Avoid Spring Allergies


Spring is a great release for us humans after a long, hard winter. The bad news is it’s also a great release for allergens. The combination of warmer temperatures and increasing humidity that causes trees and plants to unfurl leaves, flowers, and catkins and all their pollen also lead to increase growth in two other major allergens: dust mites and mold. While pollen affects indoor air quality an outside allergen source and dust mite populations are typically generated inside the house,

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Why High End Homes Need To Think Ventilation First


Ventilation is part of a strategy to maintain a high-quality indoor living environment. Your high-end home should be adding to your quality of life, not increasing your chances of poor health. There are three elements to a good indoor air quality strategy: ventilate, eliminate and filtrate. A top quality ventilation unit, like a Zehnder HRV or ERV, can take care of two of the elements: ventilation and filtration. ‘Eliminate’ is up to you and your builder, but here are some suggestions: Specify pre-finished

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7 Strategies to Keep In Mind When Building a Green Home


Many homeowners are looking for ways to live more sustainably. Green homes provide a solution to many of environmental challenges by saving energy, reducing water consumption, and protecting human health. When properly constructed they can save money, enhance comfort, and promote health by avoiding exposure to toxins and contaminants. Here are some tips for building a green home: Select an Architect & Builder with Green Building Experience Many builders and architects have experience building green homes, including homes built to the LEED or

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How Absolute & Relative Humidity Affect Your House


Humidity is a big deal when it comes to a healthy indoor environment. Seasonal changes in humidity can be the cause of high or low indoor humidity levels. When indoor humidity is high, you can end up with health problems related to respiratory infections, asthma and allergies, and the house can have mold growth problems that can even lead to structural damage. When indoor humidity is low, you can end up with a different set of health problems related to increased

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Futuro Construction: Meeting the Demand for Indoor Air Quality With Zehnder Systems


Several years ago, the team at Futuro Construction was wondering why clients were choosing to build high-performance homes. Was the primary reason to protect the environment by saving energy and using non-toxic products? Did homeowners want durable homes that require little maintenance and have low energy bills, saving money over time? Were they seeking healthier homes with cleaner indoor air? We sat down with Matt Silva, Futuro Construction’s general manager, to discuss his findings. What began as market research for Silva turned out to

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The Heights: Canada’s Largest Passive House Project under Construction in Vancouver


The largest Passive House project in Canada is under construction in the East Hastings corridor of Vancouver Heights. The project is named The Heights and is a six-story mixed-use building that will feature retail space on the first level and 85 units of rental housing above. “A Passive House is special because it is a more comfortable building to live in than a typical building. It doesn’t have drafts, it has fresh air, it isn’t cold near the windows, and it

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Ohio Family Retrofits Home With a DIY Energy Recovery Ventilator


When the Crawfords moved into their new high-performance home in Prospect, Ohio, two years ago, the family of four was delighted to have more space and low energy bills. Their 2,900 square foot home had been meticulously air sealed and featured a geothermal system for heating and cooling. “My biggest regret with the home was that we didn’t install an ERV [energy recovery ventilator] system when the home was constructed,” explains Scott Crawford. “There was a lingering new home smell.” Despite using

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Mold & Dust Mites: How Your Basement Impacts Home Air Quality


Did you know that many of the indoor air quality issues in a home originate in the crawl space or basement? Unfortunately, basement air is frequently the most compromised air in the house, and contaminants commonly spread to the first floor. Many basements and crawl spaces have humidity issues that encourage mold and dust-mite population growth. Mold spores are most problematic when mold grows inside the home, creating allergens and irritants. Indoor air quality issues are common in both finished and

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Vancouver’s Zero-emission Targets Promote Energy Efficiency Solutions


Last year Vancouver became the first major city in North America to set the goal of zero carbon emissions by 2030. The target includes having all new buildings be emission-free by 2030. Ultra-energy-efficient new buildings will soon be common in Vancouver. In Vancouver, 56 percent of greenhouse gas emissions come from buildings. Space heating and hot water heating cause significant carbon emissions. “This plan is more than just about reducing our carbon pollution in Vancouver,” says Sadhu Johnston, Vancouver city manager. “This is

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Four Myths About Net-Zero Homes


Imagine living in a home with practically no energy bills, where all your energy is produced on-site. A net-zero building uses a renewable energy system to generate as much energy as it consumes annually. Most net-zero homes feature an ultra-energy-efficient envelope with generous amounts of insulation, meticulous air sealing, and a mechanical ventilation system. Many net-zero homes are built to the Passive House standard, a rigorous international standard for energy efficiency that is growing in popularity. There are many myths and misunderstandings about

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