Builders’ Circle Blog: It Is Official—Springfield Is Number One!

Jim Baker, B & G Drafting

How does it feel to be number one?

Springfield is number one, according to WIKI.  I found out accidentally when, with no special reason in mind, I Googled the question, “What city has the most varied weather?”  That’s right, Springfield, Missouri is listed as having the most varied weather in this country.  I really was not that surprised and probably neither are you.

The recently-completed HBA Habitat houses had many challenging issues.  The normal things being:  cost, small lot size, too many rooms and not enough square footage, and all the other budget stuff.  Did I mention cost?  Adding NAHB Green Verifying was the easy part.  Meeting ENERGY STAR’s requirement with A HERS rating below 85 took very little effort.  The most difficult part was building it in Springfield.

Building up North, or down South can be easier because Building Science has simpler answers in both those locations.  However, when you add really hot weather, to really cold  weather, then flip flop around every couple of days with humidity off the charts (in both directions), you have found a most challenging situation: Springfield.  When creating high energy-efficient and green homes, climate is where we start.  The map below shows that we are in zone 4:  mixed humid, with Springfield having only a narrow band of likewise friends across the country.  But our city wins, as we have that “unpredictable variety” of weather.

In years past we’ve built the same old way, occasionally trying something new, hoping it would work.  Science may have provided the answers, but national rating and verifying programs have moved proven techniques into the hands of builders who want to build the best houses possible.  Any builder can do it, but those with CGP Credentials  have the advantage.

It takes a team.  That is how to beat all the odds and build an efficient, affordable house in our climate zone.  The builder is the key player.  He must coordinate the owner, designer, subs, suppliers, schedules, costs, and weather.  As a Rater and Designer, I depend on the General Contractor’s lead.  After he has made the major choices on insulation, HVAC, framing techniques preferred…then, with the aid of computer energy analysis software, the correct balance of details can be determined.  The Habitat houses prove how this is done by using three different combinations of techniques.

An old commercial once said it’s not nice to fool Mother Nature, but with the help of technology we can now win over Mother Nature’s tricks.  Variety is the spice of life, especially in our central climate area, and as the word gets out, everyone may want to locate here where we have the best of all seasons.   And we’re all familiar with this statement:  “If you don’t like the weather in the Ozark Mountains today, just wait until tomorrow.”  Let’s be ready… because we’re #1!