A version of this article appears in the March/April 2010 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
March 01, 2010
The mantra of responsible new home building has been make it tight and ventilate right. Works for existing homes too.
With the recent weatherization funding increase by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), there is an excellent opportunity to expand weatherization efforts to more houses and apartments. The ARRA provides over $5-billion for low-income household weatherization through existing community programs. It also funds weatherization through the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program for cities and counties across the United States. Part III, Section 1121 of the act allows up to $1,500 tax credit for homeowners to improve energy efficiency, including weatherization. Weatherization of older structures with the addition of ventilation will allow for increased energy efficiency and improved indoor air quality (IAQ) compared to weatherized structures without ventilation. Homes have become much more thermally efficient, but they’ve also retained more air contaminants inside, while water vapor from daily activities such as breathing, cooking, and bathing causes condensation on surfaces inside the walls, enabling mold to compromise the structure. However, with mechanical ventilation, thermally efficient houses can preserve their structural integrity and create a healthier environment for the inhabitants. Over the past 30 years, builders of new homes have taken this ventilation lesson to heart. They’ve been incorporating a variety of fresh-air intake devices, energy recovery devices, and ...
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