Joseph Lstiburek’s Concern About Indoor Air Quality

Builders, architects, and engineers are seeking ways to create smarter homes that use less energy, have greater comfort, and are more durable. Now more than ever, many new homes have innovative wall systems that prevent thermal bridging, air barriers that solve condensation issues in walls, and are air sealed to stop drafts. High levels of indoor air pollutants, mold, and pollen can erode the health of homeowners. To truly build smarter homes, high indoor air quality is essential.

Joseph Lstiburek, a widely respected expert on indoor air quality and building moisture control, is concerned about airborne pollutants compromising health. He explores the residential air quality issues created with both exhaust-only and supply-only ventilation systems in tight homes in his recent article, “BSI-012: Balancing Act – Exhaust-Only Ventilation Does Not Work.” Such systems result in negative or positive air pressure within the home, which means that contaminants are pulled in from attached garages, from under building slabs, or from neighboring units (in multi-unit buildings), or are pushed out into adjacent units.

Balanced ventilation systems, in contrast, avoid creating positive or negative pressure. Lstiburek presents seven examples of incorporating balanced ventilation systems into a project, which avoids the air quality concerns raised with supply- or exhaust-only ventilation.

The indoor air quality issues presented by Lstiburek touch on why Zehnder America heat recovery ventilators and energy recovery ventilators can create such effective balanced ventilation strategies that promote indoor air quality. In fact, five of the seven mechanical ventilation solutions recommended in the article involve using heat recovery or energy recovery ventilators to remove toxins from the home and supply fresh, filtered air.

The issues and solutions raised by Lstiburek are very important to us at Zehnder America because we are dedicated to promoting indoor air quality with our balanced ventilation solutions. Our high-quality heat recovery ventilators can help mitigate or solve many of the ventilation and indoor air quality issues that are plaguing many homes across North America.

Our systems do not create negative or positive pressure within the home because they supply and exhaust equal amounts of air. Zehnder heat recovery ventilators also provide continuous ventilation, thus promoting indoor air quality 24 hours a day.

Lstiburek’s article is a helpful resource for builders and architects who are looking for balanced ventilation strategies in homes with furnaces, air conditioners, dehumidifiers, packaged terminal heat pumps, and radiant heat. He provides diagrams showing how these systems can be incorporated with heat recovery ventilators.