Over the last decade, many new techniques have evolved for improving the airtightness of existing homes. With this increased ability has come the responsibility to be comprehensive.
There are few areas of residential construction that are so commonly misunderstood as air movement within and through houses. While some contractors swear that houses need to breathe and refuse to make any effort to make shells airtight, others are proud of their efforts to reduce uncontrolled air flow but remain unconvinced that controlled ventilation is needed in tight houses. Chances are, both groups are providing work for future retrofitters.
When air sealing was largely ineffective, practitioners generally did little good or harm. Now we can do a great deal of either. The modern energy retrofitter must go beyond simply sealing holes to deal with the ways in which air is supplied, used, and exhausted. The goal is to control, rather than just reduce, the air that flows through our buildings. It often involves the correction of problems more important than high heating bills and includes increasing air flow where appropriate.
Read more on Home Energy Magazine’s website