Pretty Good House

Pretty Good House (PGH) is a building standard that provides general guidelines and best practices for balancing energy performance and costs of a home. One of the most important considerations is that building a Pretty Good House does not require certification, as opposed to certain standards like Passive House or LEED. However, the concept adds challenges to the designing and building process that traditional builders do not face. The standards for a Pretty Good House are more rigorous and “set a higher bar” for the quality, performance, and sustainability of the building.

Pretty Good House Basics

The Pretty Good House standard is multi-faceted. Builders should keep in mind that buildings meeting this standard are more involved than the average code-minimum building. When qualifying for a Pretty Good House, home owners and builders are provided with a set of guidelines that cover several aspects of the home. These guidelines are not strict, but should be kept closely in mind during the design and building process.

PGH Design

When the final goal is a Pretty Good House, it’s important for home owners and builders to start with the initial design of the building. With a thorough and well-reviewed design, builders can be certain that their building will perform optimally. Thorough planning can also help to minimize unwanted or inconvenient “surprises” that may surface during the construction phase.

Guidelines for Pretty Good Houses

Pretty Good House guidelines discuss issues such as foundation, insulation, HVAC or other cooling and heating systems, water management systems, ventilation, and the like. These guidelines can be adopted and implemented as individuals see fit. The Pretty Good House standard is optimized for buildings in different regions. This way, homes can be built according to the demands of their respective climate.

Pretty Good House guidelines typically cover best practices for elements like:

  • Design
  • Foundations
  • Building envelope
  • Material finishes
  • Performance
  • Mechanical systems
  • Windows
  • General guidelines
  • Site considerations

Pretty Good House Ventilation

An important factor for a Pretty Good House is the building’s ventilation. In order to be optimally energy-efficient, a building must have a mechanical ventilation system that uses little energy to maintain a comfortable, habitable indoor climate. Systems such as energy recovery ventilators (ERVs) and heat recovery ventilators (HRVs) are optimal for use in Pretty Good Houses. These systems essentially recycle energy that is then converted into warm and cool air, which in turn meets Pretty Good House standards for climate control, energy efficiency, and ventilation.