The Power to Save the World

- One Home at a Time!​

Better Building Institute

A non-profit organization created to help homeowners:

(1) Save money by improving home performance, safety and energy efficiency with audits and consulting.

(2) Build indestructible, zero-energy new homes.

(3) End our dependence on fossil fuels, stopping climate change.


High Performance Homes in Illinois and Missouri       

The diagram at the right shows what makes a home 'High-Performance'.  When building a home, attention is focused on several basic goals, among them the ability (1) to be structurally sound so it withstands most natural (or man-made) disasters, (2) to have healthy indoor air quality, (3) to preserve the natural environment, and (4) to save energy. By overlapping these and the other goals, we hope to end up with the best home possible.  Areas that are shared by two or more goals can be called 'green' or 'well-built', but where they all overlap is our ultimate goal:  High-Performance.

The High-Performance Home

in this picture shows many of the high-performance features that are available today, along with several passive* and renewable-energy features.  BBI is always on the lookout for new ideas, products and techniques to build a high-performance home, and you'd be surprised at some of the things we find along the way!

*Passive energy uses no fossil fuels or burning of any kind. Instead, it gets its energy directly from the sun without converting it to electricity. Solar water heating is an example of passive energy use. (top center of picture)

A Strong, Energy-Efficient Building Envelope

is our starting point, satisfying the most important goals #1 and #4.  There are many different materials and practices, but BBI's choice is Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF), shown at right.  Styrofoam blocks stacked like Lego's™ and filled with rebar and concrete, ICFs provide the strongest and most energy-efficient outer shell a house can have.  Manufacturers claim an R40+ insulation rating, and wind resistance up to 200 mph, plus it won't burn, melt, mold, wash away, leak air or get eaten by termites! Siding, stucco, drywall etc. is easily attached to either side to form one solid wall.

A Heat-Reflecting Metal Roof

is much more energy-efficient than asphalt shingle. For one thing, it reflects all heat instead of absorbing it, making cooler attics. Plus, it lasts more than twice as long, and is immune to larger hailstones than asphalt. It may be more expensive, but it'll pay for the difference several times over in energy savings and replacement costs. And it can even be installed on top of your present roof, saving the cost of stripping off the old!

Check out the many colors and styles available, especially in stone-coated as well as standing-seam.  This is the stone tile style.

Construction Zone!

Please Pardon Our Sawdust!