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Re: GSBN:HRVs and SB

Lacking comments from Rob Tom and Paula Baker Laporte, here is what I think about indoor air quality. Moisture buildup is not the only problem. It may be the most serious issue for the physical structure of the home, but it is probably secondary for the health of the inhabitants.

For good indoor air quality, a home needs significant, continuous air exchange in all rooms. This is hard to achieve. If a building has lots of air infiltration, it wastes energy and can lead to invisible moistuure problems in the walls. A loose home is also likely to have very uneven air exchange. If a building is tight, then air exchange needs to be designed in, in order to have healthy air quality in all rooms, regardless of moisture levels.

Current heat recovery ventilation systems are primitive and expensive, which is why we don't want to use them. But to ignore the problem and subject ourselves, our families and our clients to unhealthy indoor air is irresponsible.


--On Thursday, January 23, 2003 10:03 AM +0200 Evgeny Shirokov iae@... wrote:

From my experience with straw-clay houses: moisture is not a problem
in bathroom, if you use clay stucco and protect walls from "direct
water flow" by ceramic or other with ordinary system of ventilation.

And Chris Magwood relayed:
Has anyone with a strawbale home NOT installed a heat recovery
sytem (HRV) and if so do you have a problem with condensation?
I'm trying to decide whether to install one before my interior
walls are closed in.

Now that HRVs are part of our building code, it seems
inspectors are not giving owners any options other than
installing the full systems ($3-6000 and require constant fan
noise and energy, plus ductwork everywhere). Does anybody know
of an indoor air quality expert who might have options/opinions
other than the installation of full HRVs? My own home was built
without one, and we don't have any moisture problems, which I
attribute to the amount of porous, unsealed natural materials in
the house (barn board, beams, unpainted gypsum plaster, etc)
which are capable of a lot of storage when conditions are
humid, and release when conditions are dry.

Derek Roff
Language Learning Center, Ortega Hall Rm 129, University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131  505/277-7368, fax 505/277-3885
Internet: derek@...