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Building Health Into Homes : Part 2 of 2

Building a home to a high level of indoor air quality starts at the very beginning with framing materials, glues, and plywood. It is not simply a wait to the finish stage and use Low VOC paints. We did a lot of legwork to find the best materials to reach our goal of maintaining excellent air quality for the Passive House project. Throughout construction, we meticulously researched how the products we used might affect air quality. We were able to use GreenGuard certified products for most of the materials used on the home. If a GreenGuard certified product was not available, we turned to other third-party certifiers of air quality. Some products we used were lab tested to ensure they would not negatively affect the air we breathe. Some materials we used not only protected air quality, but helped to actively improve it. One example is the drywall we used. CertainTeed Air Renew drywall is a GreenGuard Certified product that actively absorbs volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and aldehydes, including the well known enemy formaldehyde. It then breaks these compounds down to a nonvolatile state and stores it them in a safe way for years. This is a great example of a forward thinking product that is helping to make healthier homes a reality. Not only do the materials in the home play a role with air quality, but also the mechanical systems can make a dramatic difference. Such is the case with our state- of-the-art Zehnder ERV (Energy Recovery Ventilator), which helps bring fresh air in and remove stale air from the Passive House. The Zehnder system takes air...