Russian Masonry Stove Heats High-Performance Home


During the cold winter months, it is such a treat to sit in front of a warm fire. Fireplaces and wood stoves create a cozy, inviting setting. Unfortunately, many wood-burning appliances do not use wood efficiently and aren’t well suited for a high-performance house. When Chip Wick was envisioning his new home in Northport, Maine, he was inspired by using solar energy and locally-grown wood for power and heat. Russian Masonry Stove for Heat His new home features an innovative Russian masonry

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Multi-family Buildings and Ventilation


In most urban areas, developers, builders, architects, and investors are scrambling to keep up with the demand for multi-family dwellings. Many renters want to be closer to their jobs, shopping, and restaurants and to have attractive amenities, although this can come at a premium. Energy-efficient multi-family buildings are growing in popularity as a way to boost comfort, reduce operating costs, and satisfy stringent building codes. Multi-family Buildings & Ventilation Apartment and condominium buildings are being more tightly constructed than ever before. Although

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Is Classroom Air Quality Hindering Learning?


Many schools are looking to close the achievement gap and foster learning among all students. Although processed foods, socio-economic conditions, ADHD, and learning disabilities are common culprits, environmental factors are often overlooked. Is indoor air quality a missing ingredient in promoting learning? The average elementary-aged child spends 940 hours in school each year. Thus, the indoor environment schools are very important. In addition, the impact of indoor air quality is often more pronounced in children due to their smaller size and

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Home Run vs Trunk & Branch Duct Layouts: Which is Better?


Ductwork is a key component to a home ventilation system. While it is out of sight and out of mind once the building is finished, homeowner comfort and indoor air quality are dependent on it being properly designed, sized, and installed. Efficient and effective home ventilation systems require a significant amount of planning and designing, particularly in high-performance new construction. Good ductwork design and layout, whether it’s ‘trunk and branch’ or ‘home run’, includes an understanding of balanced air pressure, the

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Mold, Indoor Air Quality, and Your Health


If your home isn’t ventilated well, it can set up a veritable breeding ground for mold, leading to poor indoor air quality that can affect the health of your household. Mold is a key factor in breaking down organic matter such as fallen leaves and dead trees. That’s good for outdoors, but not your house. Molds reproduce via tiny, invisible ‘spores’ that float in the air. But for these spores to ‘bloom’, warm, moist conditions are required: an average temperature above 70°F

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Create a Sanctuary Room for Clean Home Air


Although air pollution is largely invisible to the naked eye, it is a top environmental threat. In many households, contaminated air is causing acute health conditions, including fatigue, sinus issues, and coughing. Clean air is important for everyone and is essential for healthy living. Many contaminants are only identifiable by an odor or else go completely undetected. Boosting the air quality of an entire home can be a daunting task, especially if you live in a large home or there is an

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Another Reason to Get an Energy Audit this Summer: Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)


Does your air conditioner kick into high gear in the summer? Is all that cool air staying inside or is it leaking out and pulling hot outdoor air in? A summer home energy audit is an excellent way to stay comfortable and identify issues with home energy efficiency. An energy audit is also an opportunity to boost indoor air quality since home energy performance and home air health are closely linked. Let’s explore some common home performance issues, the impact on

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Zehnder: Is My Home Too Tight?


The best way to ensure that a home is comfortable and healthy is to air-seal and insulate the home to a high standard and install a properly designed, continuous, high efficiency, whole-house ventilation system to help manage humidity, VOC and CO2 levels. A tight home and a whole-house ventilation system keeps your indoor environment healthy and saves energy. When you save energy, you save money. Humans Breathe, Should Your House? Ventilation standards like ASHRAE 62.2 are designed for the new construction of

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Meeting Demand for High-Performance Homes


High-performance, super-energy efficient homes are becoming more and more popular throughout North America. As the demand from your customers grows, is your team equipped to meet the challenge? According to the Department of Energy’s website, high-performance homes are… “Not just the wave of the future. They are here and now and will continue to grow in demand with home-buyers. As Americans are becoming increasingly informed buyers, the urgency for residential architects to communicate knowledgeably to consumers about high performance homes is also

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Why Commissioning Matters


Many homeowners are looking for ways to improve indoor health, promote home comfort, and avoid allergy and asthma triggers with clean indoor air. Zehnder heat recovery ventilators (HRVs) and energy recovery ventilators (ERVs) promote healthy home air by exhausting pollutants and excess moisture while supplying fresh, filtered air. Properly commissioning an HRV or ERV is essential for optimum system operation. In fact, improperly installed or commissioned ventilation systems are significantly less effective in improving home air quality. Imbalanced systems can decrease the efficiency of

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