Most home buyers want to think of their home as a refuge—the ultimate safe space. Unfortunately, the safety inside our walls is too often compromised by a threat we can’t see: poor indoor air quality.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a growing number of scientific studies are finding that the air in our homes, offices, and other buildings can be significantly more polluted than outdoor air, even in large cities. Given that most people spend 90 percent of their time indoors, offering customers a healthier home through high-quality indoor air can be a powerful motivation to buy a new home.
While the tight building envelopes found in today’s high-performance homes and buildings offer enormous potential for improved indoor air quality, comfort, and energy efficiency, if not properly accommodated for, a tight envelope can adversely affect air quality—which can have serious implications on residents’ health.
According to Merietta, Ga.-based UL Environment, Inc.—an environmental services consulting firm specializing in building materials—side effects from poor indoor air quality range from problems such as odor complaints to issues as serious as the development of asthma due to mold. In extreme cases, radon accumulation can contribute to cancer, and carbon monoxide exposure due to tight building envelopes and multiple combustion appliances can lead to death.
Fortunately, there are proven steps builders can take to ensure their high-performance homes offer superior indoor air quality—providing an amenity with the power to move prospective buyers off the fence and into a new, healthier home.
Note: This is Part 1 of a three-part series on indoor air quality. Next week, look for posts on steps you can take to improve indoor air quality in residential and commercial buildings.