High Performance and Ultra High Performance Buildings
A high performance building has thermal, air and moisture barriers that are designed by building science principles to function properly. In an ultra-high performance building these barriers are designed to operate optimally. With most buildings these barriers are given only cursory attention and so they never function as needed for an energy efficient, durable, healthy building.
To be truly green, a building must be at least a high performance building and should be an ultra-high performance building. Otherwise it is only pseudo-green, for if a building wastes energy it cannot have a small carbon footprint. Even if it meets LEED Platinum standards, if it wastes energy it is only partly green. Operational energy consumption defines how well a building works.
A standard built residential building has an energy footprint of about 25 - 30 btu's per hour (btuh) here in the Hudson Valley of New York State, a high performance building is about half of that and an ultra high performance building a third.