Building a new custom home? Indoor air quality should be at the top of your mind. The average American spends 90% of their time indoors, and air contaminant levels inside the average new home are 2 to 5 times worse than the pollution levels outside. This may come as a surprise. You’re probably aware of the toxic contaminants like lead and asbestos that have made historical headlines and reshaped building codes. But did you know that new home construction presents its own list of contaminants and pollutants to worry about?
Unfortunately, most construction today is rife with chemicals and toxins that pollute our indoor air quality and negatively impact our short- and long-term health. Immediate effects of exposure to indoor pollutants include irritation of the eyes, nose and throat, headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), other health effects may show up either years after exposure has occurred or only after long or repeated periods of exposure. These effects, which include some respiratory diseases, heart disease and cancer, can be severely debilitating or fatal.
Fight for your right for indoor air quality
The good news is that you can take steps to ensure that your new home is healthy. High-performance home building practices create a pollutant-free indoor environment, and equipped with the knowledge and the right team, you can build a home with superior indoor air quality. If you’re building a new custom home and want to ensure a healthy indoor environment, you should be thinking high-performance from the start.
The following high-performance home building practices maximize the quality of indoor air, and protect the health of you and your family:
- Eliminate chemicals: Ensure that there is zero formaldehyde added to any of the building materials used during construction. Ask your designer and contractor to look at all of the blues, calks, paints, carpets and flooring that go into your new home. They should review the Green Guard rating to ensure you are getting the healthiest choice for each construction element.
- Control Moisture: Proper sealing and condensation control helps control moisture and prevent mold, keeping biological contaminants at bay and protecting your health.
- Circulate: Proper air ventilation not only creates extreme energy efficiencies in your home, it ensures that the air brought inside is free of pollens and particulates, and stale air never sits in your home. Proper ventilation helps control moisture, protects against CO build up, and reduces the exposure to off-gassed chemicals from traditional construction materials.
- State of the Art Equipment: There are a number of additional products, besides a high efficiency furnace that can be added to your HVAC to help in creating a healthy indoor environment. Dehumidifiers, humidifiers, air filters, air cleaners, air purifiers, fans, energy recovery ventilation system (ERV), and smart thermostat can help in monitoring humidity, assist in exhausting and changing the air in home, removing in air pollutants and maintaining balanced temperatures throughout the home.