking at a house as an integrated system of systems that all work together, using advanced building techniques. And it requires a lot more effort on the part of your builder.

There are now more than 100,000 homes across the United States that have been constructed by builders under the Environments For Living program. The program starts with a pre-construction plan review of your builder's plans to ensure compliance with the program's stringent requirements. Much of what our program requires, described in the table below, may seem to be things all builders should do, and things all homes should have. The surprising answer is that the conventional code-built homes today are not built to these specifications and do not offer these benefits.

Some of these building techniques have esoteric names like "air pressure balancing," but they deliver important results. A lot of our program requirements cover things inside the walls, so you can't actually see them. But you'll experience the difference, in key areas like indoor environmental quality, durability and comfort.

Our flagship level, the Environments For Living® Certified Green program, includes more environmentally beneficial features and benefits, such as indoor water efficiency and appliance and lighting efficiency.

The program offers your builder different levels of participation. No matter which level your builder chooses, your home will have many distinct advantages over homes that are constructed to meet conventional code requirements. And for each, TopBuild Home Services offers you the homeowner limited guarantees on heating and cooling energy use, and comfort. We're able to offer these guarantees because our program specifications make your home work as a system. Guaranteed performance. It's another benefit you'll get with an Environments For Living home that goes beyond the ordinary.

* See the guarantee for complete details and limitations.

ENERGY STAR® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Building Better With Building Science.

The Environments For Living program is the leading, national turn-key program designed to assist builders in constructing and marketing homes utilizing the principles of building science — homes that offer energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality and durability benefits. Our flagship level, the Environments For Living Certified Green program, includes such additional benefits as interior water conservation and appliance efficiency.

Tight Construction
Special framing techniques such as a continuous air barrier and sealing of penetrations help reduce internal leaks and drafts.
Improved Thermal Systems
Enhanced insulation techniques help to minimize voids and gaps, and higher thermal properties (R-value) add to energy efficiency.
Right-Sized HVAC
"Right-sized" heating and cooling systems and sealed air ducts help equipment work efficiently.("Right-sized" refers to the process of determining which HVAC system should be used in any particular structure.)
Guaranteed Performance
Written guarantees* are issued to homeowners on the amount of energy used for heating and cooling, and comfort.
Low-E Windows
Low "emissivity" windows have protective coatings to help keep heat in during winter and out during summer.
Energy-Efficient Lighting
At least 60% of all hard-wired lights must be compact fluorescent or LED, reducing overall home energy consumption.
Energy-Efficient Appliances
ENERGY STAR® qualified appliances such as refrigerators and clothes dryers, dishwashers and efficient water heaters help conserve energy.
Internal Moisture Management
Vents, pressure balancing, fresh air ventilation and "right-sized" HVAC equipment work to reduce moisture from daily activities like cooking and showering.
Tight Construction
Air barrier continuity and air tightness reduce the potential for moisture to enter the building envelope.
Improved Thermal Systems
Program requirements such as low-e windows and insulation installed in contact with the air barrier reduce the potential for moisture build-up.
Optimum Value Engineering
Special framing techniques reduce lumber requirements and material use, while maintaining structural integrity.
Paint Durability
Interior paints that meet a minimum 400 scrubs (ASTM D4060-07), add to product longevity and can reduce future material needs.
Fresh Air Ventilation
Fresh air ventilation systems deliver filtered fresh air to help reduce dust, odors and indoor contaminants for improved indoor air quality.
Internal Moisture Management
Vents, pressure balancing, fresh air ventilation and "right-sized" HVAC equipment work to reduce moisture in multiple ways.
Air Pressure Balancing
Balanced air pressure throughout the home results in more-even temperatures and reduces the potential for condensation build-up.
Combustion Safety
Combustion appliances in conditioned spaces are sealed or power-vented to help avoid build-up of carbon monoxide, and vent-free fireplaces are not allowed. CO detectors are required in all homes.
Enhanced Filtration Systems
Air filters with a MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) of 8 or greater, or an approved electronic air cleaner, provide extra protection from contaminants.
Using paints with low levels of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) reduces indoor pollutants.
Carpets carrying the Carpet Rug and Institute (CRI) Green Label® for low VOC emissions strictly limit substances that can off-gas.
Cabinets constructed from composite panels that meet the standards of the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association Environmental Stewardship Program (www.kcma.org), and the Composite Panel Association Environmentally Preferable Product Specification (CPA 03-08) (www.pbmdf.com).
Low-Flow Faucets
Kitchen sink and lavatory faucets that conserve water help reduce overall internal household water consumption.
Low-Flow Showerheads
Showerheads using the latest technologies can help save water without compromising performance.
High-Efficiency Dishwashers
ENERGY STAR® rated dishwashers use less water and add to overall household water savings.
High-Efficiency Toilets
Water efficient toilets that meet specific performance criteria help reduce water use in the home.
High-Performance Clothes Washers
ENERGY STAR® qualified clothes washers that meet specific water efficiency metrics help to save on household water use.