5. MEASURE AND MANAGE WASTE
Finally, this building season add a waste audit to your building process. Pick one or two homes and ensure all waste from those sites is collected, sorted, and measured. A comprehensive audit would include comparing original material purchase orders against actual product use and waste generated. But in its simplest form, a waste audit allows site supervisors and trade contractors to identify opportunities for reuse, reduction, and recycling. This very green activity is, of course, a good chance to identify cost-saving opportunities both by more effective use of materials and reducing waste-removal costs.
These five tune-up items will prompt improvements in the health, safety, comfort, durability, and energy efficiency of homes, but they also present opportunities for cost savings. Over time and with experience it may be practical to do random testing or inspections of at least some of these items within a comprehensive quality assurance program.
The key: Challenge yourself and your business partners to include objective measures of performance within your building process. One of the most important lessons I learned in engineering school ages ago is that if you measure it, it will improve. A path of continual improvement on the order of 15% to 20% on key performance measures such as air tightness, duct leakage, and waste reduction each year is a worthwhile goal for every high-performance builder.