Last week, we talked about the benefits of airtightness in modern home design. Airtight construction is one of the most powerful strategies in passive design, resulting in a custom home that maintains a comfortable environment while consuming very little energy.
The airtight trend is a profound improvement from conventional techniques, but as we pointed out last week, it also brings with it the need for whole-house ventilation. Which begs the question, “Are airtight homes stuffy?”
We’d like to set the record straight: proper design and construction results in airtight homes that aren’t stuffy at all! The key lies in finding a dedicated passive home builder who understands how to ensure comfort in an airtight home.
At Clarum Homes, there are three steps that we take to design and build modern airtight homes that maintain a comfortable, healthy indoor environment while reducing your utility costs and your impact on the planet.
Maintain comfort while protecting from moisture & contaminants.
In a passive home, super-insulation throughout the entire building envelope provides acoustic privacy, efficient energy consumption and profound comfort. Your utility bills are smaller, and because your HVAC load is lighter, your equipment lasts longer too.
As for air quality, high-performance insulation helps control moisture, protecting you from mold, mildew and contaminants. Because it’s made with non-toxic materials, it doesn’t introduce any of the chemical particulates and VOCs found in conventional building materials, either.
Facilitate climate control while keeping mildew and weather outdoors.
When the outer shell – or envelope – of your home is airtight, it can do its job most effectively: maintaining a comfortable indoor environment and facilitating climate control, while also dramatically improving (or eliminating the need for) other systems throughout your custom home.
To meet the Passive House standard, an airtight home must have an air exchange rate of 0.6 air changes per hour or less. You’ll need an experienced passive builder to achieve this remarkably stringent requirement. The rewards, however, are worth the effort.
Airtight construction is one of the single most effective strategies for boosting the performance of your passive home. It:
Ensure a constant supply of fresh, filtered air for clean, comfortable breathing.
The third and final ingredient to a fresh, airy home is whole-house ventilation. Equipped with mechanical ventilation, our passive homes continuously introduce fresh, highly-filtered air into your home, while exhausting stale air out of doors. Before exhausting the outgoing air, however, we use a heat recovery exchange to transfer heat from the old air to the new – so the temperature within your home remains constant from one room to another.
In so doing, our ventilation system replaces all the air throughout your home nine times every hour: doing its part to prevent the respiratory problems that can arise in homes without proper ventilation. An insulated, airtight envelope equipped whole-house ventilation… that’s the key to fresh air in your modern home.
To learn more about Clarum’s approach to building healthy, high performance and Passive homes, give us a call at 650.322.7069 or click here to download our modern home building guide.