The Dark Side of Efficiency

August 18, 2013 at 9:40 pm 1 comment

We have all been bombarded with the need to live more efficiently and have less of an impact on our planet.  The problem comes when we possibly make our homes unsafe in the pursuit of this efficiency.

There has been a notable upswing in reports of moisture related problems in recent years.  A large portion of the cause for this is the tightening of the building envelope without regard to proper ventilation. Typically homes built 25 or more years ago allowed a significant amount of  air to leak both in and out. This not only increased our cost to heat and cool our homes but allowed for sufficient air circulation albeit by accident!

The other possible issue is one of safety. By tightening the building envelope we may create a situation where carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide can build up to unsafe levels.  Possible improvements that plug those worrisome air leaks or replace windows should include combustion safety testing both before and after completion.

Here are my suggestions for safely pursuing any energy efficiency project for your home:

  • Have a reputable energy consultant evaluate your current conditions and create a prioritized by return on possible investment list of options.
  • Work with a licensed and certified Building Performance Contractor
  • Acquire applicable permits for all work so that it is properly inspected
  • Have the energy consultant come back at the end of the project to inspect the work and to make sure it is working properly so that you get the maximum return on your investment

As always I thank you for your time and interest. Please take the time to Digg, Stumble Upon or add to the other social network of your choice to help me spread the word about these issues. Please forward any questions or suggestions to:


Entry filed under: Design, Environment, Solar Power. Tags: , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. mick  |  December 10, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    It strikes me that people also forget to open windows and air the building. Granted commercial buildings might not have that opportunity, but even the best ‘enveloped’ residential property benefits from even a few minutes fresh air blowing through. It will still be economical even with manual ventilation.


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