Indoor Air Quality
Depending on where you live and the condition of your home, your indoor air may be four to ten times more polluted than the air outside. Indoor air pollution is caused by anything that releases gas or particles inside your home, and it can have lasting health effects on you and your family.
Air leaks used to allow enough outside air into a home to dilute indoor pollutants, but they also wasted energy and left a home feeling drafty. Energy efficient homes eliminate those leaks and provide healthy indoor air quality (IAQ) through controlled air exchange.
Causes of Indoor Air Pollution
Indoor air quality (IAQ) is affected by building and finish materials, appliances, and the daily activities of family members, guests, and pets. Building materials like caulk and adhesives, wallboard, concrete, and structural components that contain glue emit gases and moisture for about a year as they cure. Finish materials like paint, cabinetry lacquers, carpets and other textiles can emit volatile organic compounds.
Home heating systems, cook tops, ovens, clothes dryers, and water heaters that use natural gas, propane, or oil can produce poisonous gases. Indoor pollution can also be caused by failing to cover HVAC vents when craftsmen are installing drywall, cabinets and trim. After you move in, using aerosol products, cooking, and other daily activities contribute to poor indoor air quality.
Building for Healthy IAQ
Stitt Energy Systems ensures healthy IAQ in our homes in two ways. First, we prevent and manage sources of indoor pollution during the building process. Second, we install a combination of natural and mechanical ventilation systems for everyday living after you move in. We manage moisture and gases by encasing foundation cement in insulated concrete forms (ICFs) and installing drainage tiles around it to provide adequate drainage and mitigate potential radon gas buildup. Managing moisture prevents mold. By engineering strong foundations, we prevent cracks through which radon may leak. To keep ductwork clean, we cover vents and delay HVAC operation until after finish work is complete. We also recommend sealed combustion appliances.
Build Tight - Ventilate Right
After you move in, opening windows and skylights often provides enough ventilation to refresh inside air during moderate weather. We design for operable windows and skylights to allow this passive, flow through ventilation in temperate climates. To remove moisture from materials as they cure during the first year and to remove excess moisture from cooking and bathing, we install energy or heat recovery ventilators (ERV/HRVs). These mechanical systems remove moisture and indoor air pollution providing fresh air when natural ventilation is impractical.
ERVs and HRVs work by exhausting stale indoor air while drawing in an equal amount of fresh outside air. They are energy efficient because they exchange the heat and can adjust the humidity of the incoming air with the outgoing air. We take care to space fresh-air intakes and exhaust vents far enough apart to prevent polluted exhaust air from being drawn back into the house through fresh air intakes. For additional air cleaning, we recommend adding HEPA filters into your ventilation systems.