Green Buildings Offer Healthy “IAQ”

When we think about green building, we understandably focus on the impact a structure has on the natural environment.  But equally important is the indoor living environment that the building creates for its dwellers.

Green building expert Alex Wilson just revealed #3 of his Top Ten Green Building Priorities: Ensure a Healthy Indoor Environment.  Indoor Air Quality (or “IAQ”) is key to creating living space that supports the health of occupants.  Wilson’s steps to guaranteeing a healthy indoor environment?

  • Deal with moisture.
  • Keep pollutants out.
  • Avoid VOCs.
  • Avoid chemicals and compounds.
  • Provide fresh air.
  • Provide for psychological health.

Some of these points are self-explanatory or straight-forward, but others home performance assessmentrequire the application of some building science and even home diagnostics.  That’s where home performance assessments come into play (see photo on right of an assessment underway).  These audits test your home’s inner environment and uncover the culprits of moisture build-up, pollutants, and lack of fresh air.  Armed with this information, building analysts prescribe a suite of improvements, often simple ones, that can transform your home and give it a clean bill of health.

Of course, when we build new we can apply these principles ahead of time to avoid indoor air quality problems in the first place.  Environmentally-friendly building products and finishes are key here, but so are building technologies like rain screens that help ensure that moisture does not build up in wall assemblies.  By being careful about the design and construction of our green buildings, we can be stewards of the natural environment as well as clients’ living environments.


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