Nigel Maynard, Editor-in-Chief

Nigel Maynard is editor-in-chief of Custom Builder and PRODUCTS magazines. Maynard grew up in St. Croix, where he learned construction helping his step-dad build the family home from the ground up. Since that early introduction, he has bought and remodeled four homes, and has taken up cabinet and furniture making. His current home was featured in The Washington Post and his previous home was covered in Home Magazine, The Washington Post, and HGTV’s I Want That! Prior to joining SGC Horizon, Maynard was the Editor-in-Chief of Lebhar-Friedman’s all-digital products magazine, Residential Building Products & Technology. Previously, he spent 14 years at Hanley Wood as senior editor of Builder magazine and its sister publication Residential Architect, where he amassed eight prestigious honors for editorial excellence, including AZBEE and NAREE awards.

High-Performance Habit

Even though my wife and I undertook a whole-house renovation of our 1909 Victorian a few years ago, we’re already thinking about our next project. We love our home and our neighborhood, but a house with 10-foot ceilings on every level means a lot of stairs. Sure, we can traverse them easily now with no issues, but life can change in an instant, so we’re thinking about the future.

This crystallized last year when my wife had minor knee surgery. Suddenly, the climb to the second level seemed like summiting K2. Once she’d made it upstairs, she was forced to stay put for a while. A house on one level seemed quite

But I confess that avoiding flights of stairs wasn’t the only catalyst for our discussions. The prospect of an energy-efficient, high-performance, comfortable home really kick-started the dialogue. Our current house has energy-efficiency shortcomings, but it’s more comfortable than our previous home, a townhouse built in 1975 that was typical of many homes across the U.S.: too hot in summer and too cold in winter. Ours used an old heat pump that was practically useless in temperatures below 32° F. At least our current home has gas heating, marginally better insulation, and better windows.

Comfort and energy efficiency are important to us, so we want a house with high-performance features, such as well-insulated walls, a well-designed HVAC system, the right orientation on the site, high-performance windows, a heat pump water heater, etc. We value these features so much that we’re willing to sacrifice size and perhaps the level of some finishes to fit the budget. Custom builders, of course, don’t typically have to make such trade-offs. In fact, some just build these energy-efficient features into their work without fanfare—or at least they should.

In this issue of Custom Builder, we look at three homes (two in the magazine and one more in the digital edition) that take high performance and energy efficiency very seriously, but do it without sacrificing design, amenities, or craftsmanship. Two of the homes (one in New England, the other in Wyoming) are brand new from the ground up; the other is a whole-house remodel and addition, proving the point that even in a remodel, it’s possible to make an old house perform just as well as a new one.

Nigel F. Maynard

[email protected]

Monday, December 28, 2020 - 12:30

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