Residential ventilation is really a tricky topic. But if you’re looking for a practical, cost-effective, holistic solution, go somewhere else. This post offers none.
Hopefully I can dig into practical solutions in future posts, but I think it’s important to be clear about why we ventilate and what an “ideal” ventilation system might look like in a new, efficient home. My ideal system is similar for both single-family or multi-family (though practical issues can be very, very different).
Purpose of ventilation: Remove contaminants that can compromise health, comfort, productivity, durability, etc. I’m sure there are more rigorous definitions out there, but this will work for now. There are other ways to lower contaminant levels:
- Emitting fewer contaminants from materials and activities is obviously good. Do this.
- Actively filtering, adsorbing, or otherwise removing contaminants from indoor air can also be good. There’s talk about doing more of this, but I’m tabling it for this discussion. This may be something to keep an eye on down the road.
For most new residential buildings, mechanical ventilation is still be the primary means to remove contaminants. Or at least it’s the primary method that designers/developers need to plan for now.
If building a new, efficient home in Shangri-La, my ideal ventilation systems would look like this: Read more