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High-Performance Home Building - Q&A

living room


Anthony Venezia  has been spending his weekends this past year building a highly crafted high-performance home in Canandaigua New York. This construction project is designed to be a modern and sustainable home for Anthony and his family and features dark stained Douglas fir timber accents as well as two-tone Shou Sugi Ban exterior siding and white oak flooring & stair treads from our sister company Pioneer Millworks.

Most importantly, the home utilizes our High Performance Made Easier ™ (HPEz) enclosure system which enabled Anthony and Luke to construct the home to the efficiency standards they wanted to achieve with the project. 

Now that the family home is nearing completion, we caught up with Anthony to discuss how the project got started, why he wanted to build sustainably, and what it was like building a home for his family with a high-performance enclosure system that was manufactured off-site.




Q: How did this high-performance construction project get started?


A: We originally had this piece of land as a leftover lot from a larger residential development, so we had our architect Pete Heintzelman from Method Architecture walk the site with us to help understand what we could do in terms of building a new home. We did extensive surveying of the site, which is what I do as a profession, and developed some design ideas for the basic concept of this high-performance home.

My wife and I really wanted to do something different for this area of New York and focus on a home that is not only modern but high-performing and energy efficient. We did not want to build something that would be obsolete in the next decade in terms of performance, so most of our focus and decision making was based around energy efficiency and sustainability. From the tilt & turn windows to the high-performance enclosure system, to the geothermal heating system, everything was chosen for its long-term sustainability.


Pioneer Millworks Flooring


Q: At what point in the design process did you decide to incorporate our HPEz enclosure?

A: The choice to build with a geothermal heating system was particularly important as that lead us directly to the need for a high-efficiency enclosure system to maximize the benefits of the reduction in energy use to run the home. One of the things on this project that was critical was working with New Energy Works on the airtightness of the enclosure, because we did much of the construction of the building on our own. Having the expertise of the New Energy Works team to build the wall system off-site and install it made the efficiency of the structure we were trying to achieve possible.




Q: The finishing details of the home are very distinctive, what were the ideas behind those design elements?


A: We worked with our architect on ways to make the interior of the home feel modern but not too industrial, preserving a warm and relaxed feeling to the space through the finishing choices. For example, we left the steel beams exposed but paired them with dark stained Douglas fir timbers, chose warm white oak flooring & stair treads from Pioneer Millworks, as well as exterior natural Shou Sugi Ban Larch siding in a variety of finishes. The staircase and large high-performance custom windows were a big part of the look of the home, so we put a lot of focus on how they incorporated to the overall look we were going for as well, which was kind of a mountain modern aesthetic.


Natural Ceiling


Q: Why did you feel it was important to build a high-preforming home for your family?


A: I think that high-performance homebuilding is the future of the housing industry. If you don’t build a new home to high-performance standards, you are effectively building a home that will be obsolete in a matter of years in terms of energy consumption. I think that people are going to start designing simpler, more open homes like ours that are built to higher and higher levels of efficiency standards as the years progress. With the New Energy Works enclosure systems, it makes building this way easy and accessible to people like us who want to build more sustainably homes.


Pioneer Millworks Stairs


Q: As the builder on the project, what were the benefits of using an enclosure system that was built off-site?


A: The reason we chose to work with New Energy Works on the enclosure system for our project is because we had never built a high-performance home like this before. There is a huge learning curve to high-performance building for a construction team, especially when you factor in timelines and seasonal weather changes. The fact that the panels were built off-site indoors and then installed on-site quickly and to high-performance standards allowed us to dry in the project within a very short timeframe. The speed and efficiency of New Energy Works was a big part of the success of our build.




Q: What advice would you give to other builders who are thinking about using a high-performance enclosure on one of their projects?


A: The speed and the efficiency of the New Energy Works enclosure systems is the big thing on-site. As a builder if you are at a stage where you are ready to put up the enclosure, it is going to be done fast, it is going to be done right, and it is going to be airtight. You as a builder are not going to have to worry about any of those details, which are the most challenging parts of building a high-performance home.


Project reference links:


Learn more about HPEz: High Performance Building Enclosures | New Energy Works


Pioneer Millworks Products featured in this home:


Shou Sugi Ban - Larch Carbon | Pioneer Millworks


Shou Sugi Ban - Larch Shallow Char | Pioneer Millworks


Siding & Shiplap - Larch Sand | Pioneer Millworks


White Oak Flooring & Paneling - Modern Farmhouse Casual White Oak | Pioneer Millworks


Builder/Client related:


Anthony Venezia - Venezia Land Surveyors and Civil Engineers


Architect Website:


Method Architecture Studio: Architect & Interior Design in Stowe, VT