Energy Efficiency Boosts Indoor Air Quality
At CEP, we interact with a lot of clients at their homes. A common idea we hear is that homes need to breathe. The sentiment is true! But really, it is the people, plants, and animals inside the home that need to breathe. Ideally, we don’t want them to just breathe, but to breathe clean, healthy air. Energy efficiency helps achieve that goal!
Seal tight, ventilate right.
“Seal tight, ventilate right” is the adage that leads to safe, healthy, efficient homes. It may seem counter-intuitive, but the tighter the home, the more ability you have to maximize indoor air quality.
When our homes are leaky, it means we pay extra money every month for the heat that is lost. You have likely experienced this when the furnace shuts off and you can feel the heat quickly dissipates from your house. You may not always see them, but much of that heat loss is due to the leakiness of our homes. In a typical home, those small holes can add up to the equivalent of two basketball sized holes!*
Now think about what can get inside the house via those same holes. With two basketballs worth of gaps and cracks, it means you have very little control over what gets in or what heat gets out. If your house is near a busy road, all the exhaust from the cars and trucks that drive nearby can seep in. With no control of the air flow, you don’t get to choose what gets in. That is why sealing your home tightly is an important component of ensuring healthy indoor air.
* Average for 1950’s 1,100 sq. ft. home. Chan, Wanyu R, et al. “Analysis of U.S. Residential Air Leakage Database.” LBNL Report Number 53367, July 2003, http://www.inive.org/members_area/medias/pdf/Inive\LBL\LBNL-53367.pdf.