Ventilation is an important topic is the world of energy-efficient homebuilding. With the increase in green building techniques and tighter building envelopes comes an increased need for proper building ventilation.
New buildings that are airtight have lower energy bills – and can have poor indoor air quality.
Why the increase in air quality problems? Older homes weren’t built as tightly as today’s standards, were ventilated by uncontrolled air leakage and had little or no insulation that was not manufactured with flame retardants and other additives. Tight building envelopes found in today’s construction require controlled mechanical ventilation to maintain optimal air quality.
Which type of ventilation is best? There are a number of factors that influence which system is appropriate including code requirements, the size of the building, combustion appliance type, and budget. Here are four common ventilation system options:
- Exhaust Only – uses a small exhaust fan placed in a kitchen or bathroom, which runs continuously or intermittently to exhaust stale air and moisture. These systems are inexpensive and easy to install.
- Supply Only – a fan brings in fresh air and stale air escapes through cracks and air-leakage sites in the home. These systems can include a filter to trap pollen and dust or a dehumidifier to control indoor humidity levels.
- Balanced – includes separate fans that drive both intake and exhaust airflow, providing a better ventilation system. Allows control of where fresh air comes from and where it is delivered. Typical systems are designed to ventilate living rooms and bedrooms where people spend most of their time.
- Balanced with Heat Recovery – like this balanced system, this system has an air-to-air heat exchanger so that the outgoing air will precondition the incoming air (an ideal system for colder climates).
Have questions about the proper ventilation system for a new construction home or commercial building? Contact us today.