Q: Do Fresh Air Exchange and Indoor Air Quality go together?

A: The inside of a home or building is its own environment. Like an ecosystem it requires a holistic approach in trying to achieve optimum livability.

When tightening a home’s building envelope you can choke off the air exchanged throughout the building shell. If not careful you can contribute to the buildup of indoor air pollutants such as radon, dust mite feces and volatile organic you compounds (VOC’s).

We have studied under some terrific Building Scientists that have taught us to apply basic chemistry and a specific set of construction practices that make the indoor air quality a whole lot better as compared to a code built home. Scattered tactics that target a few isolated components like targeting low VOC products is good but does not achieve the overall goal and at times it is self-defeating.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has responded to consumer demand for healthier homes by developing a comprehensive Indoor airPlus label for new homes (of which we are pursuing).

Indoor airPlus focuses on seven categories: moisture control, radon mitigation, pest management, HVAC (heating/cooling) best practices with whole home ventililaton, proper combustion venting, specifying building materials with reduced chemical off-gassing potential and home commissioning. The approach is balanced between proper ventilation and source control.

Some might say they are a green building because the use a green carpet. What about the pad? If you use a pad that off gases that green carpet doesn’t do much good. This is a simple example of the need to think it a little more carefully before making decisions.

What we enjoy most about building High Performing Green Homes is that it really does make a difference in how people live.

Some experts claim that 20% of the population has higher-than-average chemical or allergen sensitivities. Shouldn’t we be building with the thought in mind to help those with these conditions?

We think so.

Come visit us and learn.

Build well and enjoy life.

Please submit questions to jon@quailhomes.com Jon can be reached direct at 360.907.5800. Tune into Green Building with Jon Girod on 1550 a.m. on Saturdays at 9 am. See you next week!