A builder provides value to his or her clients in many ways – some obvious and others not so obvious. For example, floor joist installed on closer centers with thicker subfloor for a less bouncy floor is not as obvious as, say, a shiny set of high-end kitchen appliances.
Another less obvious feature that many builders are integrating into their projects are ways to improve comfort and indoor air quality using improved mechanical ventilation.
Today, with super energy efficient, draft-free construction, off-gassing of building products, which were formerly diluted by natural drafts, are now the source of poor indoor air quality that can lead to health problems. Many of these problems can be avoided by using products and building materials – ranging from lumber to finish flooring – that contain a low level of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Being sensitive to VOCs and other potential health-irritating compounds such as formaldehyde is the first step in creating an environment that will keep your customer happy and healthy. However, even when using the “healthiest” in building products, there is no substitute for a quality mechanical ventilation system.
In the old days, a ventilation system consisted of a noisy bath fan and maybe a vent fan in the kitchen ceiling that was designed to remove smoke and kitchen odors.
Boy have times changed! Thanks to upgrades to the building code and significant improvements in ventilation products, indoor air quality can now be better than ever – in spite of the energy-conscious tight homes that we are turning out.
When designing and building your next project, consider doing more than just meeting “minimum code” as regards ventilation. In contrast to the examples presented earlier, ventilation is a feature that is both obvious and not so obvious.
Having a quiet exhaust fan in a bathroom or laundry is obvious to anyone who has ever suffered from a thrashing exhaust fan that wreaks havoc. Less obvious are the health benefits associated with the improved indoor air quality produced by a more efficient, yet quieter fan.
Other ventilation solutions such as fans that introduce fresh outdoor air and fans equipped with motion and/or humidity sensors are excellent ways to ensure that the steam-filled bathroom created by your customer’s teenager will be steam free forevermore – without the need for them to flip a switch, which they never do.
Improve your customer’s indoor air quality. They will literally breathe easier and you will be a hero.