It seems with the onset of tightly sealed homes and high efficiency cooling/heating systems that something may be getting over looked in this segment of the "green movement" what about indoor air qulaity? If there is no air exchange with the outside then all of those wonderful toxins that are outgasing from the paint on the walls, the formaldehyde in the press board furniture and floor coverings are simply being recirculated over and over again. That of course does not include all of the air borne germs being carried and expelled by the people and animals that are living in those homes.
The indoor air problem is most serious in homes tightly sealed to keep out the elements. In a typical ''leaky'' house, all the air is exchanged with fresh outdoor air about once an hour, but a wellsealed house may take four to 10 times longer to completely replace the indoor air. This allows a buildup of what could be considered harmful substances.
Poor indoor air quality has been linked to a wide variety of adverse health effects, including headaches, respiratory problems, frequent colds and sore throats, chronic cough, skin rashes, eye irritation, lethargy, dizziness and memory lapses.
Now I'm not saying that we should give up on energy efficiency by any means but let's look into doing some things that would allow us to get some fresh air on occasion. A simple air exchanger installed in the coolinng system would bring in some outside air and export some of that toxic stuff we breath. Large overhangs and radiant barrier along with some extra insulation in the attic would certainly make up the differnce lost. We don't need to make ourselves ill to save the environment.
When you are considering a "green home" consider all of the factors and if someone tries to sell you on how tightly sealed the home is and how efficiently the climate control system works simply ask about the indoor air quality if there is a system in place for air exchange along energy savings that would my freind in my mind would be a green home.
With all of the freedoms we enjoy in this country shouldn't one of them be the freedom to breath at least semi-clean air in our homes?