Indoor Air Quality a Green Issue

Homeowners paying attention to the green building movement are taking indoor air quality seriously.

A McGraw-Hill Construction/National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) survey defines the green homebuilding movement as one, "which applies innovative and environmentally sensitive construction techniques and products to reduce energy and water consumption and improve residential comfort and safety."

According to Joe Patrick, senior product manager for VELUX America, safety, in this case, includes removing harmful air-borne elements from indoors. "These can range," Patrick says, "from simple stale air from everyday living, to pollutants given off by building materials, to radon gas which seeps into buildings through foundations." This can be a critical issue in winter when many homes are basically sealed with windows tightly closed to retain heat and reduce energy costs.

One of NAHB's seven categories of green building is indoor air quality and Residential Systems Magazines agrees, identifying that and energy efficiency as "hallmarks of the green building movement." Patrick says that indoor air quality can be enhanced with venting skylights. "They admit natural light from above to reduce energy costs and make living spaces more attractive and enjoyable while quietly exhausting stale air and improving ventilation without the use of fans."

Adequate ventilation also contributes to effective moisture management in the home, helping to control mold. And while gaining more natural light and better air quality, homeowners utilizing venting skylights realize other benefits.

Many of today's homes are on small lots with close-by neighbors, making privacy sometimes hard to find without closing the doors and covering the windows. With natural light from above, homeowners can have privacy plus more wall space for storage or decorating (where windows would normally be).

Patrick points out that in bathrooms especially, venting skylights reduce condensation build-up while providing a beautiful view of the sky above, without affording anyone the opportunity to see in.

Electric venting skylights are available with remote control, blinds, shades, awnings, insect screening and automatic rain sensors. And electrochromic glass is available that can be tinted electronically with a remote to control light and heat gain while still providing the view to the sky.

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