A Home with Family Values

July/August 2002
A version of this article appears in the July/August 2002 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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July 01, 2002
Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Tuskegee University strike a balance between energy efficiency and affordability.
        Create a house that provides a healthy indoor environment fit to breathe in, that is energy efficient, and that a family with an annual income of $12,000 can afford. Responding to the growing concerns of U.S. scientists and health professionals, that was the goal of a team at Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s (ORNL) Buildings Technology Center and Tuskegee University’s College of Engineering,Architecture, and Physical Sciences.A growing number of children from low income families suffer from asthma (see “Asthma and Children”).Our team’s goal was to develop a prototypical house that balanced the sometimes competing values of indoor air quality (IAQ), affordability, and energy efficiency.         The major IAQ issues that our prototype is designed to address are excessive moisture, which causes mold and fungus to proliferate; dust mites and other allergens; volatile organic compounds (VOCs); and poor ventilation and combustion problems that reduce oxygen levels and increase levels of carbon monoxide (CO) and carbon dioxide (CO2).         We intended the house to be affordable for people earning close to minimum wage.We defined an ...

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