Building Science

Built to Fargo Code

Our process meets the minimum standard set by the city building inspection department adjusted down for current code year exceptions removed from code, i.e. in 2021 IECC Fargo has adopted a foundation waterproof standard, and it is in process of enforcing it.

Built to Full 2021 IECC Code

This would include continuous insulation to exterior of envelope from basement floor to roof, and it would reduce energy consumption for HVAC by an additional 16%.

Built to ND Residential Code

Our process only requires foundation damp proofing, no radon control, no fresh air system exhaust and fresh air duct installation, and no continuous insulation. Red River Valley has a high mold risk.

High Performance Homes

Our homes are built to 200-year+ life with continuous envelope insulation, [rain screen exterior to stop moisture drive and sounds into living area]. They are also built to the minimum code requirement in Canada and Europe since 2000. In the MSP market, these home sell for 10–14% premium with an appraiser-led study for[...?]

Energy Movement Through Envelope

Heat, cold, humidity, rain water, ground moisture, and outside air pressure all impact inside conditions and rate of energy use to provide basic levels of comfort. Energy moves in all 6 directions (up, down, sideways (N, S, E, W)) simultaneously, and at a rate of speed dependent on the temperature differential of outside-to-inside temperature—it’s not just up!

Home Energy Rating System (HERS) | Comfort Choice Homes

HERS Rating Adds Value to Home

The Home Energy Rating System (HERS) 0–100 is nationally recognized by lenders, appraisers, and the secondary market such as Fannie Mae & Ginnie Mae loan packaged securities. Good is below 50, and Best is below 40. A 0 rating means net-zero [ome].

What are Healthy Living Conditions?

  1. It is best when the inside envelope’s MRT (mean radiant temperature) is less than 6ºF from air temperature; [Ex – ]air inside temperature at 70º F average inside envelope temperature is above 64º F in winter; in summer below 84º F with inside temp of 76º F
  2. When humidity is between 45RH and 55RH, it’s healthy with very low virus transmission
  3. Fresh air per occupant is above 20 cfm, and CO2 levels PPM below 800
  4. Exterior noise transmission level is very low to quiet (under 2 sones), e.g. no barking sounds, no overhead jet noise, no outside motor sounds
  5. Air filtration with minimum MERV 13 to MERV 15 filtration to capture volatile organic compounds (VOC), mold, and odors from cooking and inside activities


Comfort is based on the rate of radiant energy leaving your body.

Forced Air Heating and Cooling

This is the most basic mechanical system. It comes on 2–3 times an hour in winter with 4–5º F temperature swings every 20 minutes + fan noise + dust. Due to a high on/off cycle, typical life is 12–15 years.

Radiant Floor Heating

Hydronic fluid heats space from the floor-up with even temperatures during the main heating season. This requires 48 hours to switch from floor heat to cooling in the spring, and in the fall months overheating is common issue.

infrared images of ceiling panels | Comfort Choice Homes

Ceiling Radiant Heat & Cool

Panels hidden above the ceiling radiate warmth onto occupants with even temps within 1–2º F, 24–7. Ceiling panels in summer absorb body heat to cool the occupant with even temps within 1–2º F all of the time. This is 32% more efficient than forced air systems with 30–40-year system life versus forced air. 4 million new homes are projected in 2023 to be built with radiant ceiling heat and cool panels. This is powered by an air-source heat pump, [plus utility rebates].

Windows U-Value

The lowest U-value in your budget provides the most comfort. Double glaze windows in 0.26–0.30 U is common. The best option is triple glaze windows in 0.14–0.20 U (this is common) with lower numbers better.

High CRI Lighting

Above 90 CRI is preferred for the least eye strain and a low-energy, relaxed environment. Human Centric Lighting (HCL) in LED’s will color shift to mirror the Sun from morning to sunset. Studys show a 4–6% increase in wellness, comfort, and productivity.