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greg Said,
August 25th, 2008 @11:02 pm  

Excellent summary, Todd.

LEED for Homes addresses this issue in it's Energy & Atmosphere section. One interesting fact that we learned in building our home is that you can get your home almost TOO sealed. LEED recognizes that fact and urges whole-home ventilation systems built into the HVAC mechanisms.

Basically the ventilation system is designed to bring fresh air into an otherwise very sealed home. The air quality and conditioning is maintained because the incoming air is sent through the HVAC system before hitting your lungs (and not just through a hole near an electrical socket). The ventilation system that we opted for includes a heat exchange mechanism to increase the efficiency of the system (we heat/cool the outside air via a heat exchange mechanism before it hits the HVAC system itself).

One of the downsides of little natural ventilation is that LEED discourages fireplaces – even those touted as environmentally friendly – because they can still deplete oxygen levels in very sealed homes. You can install one, but only if power ventillated and sealed. We didn't like that asthetic, so we opted for no fireplace (which was disappointing).

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