LEED, Passive House and Pretty Good Houses- Designing Better Buildings


LEED, Passive House and Pretty Good Houses- Designing Better Buildings There are many green building guidelines, programs, standards and certifications available in the US and Canada.  The best green building approaches cover many elements of the building such as energy efficiency, water efficiency, resource efficiency, responsible site management, and improved indoor air quality.  Guidelines, programs, standards and certifications that only address one aspect of green building, such as energy efficiency can create success in one green building principle but issues in

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Why Choose a Complete HRV or ERV System?


Much evidence points to a range of common issues in purchasing just a Heat Recovery Ventilator or Energy Recovery Ventilator unit and then piecing unspecified ducting and distribution components together. It’s not uncommon for an HRV/ERV to be installed incorrectly with improper duct sizing and distribution components.  It’s important to choose a manufacturer that offers an HRV system design strategy- the unit, ducting and air distribution components.  Also, just as important is a commissioning process to ensure that the system is installed

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The Importance of Heat Recovery or Energy Recovery Ventilation in Energy-efficient Buildings


65% of the electricity consumption and 35% of total energy use in the United States is used in buildings.  Buildings also account for 30% of greenhouse gas emissions according to the U.S Green Building Council. Homes are making the shift toward more energy-efficient design and construction with greater energy efficiency awareness and building codes reducing energy consumption.  Many building standards and certifications programs have been developed to promote green building.  Some certifications and standards programs include LEED, Passive House, and Pretty Good House. One of

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Why Are Some HRVs / ERVs So Noisy?


Heat Recovery Ventilators (HRV) or Energy Recovery Ventilators (ERV) have been commonly used in Canada for years and have become increasingly common in high-performance homes in the US.  Though there is an increasing awareness of the importance of an HRV or ERV in an energy-efficient home, across the US and Canada we’ve heard complaints about the noise levels of the first generation HRV or ERV units.  Due to the noise level, often the HRV or ERV units are only used intermittently or turned

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Super-Efficient Homes vs Code-Built Homes


When building a new home, design and material selection greatly impact the operating costs for decades. Investing in triple-pane windows and doors, generous insulation, and air sealing can greatly reduce your heating and cooling costs, while also boosting comfort. Is it financially savvy to construct a super efficient home over a code-built home because of the reduction in operating costs? The simple answer is yes, but the more detailed answer is that it depends. Some energy efficient upgrades have a lot

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Zehnder Interview Series: John Rockwell, Technical Sales Engineer


John Rockwell, Technical Sales Engineer  Interviewer:  Could you introduce yourself, John? John Rockwell:   My name is John Rockwell, I am a Technical Sales Engineer and have been with Zehnder since January of 2014. Interviewer:  John, what do you like most about working with this type of product? John Rockwell: As a former customer of Zehnder and therefore having evaluated many other products, I really am both personally and professionally invested in the quality, efficiency and far better performance of the Zehnder ComfoAir system. Interviewer:  It sounds

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The Solar Decathlon Europe 2014


The Solar Decathlon Europe 2014 is an international academic architectural competition. To participate in the Solar Decathlon, universities and schools around the world compete to build a fully functional, full-scale house that uses only the sun as its source of power. This competition boasts 800 competitors from 16 countries in Europe who work to build 20 fully-sustainable houses. The Solar Decathlon Europe is based on the U.S. Solar Decathlon, which is hosted bi-annually by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Solar Decathlon Goals There’s

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Reducing Spring Allergies in an Energy-efficient Home


The arrival of spring for many of us signals a return to the garden and hiking trails. Unfortunately, for some, it also signals the return of seasonal allergy symptoms. Pollen counts are currently at medium to high levels in most of the United States. Tree pollens, such as birch, ash, maple, and oak, are especially prevalent now, becoming airborne and leaving a noticeable layer of pollen dust on cars and waterways. Humidity levels are also on the rise, boosting dust mite populations

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Ventilation IAQ


Spring has sprung and pollen is in the air! It’s during this time of year that we focus on allergies and asthma and the air in our homes. We start to open the windows to let the fresh air in, and we start to sneeze. With the increased focus on IAQ, ventilation becomes an important subject. We’d like to discuss the different methods of providing fresh air to our homes, and how these different methods can have different results.  There are three methods

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Effects of Indoor Humidity


One of the functions of an energy recovery ventilator (ERV) is to lower the humidity entering the home in a hot, humid climate. To understand the true benefits of indoor humidity control, it is important to understand humidity and the effects it has on the body. Research shows that indoor humidity can contribute to illnesses and health conditions such as allergies and respiratory infections. It’s important to have a strategy to maintain comfortable and healthy humidity levels. What Is Humidity? By definition, humidity is

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