Brunswick Plantation & Golf Resort is proud to be an Energy Star partner in our new Lakes, Town Homes II at Smithfield, and NEW Commons II homes. While these homes will save you energy and money everyday, they also have the added benefits of durability and being more healthy home through better indoor air quality…the topic of today’s post.
One of the keys of the Energy Star home design is a tight building envelope. This not only reduces heat loss and gain but also keeps unfiltered air from leaking in from the outdoors through walls, ceilings, and floors. Unfiltered air can be ridden with various particles and pollutants from the outdoor environment and from within the walls/ceilings of homes that can be problematic for people with allergies, asthma, or other respiratory issues. In addition, items that are brought into the home often off gas chemicals (think about that “newness” smell) and the automatic home ventilation system ensures that these gases are exhausted to the exterior properly. Things like carpet/rugs, paints, particle board, detergents, printer ink, and others can release chemicals. Studies show that people living in environments with better air quality miss work / school less and go to the doctor less often than their counterparts.
Since Energy Star healthy homes are so tight we actually incorporate a whole house ventilation system where fresh air is introduced and stale air is exhausted on a regular schedule throughout the day. It first passes through a high efficiency air filter and then is distributed evenly through the centralized system. This is not your average new home or older home design….this is advanced building science being put work.
This might seem counter intuitive to some…bringing in outside air that is cold or hot and or humid into the system. However, the Energy Star HVAC and healthy home design is a System of many components that when working together still reduce energy use and costs while simultaneously improving the indoor air environment. In fact we incorporate a supplemental dehumidifier that senses the humidity in the air and turns on as needed to maintain a preset humidity level to maintain comfort.
Energy Star also has strict guidelines on spot exhaust at locations like bathrooms and kitchens. This ensures that pollutants from cooking are exhausted to the exterior properly and quickly. The bath exhaust ensures moisture and the resulting microbial fungal growth associated with high moisture are minimized. To ensure optimal fan performance ducts are designed to be as short and straight as possible using smooth pipe. In addition Energy Star guidelines require low Sone (quiet operating) fans.
In addition to these systems, guidelines are set to ensure the building products used are free from excess moisture and or mold during construction. Water management guidelines also ensure that water is not able to penetrate the building envelope in the future and cause moisture and mold problems.
So the question is, which is the best feature of Energy Star? Saving money and energy and being green be default OR a more healthy home and indoor living environment? After all health and wellness is one of the most important factors in quality of life especially for people at or near retirement age.
What is most important to you? Post to comments…we’d love to hear from you.