As buildings become more airtight and energy efficient, actively managing indoor air quality becomes more important. Not only are some air pollutants highly dangerous, but many—like radon and carbon monoxide—are undetectable by human senses. And with 90% of our time typically spent indoors, slight elevations of VOCs can amount to chronic exposures.
Here you’ll learn what pollutants to be wary of and ways to promote clean, fresh air, including:
finding the right level of ventilation
specifying products that won’t emit problematic chemicals
controlling pressure differentials to avoid unintentional introduction of polluted air
The BuildingGreen Guide to Insulation provides detailed guidance on insulation products and practices, including cost comparisons and detailed recommendations on what insulation to use, and what to avoid.
The number of environmental product standards and certifications is growing rapidly, putting numerous different "green" logos on products. This article reviews the key programs and evaluates their rigor, and offers guidance in using them to accomplish project goals.
Commercial kitchens run energy- and water-intensive equipment for long hours, sometimes even when not in use. While the challenges of saving water and energy in commercial kitchens are daunting, they're not insurmountable. Careful equipment selection and a commitment to conscientious kitchen practices can dramatically cut down on waste-and utility bills.
Some proponents of indoor plants promise that they will clean the air and promote occupant health and productivity. But will they? Scientific backing for these claims is still being developed, but some of the results are promising.
Ductless split systems using heat pumps and variable refrigerant flow offer an energy-efficient alternative to conventional heating and air-conditioning systems for a variety of settings, from homes to hotels and schools. Three major manufacturers-Daikin, Mitsubishi, and Sanyo-offer the greatest variety of products.
Biophilia, or human beings' inherent love for nature, has been called "the missing link in sustainable design." EBN's Alex Wilson helps readers understand biophilia, describes why it is important relative to building design, and presents specific design strategies for bringing people closer to nature.