Going Green and Enhancing Indoor Air Quality
(ARA) – More energy-efficient and airtight homes provide lower carbon emissions, significant energy savings and the psychological boost of knowing we’re all doing something to help preserve the planet – so what’s not to love? Despite the cost savings and environmental benefits, however, modern home building and remodeling can have a hidden downside: poor indoor air quality.
“The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tells us that air pollution inside the home can be two to five times higher than outdoor levels,” says Victor Flynn, national marketing manger of Panasonic Home & Environment Company, which manufactures home ventilation products.
Poor indoor air quality has been linked to a host of respiratory ailments, from allergies to asthma. In fact, the EPA’s Web site notes that indoor air pollutants contribute to asthma symptoms, especially among children.
The trend toward more “green,” energy-efficient, airtight homes contributes to poor indoor air quality because “airtight” means airborne pollutants stay trapped inside. However, it is possible to boost your home’s energy efficiency, save money and improve indoor air quality safely. The secret is home ventilation.
Besides being more airtight, many homes these days are built or remodeled using synthetic building materials that may release harmful chemicals into the air. These chemical emissions mix with dust, mold and fumes from common household items like air fresheners and scented candles. Sources of common indoor air pollutants include wet or damp walls, ceilings, carpets and furniture; poorly maintained humidifiers, dehumidifiers and air conditioners; smoke from cigarettes; emissions from petroleum-based candles; moisture and smoke from cooking; and fumes from household items and cleaners.
Moisture and dampness in a home can lead to mold and mildew which can irritate the eyes, nose and throat, cause shortness of breath, dizziness, lethargy, fever and digestive problems. Moisture and mold can also worsen asthma, flu and other respiratory ailments. To minimize moisture in your home, it is good practice to regularly empty water trays in your home’s air conditioners and dehumidifiers; clean and dry or replace water-damaged carpets and building structure and provide adequate ventilation throughout the home.
Go with the Air-flow
In the past, some homeowners and contractors might have shied away from installing vent fans believing they were noisy, used too much energy or wasted heat in the winter and air-conditioned air in the summer. However, times have changed, and technology has advanced, so there are modern ventilation fans are whisper quiet, ENERGY STAR efficient and an affordable way to help maintain your home’s indoor air quality.
Some ventilation fans, like Panasonic’s WhisperGreen line, provide both “intermittent” ventilation to remove steam and odors, and “continuous” low-rate ventilation to remove indoor air pollutants and improve air quality throughout the whole house, even when the bathroom is not in use.
Selected models offer motion sensors and ENERGY STAR-rated light fixtures that use high quality, long-life and flicker-free compact fluorescent lamps designed to match the color of incandescent lights. And Panasonic light fixtures all include a night-light feature.
Throughout the house, an energy recovery ventilator, like WhisperComfort, can help create a comfortable, balanced exchange of air by exhausting indoor air and bringing in fresh outdoor air. Running continuously at a low rate, WhisperComfort units vent indoor air pollutants out of the home and replace stale indoor air with fresh air from outside, improving indoor air quality.
To learn more about Whisper Green and Whisper Comfort fans and how ventilation can help improve your home’s indoor air quality, visit www.panasonic.com/ventfans.
Courtesy of ARAcontent