Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Indoor Air Quality

In an effort to reduce energy demands and increase comfort, modern construction techniques seek to isolate the interior of a home from the outdoor environment. This has resulted in increased insulation levels and reduced air leakage through the building shell. This tightening of the structure can potentially trap indoor pollution that has hence coined the term, Sick Building Syndrome or SBS.

EPA Indoor AirPLUS
Indoor pollution sources that release gases or particles into the air are the primary cause of air quality problems in homes. Inadequate ventilation can increase indoor pollutant levels by not removing polluted air or by failing to introduce enough fresh air to dilute emissions from indoor sources.

Prior to the advent of air-conditioning, occupants opened windows and doors for ventilation. Even after AC became a standard option, most homes were poorly insulated and "leaky". As energy costs have risen in recent years, increased insulation and tighter construction techniques have changed the rules as they apply to the building shell and mechanical systems. Modern homes need a controlled mechanical ventilation system and in many cases should also include an independent source of dehumidification. Standard air-conditioning systems will likely not be adequate.

A healthy home provides immediate benefits to its occupants that may not be recognized or appreciated until after living with them for a little while. Fewer colds and allergies are the most common effect, but increased energy and sense of well-being have also been shown as beneficial side-effects of a healthy environment.