One of the biggest misconceptions of an “airtight” building is the fact that you have to live in a closed box, you can’t open your windows, your house can’t “breathe” and you can’t live like a normal human being. However this is not the case.
Air-tight means unwanted air is not coming into your house, nor is it escaping. You don’t want cold air coming into your house when it’s below freezing, just as you wouldn’t want hot air coming in when it’s 95 degrees outside.
It takes energy to convert cold air into warm air and vice versa. This is why an air tight building using energy recovery ventilation is much more efficient. More on “energy recovery ventilation” in a moment (jump to video below).
Having a building that is airtight, does not mean that there is no air flow. It just means that the air flow is controlled for optimal air quality and economic efficiency.
When heated or cooled air escapes, you are wasting money and energy. When you keep the warm air inside and the cold air out, or vise-versa (during cooling season), you will have yourself an air-tight, energy efficient building.
What is an airtight building?
A well-insulated and constructed building envelope that prevents drafts and moisture from entering the building.
Benefits of an airtight building:
- Air is not escaping through unintended gaps, cracks or holes, which helps save money and energy.
- It takes a lot less time to heat/cool the building and helps keep the temperature consistent without using extra energy.
- Creates a healthier environment because the air entering the building is coming from a designated, clean location.
- An airtight building prevents moisture from collecting, eliminating the potential for mold growth.
What is ventilation?
Ventilation is the intentional introduction of air into a space. The purpose is to control indoor air quality by displacing stale or polluted indoor air with fresh or filtered air. If done correctly, the air that is introduced into the space will help achieve desired comfort levels for each individual.
Why infiltration is NOT ventilation:
- Improper insulation or older construction may leave unintentional gaps within the foundation allowing airflow.
- This airflow is uncontrolled and cannot provide fresh clean air and may bring in toxins (like mold) into the building, which can create health problems.
A house needs to breathe, efficiently. It won’t breathe properly with infiltration or if there’s air escaping. With an air-tight building and proper mechanical ventilation, your house will not only breathe, but it will be healthier for you and the building environment.
Why mechanical ventilation?
- You can choose your location of where the air is being taken from, this allows only the cleanest air to enter your house.
- Allows the circulation of air and exchanges old air inside the house with new clean air from outside
- Energy Recovery Ventilation is one of the best types of mechanical ventilation
What is Energy Recovery Ventilation?
Energy recovery ventilation is more than just mechanically replacing indoor air with outside air.
The beauty of this process is that the temperature of the air leaving or entering your building is used to assist your heating or cooling system in achieving the desired air temperature.
For example, cold outside air displaces the warmer inside air, but on it’s way through the ventilation device, the cold air is warmed by the outgoing heated air chamber.
This same principal can also work when the outside air is warmer than the inside air. Outgoing cooler air can cool incoming hotter air.
An environmentally responsive house, using energy recovery ventilation saves money and provides the best air quality experience all around.
The benefits of energy recovery ventilation:
- Conserves the stored energy (heat) of the “old air” and replaces it with fresh air from outside without needing to reheat it. In the warmer months the system helps keep the air inside cold, without needing to further cool it.
- Has various “capillaries” and interworking tubing to aid which air is brought into the structure to ensure quality air circulation
- Most efficient way to ventilate, without losing stored heat in the air
One of the most common misconceptions about an airtight building is not being able to open your windows. This is not the case, you still have the freedom to open and close your windows without relying on them for ventilation. However, once they are closed no air will escape in or out unintentionally. The best of both worlds!