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New Technologies

Warmer and Healthier Homes

There is a great importance of building Healthier and more energy efficient homes and avoiding the same old ruts in building technology. We have seen some new technologies arise in the building industry but sometimes the small and simplest thing can be very slow to change. Some time ago the building industry found a very simple solution to an energy and mold and/or mildew problem in building crawl space foundations.

All buildings on crawl spaces have a loss of energy and moisture that can lead to mold and/or mildew problem. Until recent years Residential Code requirements for net area of “Exterior-Vented Crawl Space” would be not less than 1 square foot for every 150 square feet of crawl space ground area as a primary means of controlling moisture, but a typical home can absorb up to 10 gallons of water a day from the crawl space floor. Obviously this was not well thought out solution but may have made more sense in a different time and era. Mold has to have three things to grow: food, water, and oxygen. Wood and Oxygen are present in virtually every crawl space that I know of, so eliminating moisture problem in the crawl space is the way to eliminate mold and mildew.

Advanced Energy, a nonprofit organization located on North Carolina State's campus, has been doing crawl space research for over five years. Their findings have shown that not only does a Sealed Conditioned Crawl Space maintain relative humidity 20-30% lower than exterior Exterior-vented, but also an energy savings of up to 25%.

Furthermore, eliminating mold by means of Condition or Semi-Conditioning of the Crawl Space dramatically improves indoor air quality. This goes back to research by Advanced Energy. Their testing of 100 homes shows that there is average duct leakage is 19.5%. This tells us that return air ducts in the crawl space are taking air from that area and circulating it throughout the house. It is disturbing to know that we are breathing this air that comes from a moist, probably moldy environment with a dirt floor. There is no doubt in my mind that this could be the cause for many illnesses and respiratory problems

What is a Conditioned Crawl Space? It’s actually very simple. For instance when we build a room addition on a crawl space, the interior of the masonry walls are insulated and sealed (no exterior venting) and the crawl space is heated.

What took so long? In short, codes. It is one thing to solve a problem. Convincing critics to accept the solution is an entirely different battle. Now the battle changes to trying to convince builders and architects to use more Sealed and Conditioned Crawl Spaces

It is very comforting to know that the area below your house is sealed and conditioned. It is really good to see a push to have more Sealed and Conditioned Crawl Spaces, and code language that supports it. A Sealed, Conditioned Crawl Space is a simple but excellent solution to mold and mildew problems in the warmer months and cold floors and energy losses in the cooler months

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Home Improvement Information and advice for home owners and anyone else that may be interested. As stated earlier we will be covering home remodeling subjects from time to time expanding articles on including: Room Addition, Bathroom, Kitchen and Basement Remodeling as well as Siding, Roofing, Windows and more as time permits

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