“a rotary phone is to codes compliant building as a smart phone is to a high performance building”
Buildings are complicated, perhaps the most complicated and expensive machines you will ever control. There are many details that need to be considered in a building beyond aesthetic considerations. The knowledge of building science principles has evolved over the last ten years as have the evolution of building materials. You cannot rely on past solutions to continue to work with the materials and systems that are used today.
If you have the opportunity to make decisions about how a building will perform before it is built, take care to do it right. There are many paths to get a building built. You can rely on “because that is the way we always do it” as your source of decisions. Or you can base your decisions on the latest understanding of building science.
Look for an architect that has a proven record of successful high performance building solutions. A basic check of third-party certified “green” projects (LEED, EarthCraft, and Energy Star) for example.