Currently Reading

Building Science: How Tight Construction Improves Indoor Air Quality

Advertisement

Building Science: How Tight Construction Improves Indoor Air Quality

People spend nearly 90 percent of their time indoors, with the majority of that time spent in their homes, that's why builders need to pay close attention to indoor air quality


By Sam Rashkin, Chief Architect Building Technologies Office, U.S. Department of Energy August 14, 2015
air quality is affected by how tight a home's construction is
Historically, residential ventilation wasn’t considered a problem by builders or homeowners because it was largely believed that operable windows and high rates of enclosure leakage provided enough outside air in the home.
This article first appeared in the PB August 2015 issue of Pro Builder.

High-performance homes provide more affordable, comfortable, healthy, durable, and safe dwellings for all Americans, and that’s a good thing. Tight construction is one of the cornerstones of high-performance homes. But exceptionally tight homes also need good ventilation to create equally exceptional indoor air quality (IAQ). But it can’t be overstated that properly designed ventilation systems are dependent on the climate zone you build in. Without considering the specific conditions in which you’re working, you’ll end up installing a ventilation system that’s ineffective or, at worst, dangerous.

To understand the importance of good indoor air quality, consider that people spend nearly 90 percent of their time indoors, with the majority of that time spent in their homes. And since concentrations of many pollutants are, on average, two to five times greater indoors than in the outdoor air, ventilation is essential to maintaining good indoor air quality.

 

 

Historically, residential ventilation wasn’t considered a problem by builders or homeowners because it was largely believed that operable windows and high rates of enclosure leakage provided enough outside air in the home. That’s not a safe bet anymore. As homes become more airtight, research shows a need to improve methods for supplying fresh air to occupants. As building codes become more rigorous, it’s critical to address other system-based technical challenges for achieving energy efficiency, including water protection, comfort, and indoor air quality.

Resources can help improve IAQ in the homes you build. The Building America Solution Center consolidates resources on a full range of high-performance home topics including IAQ and ventilation to make these resources easier to access and use. The research results that come from our Building America program can be found under HVAC here.

Currently, strategies and solutions for whole-house and spot ventilation can be found in the Solution Center using a building component interface or with a checklist interface based on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Indoor airPLUS Program.

 

Related Stories

NAHB

2024 International Energy Conservation Code Will Use a New Development Process

NAHB Policy Briefing: New procedure for developing the 2024 IECC; construction job openings, hiring, and layoffs data

High-Performance Homes

Desert Comfort: Innovative Measures Against the Elements

The net-zero energy Desert Comfort Experience Home combines multiple solutions to protect the house from its extreme climate conditions

Education + Training

U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon Introduces Two New Workforce Development Programs

The U.S. Department of Energy plans to offer additional opportunities for professionals and students exploring careers in the net zero building sector

Advertisement
Advertisement

More in Category




Advertisement
Advertisement

Create an account

By creating an account, you agree to Pro Builder's terms of service and privacy policy.


Daily Feed Newsletter

Get Pro Builder in your inbox

Each day, Pro Builder's editors assemble the latest breaking industry news, hottest trends, and most relevant research, delivered to your inbox.

Save the stories you care about

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet lorem ipsum dolor sit amet lorem ipsum dolor sit amet.

The bookmark icon allows you to save any story to your account to read it later
Tap it once to save, and tap it again to unsave

It looks like you’re using an ad-blocker!

Pro Builder is an advertisting supported site and we noticed you have ad-blocking enabled in your browser. There are two ways you can keep reading:

Disable your ad-blocker
Disable now
Subscribe to Pro Builder
Subscribe
Already a member? Sign in
Become a Member

Subscribe to Pro Builder for unlimited access

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.