The trend continues to make buildings more energy efficient, which I support 100%. All commercial building codes require these high performing buildings to ventilate. The problem is residential building codes, that rarely require mechanical ventilation. Mechanical ventilation typically uses the HVAC system or supplemental fan to bring in outdoor air. This is in contrast to natural ventilation that comes in through an open window, and infiltration that comes in through a closed window.
Although homes are being built more for greater energy efficiency, mechanical ventilation is only required in five states that I know of. These include Washington, Minnesota, California, Vermont and Maine.
My state of Illinois doesn’t require mechanical ventilation in homes. New efficient homes don’t have the means (other than opening windows), to air out the VOCs from new construction. Until mechanical ventilation gets adopted into building code, I will remain busy dealing with indoor air quality issues that are totally preventable.
Homes can be both energy efficient and well ventilated. I would like to see more homes installing mechanical ventilation, but I’m afraid that won’t happen until codes force people to have improved IAQ.
Does your state require residential mechanical ventilation? Have you seen similar problems in your area? Please make a comment on my blog!