There seems to be a belief that once we enter our homes, we’re safe from the exterior ambient air associated with a highly polluted, smoky city.
What if we were to tell you that the air inside our homes can be substantially worse?
Truth be told, what we breathe within our homes is often a terrible mixture of pollutants, stale air, poor ventilation and air leakages. No wonder that, according to Johns Hopkins, more than 50 million people in the United States are affected by allergies, including 8% of adults and 10% of children are affected by respiratory allergies.
If only there was a way to prevent this. Enter Passive House design, a building standard that is energy-efficient, cost-effective, and comfort-driven.
What Does Passive House Have To Do With Achieving Better Air Quality?
One of the key design components of any Passive House is that the entire structure is extremely airtight throughout, with ample insulation and triple-paned windows, all of which prevents outside air from entering the home.
That certainly keeps warm air in, but what does that mean for ensuring there’s filtered, fresh air flowing throughout the home? Since it’s vital to address that too, let’s discover how Passive House design can improve the air quality in your home.
As we design an energy-efficient townhome that’s airtight, we simultaneously have to design for a living space that consistently invites fresh, filtered air to flow. In doing so, no more than a few hours will pass before the air is “turned over,” preventing it from becoming stale and unhealthy to breathe.
By eliminating air leaks in a property, we can prevent pollen, allergens and other toxins from further entering the property and contaminating its interior air. So first, we need to identify where those air leaks are occurring, including the exterior walls, floors, ceilings, doors and windows.
In addition to potential air leaks, if we experience any chemical smells that may have triggered all types of reactions in your family such as sneezing, coughing, headaches or fatigue, it can point us toward oil-based paints used on your walls, stained wood or one of the biggest culprits of indoor air pollution – formaldehyde, which is commonly found in plywood and particle board. These materials can release fumes into the air, which, if trapped indoors, can lead to mold growth.
Next, we’ll install a ventilation system that circulates fresh, filtered air into the home, expelling any stale air or fumes in the process. Heat recovery ventilation, or HRV, is a type of system that tackles the challenge of toxic chemicals head on by running continuously, facilitating the regular turnover of potentially harmful air to toxin-free air.
What you’re left with is not only fresh air but the kind of consistent temperature that makes a Passive House so remarkably comfortable from room to room. Do you ever notice how some rooms of a traditional home can be very cold while others can be quite warm? This imbalance of temperature is virtually eliminated when an airtight structure combines with a superior fresh air exchanger.
Don’t you deserve to breathe this way 24/7? We certainly think so.
It’s hard for a home to be a true sanctuary when the quality of the indoor air is impacting your well-being.
That’s why Brace has a program that brings together all the elements of a beautifully renovated townhome under Passive House guidelines while utilizing materials and techniques that minimize air leaks.
There’s one more reason to breathe easy with the air ventilation systems we use in Passive House designed homes: Eliminating air leaks can significantly reduce your energy costs.
Energy Star®, a program sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy, states that air leaks account for 20% to 40% of energy costs in heating and cooling buildings. So, with a well-ventilated Passive House, you can recover the energy and humidity content of the air expelled, contributing to energy savings and keeping the home’s relative humidity constant throughout the year.
At Brace, we believe that preserving the very best air quality by design – Passive House design – plays its own special role in transforming a home into the most comfortable, healthiest place it can possibly be. Ready to discover how our higher standard of design can apply to your own home? Let’s talk more at 212.457.9796.