Energy Star clears the air
An Energy Star-rated home now can be upgraded to include indoor-air-quality specifications. Released as a pilot program last year in Denver, EPA’s Indoor Air Package is currently in its expansion phase. If all goes well, it should be available nationally in 2008.
An Energy Star rating from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) means that a house is independently certified to be 15% more energy-efficient than a house built to the International Energy Conservation Code. The indoor-air certification means that in addition to improved energy-efficiency, the home will have better air quality than a code-built home. “While this package is not designed for people with multiple chemical sensitivities, it does address common indoor-air pollutants,” says Erik Werling of the EPA’s Indoor Environments Division.
More than 70 features can be incorporated to improve a home’s indoor-air quality, including indoor-moisture control, correctly sized HVAC equipment, and properly vented combustion equipment. Some of the less-standard items: unvented and conditioned crawlspaces, no vapor barriers, and no ductwork installed in a garage. For more information, search for Indoor Air Package at www.energystar.gov.