Friday, November 28, 2008

Ventilation Requirements for Homes Using SIP Panels

All new homes need active ventilation air – in fact, the “tighter” the house, the greater the need. Structural insulated panel homes are no different. This high performance insulation system has exploded in popularity in the energy efficient building industry. Ventilation in a SIP home is necessary to protect you and your family from odors and indoor air contaminants, as well as to control the building’s interior moisture levels.

In addition to natural ventilation by windows, doors and skylights, your SIP home should have both spot ventilation and dilution ventilation systems. Spot ventilation systems are exhaust systems located in a point source of pollution such as the kitchen or bathroom. Fans properly vented to the outdoors remove moisture, odors, and pollutants that otherwise collect in the home.

Dilution ventilation systems draw outside air into the home through ducted systems while exhausting stale interior air. This exchange of air controls indoor moisture levels and lowers airborne contaminants to create a healthy home environment. Most SIP homes utilize either a heat recovery system (HRV) or an energy recovery system (ERV). Both supply the home with balanced air intake and exhaust. HRV’s are usually used in cooler, dry climates. A heat exchanger transfers a large portion of the heat (no moisture) between the exhaust air stream and the outside air stream. ERV’s, typically used in warmer humid climates, also use a type of heat exchanger system where both heat and moisture are exchanged, keeping the moisture level higher in cold dry months and the ventilation balanced.

A ventilation system (HRV or ERV) helps your SIP home, or any home with a tight building envelope, perform optimally, controlling indoor moisture, odors, and contaminants, providing you with a healthy home environment.

Bonin Architects & Associates, PLLC

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