An airtight home is the healthiest home. Building your new home airtight is the key part in building the most comfortable home you have ever experienced. The less air leakage through the home, the more durable the home. And an airtight home is the foundation of an efficient home.
Since air pollution comes from both indoor and outdoor sources;
Step 1 is to seal up the home to prevent outdoor pollutants such as dust, pollen, and odors from entering.
Step 2 is to bring in the correct amount of fresh, clean air of the proper humidity.
While at first blush it appears an airtight home would trap any pollutants inside, we also ventilate properly. What this means is that we bring in a controlled amount of fresh, filtered air; while exhausting the stale, polluted air. We accomplish this using either an Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV), or a Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV). We don’t rely on “natural” air leakage to provide enough fresh air for building occupants. That is simply wishful thinking. On a calm day, modern homes do not change adequate volumes of air to provide occupant health. On a blustery day, they may leak too much air. And “natural” air leakage is unfiltered, unconditioned, and likely contains too much or too little humidity.
Step 3 is to regulate humidity.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends keeping interior humidity below 50% to eliminate the possibility of mold growth. Most mold species require 70% or higher relative humidity levels to grow.
Conversely, when the humidity levels are too low; viruses flourish. Commenting on recent research, WebMD reports: “By raising indoor relative humidity levels to 43 percent or above, investigators reported that they were able to quickly render 86 percent of airborne virus particles powerless.” As most homes experience dry air in the winter months, is it any wonder that the winter is also when cold and flu symptoms are at their peak?
Humidity control strategies will differ for every home, climate, and family. This site goes in depth describing problems and solutions with high and low humidity.
The bottom line is this: Humidity can be controlled much more readily when uncontrolled air is not freely moving in and out of the home. In fact, you will find that the air in your new home remains comfortable all year around: not so dry in the winter that you have itchy skin, and not so moist in the summer that you feel clammy.
Step 4 is to filter the air.
All of our homes are filtered to at least MERV 13, which can filter out most mold spores, bacteria, and smoke. Optional filtration up to MERV 16 is available. That is as pure as a hospital surgical room!
The health benefits of an airtight, well ventilated home are significant, and undisputed. Whether certified as a Healthy House by the American Lung Association or simply well planned, building with R-Value will offer the highest levels of indoor air quality. It could change your life!