New and Notable

January 02, 2013
January/February 2013
A version of this article appears in the January/February 2013 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
Click here to read more articles about New and Notable

New LBNL Online Resource: Build Tight, Ventilate Right

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) is now offering a new online resource aimed at improving ventilation in existing homes in California. This web site provides information on California’s ventilation requirements, ASHRAE Standard 62.2, as well as printable documents to help with ventilation training and equipment. All of this work was done under RESAVE, a California Energy Commission Public Interest Energy Research program. The overall goal of this LBNL program is to facilitate the reduction of energy and peak power spent in homes to condition air that enters from outdoors. Infiltration—the uncontrolled exchange of air through leaks and penetrations—typically accounts for over one-third of total space-conditioning energy. New homes generally spend the same fraction of energy on mechanical ventilation. This program aims to reduce ventilation- and infiltration-related peak load and energy costs by 25–50%.

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Learn more about ventilation and get more information about RESAVE at

The LBNL program will provide important research and technical tools to advance the strategy of Build Tight, Ventilate Right. This strategy combines high-quality building construction (low leakage, low-e materials, etc.) with optimized ventilation systems to maximize energy efficiency while maintaining acceptable indoor air quality. The program will develop new technologies and recommendations for improvements to existing technologies. The involvement of industrial partners in the program will ensure that these technological developments find their way into California homes. The program will leverage best practices and leading-edge building and ventilation technologies from the United States, Japan, and Europe. One goal will be the optimization of hybrid, passive, and active ventilation systems to facilitate their adoption in California homes. In addition to developing new technologies, the LBNL program will make recommendations for changes to the California State Energy Code for buildings (Title 24) and will provide the diagnostic and commissioning tools necessary to ensure code compliance. These tools will also help to transform the market by demonstrating the performance and value of good ventilation systems to consumers, contractors, building managers, and other potential decision makers and beneficiaries.

Healthy House Institute Offers Free Downloads

The Healthy House Institute wants to ensure that everyone's home is a clean, safe place, not just a habitation. With that in mind, the institute is making available four of its popular books as free downloads on its web site. These books provide a strong foundation for making home a safe, clean, sustainable place.

The following Healthy House Institute books are available for download:

  • Creating a Healthy Household: The Ultimate Guide for Healthier, Safer, Less-Toxic Living
  • Healthy House Answer Book: Answers to the 133 Most Commonly Asked Questions
  • Healthy House: How to Buy One, How to Build One, How to Cure a Sick One
  • Healthy House Building: A Design & Construction Guide

Many homes today harbor hidden dangers and problems: dust, mold, allergens, bad air, bad water, and wasted energy. The Healthy House Institute offers solutions for identifying and reducing these dangers. Home allergens and poor indoor air quality are two of the biggest problems, particularly in fall and winter, when air becomes trapped within the home. Tainted water is another serious concern, and the institute offers suggestions for treating and filtering drinking water that is laden with minerals or other contaminants.

As part of its mission, the Healthy House Institute promotes green living and sustainable energy practices. These practices include installing energy-efficient windows, doors, insulation, lighting, and appliances.

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For more information on the Healthy House Institute and to download free books, go to

“People spend 65% of their time in their homes,” says Healthy House Institute President Allen P. Rathey. “The health and safety of indoor environments, especially homes, cannot be overstated. Our vision of a healthy home is one that positively impacts every facet of society, including public health to environmental stewardship. From new-home construction to remodeling and restoration, the Healthy House Institute provides resources and guidance for each stage in a home's life cycle.”

Indow Windows: A New Alternative

Up to 30% of energy is wasted leaking out of a house. A good portion of these leaks are found in unsealed doors and windows. One quick, inexpensive fix is to caulk around the doors and windows. Replacing leaky windows is another option, but replacing each window can be expensive. A new alternative is to install Indow Windows. These custom-made inserts snap inside the window frame, creating a tight seal against cold winter drafts. In combination with the existing windows, they provide insulation and energy savings comparable to double-pane or triple-pane windows—at a fraction of the cost.

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For more information on Indow Windows, visit

According to independent testing conducted by Portland State University’s Green Building Research Lab, Indow Windows can provide an R-value of 1.87, which is equivalent to 94% of a standard double-pane window. See the table above for more performance comparisons. The company sells Indow Windows primarily through home performance contractors and is currently adding dealers throughout the United States as part of its national expansion.

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