Healthy Indoor Air
Even at low concentrations, air pollutants can cause health problems, including asthma, allergies and lead poisoning. At Green Hammer, we know how important clean, fresh air is to human health. That's why we create buildings that are designed to mimic healthy ecosystems—buildings that provide fresh air and clean water, create and conserve energy, and minimize toxins and eliminate them whenever feasible.
A crucial first step towards healthy indoor air quality is the elimination of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) such as urea-formaldehyde. VOCs are pervasive in paints, sealants and glue-based wood products that are all too common in the construction industry. They off-gas toxins into our indoor air and over time, can be very hazardous to our health.
A critical aspect to creating a healthy indoor air environment is to have an airtight home or building and then installing operable windows and advanced ventilation systems. Increasing outdoor air pollution from vehicle traffic, industrial production, pollens and more frequent wildfires has increased the need for buildings to be able to block out the flow of that polluted air into the building from leaks, so we can bring it in and purify it through planned intakes on a filtered ventilation system. To keep healthy air flowing through a home, we recommend a heat recovery ventilator (HRV) as a part of any holistic building performance upgrade with a MERV 13 filter or better. HRVs are designed to provide continuous fresh, filtered, outdoor air to bedrooms and living spaces to improve healthy indoor air quality, while exhausting stale air from our bathrooms and basements. The heat leaving from the exhaust air transfers to the incoming air without cross contaminating air streams. The result when installed in an airtight home or building is continuous, comfortable, fresh, filtered outdoor air – even when the outdoor air is a sea of wildfire smoke and vehicle exhaust.
The relative humidity level (RH) of our air is also a critical component of healthy indoor air quality in the Portland area. ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers) studies have shown that RH between 40%-60% is optimal for our personal health. Client feedback and our experience monitoring indoor air quality have given us the expertise we need to strike this optimal balance in comprehensive performance upgrades.
Read more about indoor air quality issues and opportunities in CEO Stephen Aiguier’s blog posts on this topic.
Why Portland’s Air Stinks (Part One)
How to Improve Indoor Air Quality (Part Two)