Several years ago, the team at Futuro Construction was wondering why clients were choosing to build high-performance homes. Was the primary reason to protect the environment by saving energy and using non-toxic products? Did homeowners want durable homes that require little maintenance and have low energy bills, saving money over time? Were they seeking healthier homes with cleaner indoor air?
We sat down with Matt Silva, Futuro Construction’s general manager, to discuss his findings.
What began as market research for Silva turned out to be a project that led him to discover one of the most important (but rarely discussed) items on customers’ minds:
“More than 70 percent of the people surveyed indicated health concerns as their top priority, long-term costs as the second, followed by environmental concerns,” said Silva. “Clients aren’t necessarily raising concerns about healthy home air when they approach a builder. People come to expect indoor air quality, so I don’t think they ask for it much. People just come to expect it. If I bought a car, I just expect it to have a steering wheel.”
Futuro Construction is no stranger to giving clients healthy indoor air through several methods: “We build homes that are so tight that we have to use no VOC (volatile organic compound) paints,” says Silva. “Our cabinets are made locally and are formaldehyde free. More and more, we see that clients feel an increased sensitivity to these compounds in their daily lives and we work to address it from the beginning.”
Tightly constructed homes exchange less air between the interior and exterior through gaps and cracks. While tightly constructed home are great for reducing energy costs for the homeowner, they require the builder to ensure proper ventilation for healthy indoor air. “An average home with a family of four can add 18 or more gallons of water vapor a week to the air through showering, cooking, doing laundry, and other daily activities,” says Silva. This water vapor increases indoor humidity levels and can cause mold issues in the home if it isn’t properly ventilated.
Futuro Construction is in the growing list of high-performance home builders that installs Zehnder HRVs and ERVs to promote healthy air exchange. These systems run around the clock, maintaining ideal humidity levels and promoting indoor air quality. The HRV also adds a component of extreme efficiency: its heat exchanger transfers heat from the exhaust air to the intake air, transferring up to 95 percent of the heat.
“The beauty of a Zehnder system is that it does that job better than most without the concern of it being an energy hog,” explains Silva. “If you have something that is going to continuously operate, you want it to use as little energy as possible, like the Zehnder systems.”Want to learn more about the most energy efficient ventilation systems on the market? Contact Zehnder today!