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Chicagoland’s First Certified Passive House: Part 2

Following the last blog post on Chicago’s First Certified Passive House, built by WBD, read on to hear common Q&A surrounding this type of home (See April 2013 Archive For or scroll down forPart 1): Shouldn’t My House Breathe? Your house should definitely breathe, but that breathing should be controlled.  A code built home as well as traditional construction methods of letting a home breathe through gaps, cracks, and drafts have proven to be outdated. Since the widespread use of insulation, uncontrolled “breathing (really leaking)” is undesirable.  It is an excuse for builders to be lazy, cut costs, or build homes as fast as possible without attention to details.  Not to mention that way of thinking also leads to a lot of moisture problems in the wall cavities which can lead to mold. Do you really want to be breathing in air that contains dirt, insulation fibers, and passes over mouse droppings or do you want clean fresh filtered air? A home should have a controlled path of breathing.  In Chicagoland’s first Passive House project, we used an energy recovery ventilator (ERV) to manage controlled air exchanges.  This system exhausts air out the rooms that tend to contain moisture and smells, such as the bathrooms, laundry room, and kitchen.  That air passes through the ERV box where the incoming fresh air (lets assume winter – it will pre-cool and dehumidify in summer) is pre-heated and humidified before entering the home.  The heat recovery is rated at 85% so it recovers most of the energy from the outgoing air.  It is also filtered before it enters the ERV as well...