With prevalent air quality issues and an aging society, there is a general increase in the incidence of respiratory problems. The air quality inside homes can aggravate and even cause these problems. High performance home heating, ventilating and cooling systems help control indoor moisture, particulates and toxins. Additionally, conditioned “make up” air compensates for the use of bathroom vents, range hoods and even clothes dryers. Incorporating natural ventilation solutions in designs can also improve air quality although the effectiveness varies by region and location.
Low VOC materials can sometimes be more expensive than their less healthy counterparts. Modifications to HVAC systems can result in minor renovations or patching required to adjacent spaces.
During new home construction and renovations, look for materials designed to be low VOC and try to use these when possible. When considering natural ventilation, the USGBC LEED system includes resources for studying the effectiveness by climate zone.