Green home building trends: The greener your home, the more it needs ventilation.
Newer homes aren’t as drafty as older ones, but that also means they may trap unwanted moisture and pollutants. Owners of homes built after 1995 are finding that ventilation can improve the home’s air quality, but they can also decrease efficiency. Heat recovery ventilators allow tightly insulated homes to keep fresh air moving without losing the warm or cool air inside.
Tight Homes Save Energy, But Trap Pollutants
The tighter the home, the less airflow you have. It’s a natural drawback to energy efficiency. It may seem counter intuitive to spend all that money insulating your home only to find out you need to spend more to ventilate it, but the benefits outweigh the costs.
When building a greener, airtight home, ventilation is a must. This is especially true in moist environments like Seattle. Of course, the level of moisture and pollutants can depend heavily on the weather. Windy days move air through even a tight home, helping to ventilate. But we can’t count on windy days for fresh air. Tight homes need ventilation.
Ventilation Options for Green Homes
You have options for the type of ventilation you choose. You may decide on exhaust only, central-fan-integrated, heat recovery or energy recovery ventilation. For many homes, exhaust only can be a good choice. It’s affordable and adequate for homes that are well insulated, but not airtight. But, if you’re going as green as you can get, then your home is airtight and has special requirements.
With exhaust only and central-fan-integrated systems, you exhaust stale air. When you send the stale air out, suction naturally pulls outside air into the home wherever it can enter. This can cause problems because you have less control over the source of air coming into the home. That’s why many green builders choose heat or energy recovery ventilation systems instead. This way, they can control the source and quality of the fresh air entering the home when stale air is ventilated.
But bringing in fresh air causes energy inefficiencies. That’s why many green builders decide on recovery ventilation. These systems exhaust and draw fresh air, but retain up to 85percent of the warmth or cold from exhausted air, saving energy. Filters in the systems clean the air before it enters the home. In humid climates like Seattle, an energy recovery system is recommended to remove moisture from the incoming fresh air.
The Healthy Climate Energy Recovery Ventilator is an excellent example of the ideal ventilation system for a green Seattle home. The unit dehumidifies fresh and clean air before bringing it into the home. Stale air is exhausted through the unit as well.
Ask MM Comfort Systems about heat and energy recovery systems to ventilate your green Seattle home.
MM Comfort Systems has been helping Seattle homeowners manage the area’s mild and moist climate for over 30 years. Call us at 425.533.9058, or use our online contact form to find out if energy recovery ventilation is the right solution for your green home.