When it comes to building new homes, three major factors go a long way to helping builders achieve a healthy indoor environment and resiliency: Protecting against moisture, reducing pollutants and encouraging good occupant behavior. On their own, these practices are simple. The challenge is to incorporate all three practices into your comprehensive building strategy.
Strategy 1: Protect against moisture by following the “Four Ds”
The top enemy of resiliency in homes is moisture. Builders can focus on these tactics, the “Four Ds,” to alleviate moisture and help ensure healthy homes:
- Deflecting moisture is crucial. Consider integrating roof overhangs, gutters and downspouts, as well as proper flashing around doors and windows. This requires careful planning around today’s complex roof designs.
- Drainage is essential and includes proper grading of the earth around the home, using drainage mats/products against foundations and building drainage planes into the wall systems.
- Drying comes into play in the building process and involves choosing products and processes that allow for buildings to dry themselves out.
- Building with durable products allows builders to keep homes moisture resistant. Builders should work with their HVAC contractor to ensure the home has adequate ventilation.
Strategy 2: Build tight homes to reduce pollutants
Pollutants can threaten the health and resiliency of homes and include moisture, carbon monoxide, pesticides, dirt and dander, dust mites, pollen and bugs. Pollutants show up in homes in three ways:
- Installed furnishings, such as cabinets and carpets
- Occupant behavior, such as smoking, turning off ventilation systems or not exhausting while cooking
- Leakage from the outdoors, such as pests, fire smoke, exterior moisture or traffic exhaust
Building tight homes with balanced ventilation is essential for keeping pollutants out.
Strategy 3: Integrate automated systems to control air quality
To ensure resiliency and healthy indoor air, builders should integrate systems that can run in the background and require minimal interaction from homebuyers.
Energy Trust of Oregon’s EPS New Construction offering connects builders with verifiers who can help build a healthy home with incentives to help offset the costs.