A super-tight building envelope requires fresh air flow (video)

A super-tight building envelope requires fresh air flow (video)

With a house that's about 90 percent tighter than a house built to code, fresh air ventilation is vital.

When architect Chris Laumer-Giddens conducted a blower door test on the Proud Green Home at Serenbe before the dry wall was hung, the home was found to 90 percent tighter than a home built to the 2009 Georgia building codes.

The air sealing and insulation techniques and products from Huber, BASF and others, as well as the installation overseen by builder Luis Imery, paid off with a super-tight building envelope.

But that presents other challenges.

To ensure the home has the proper amount of air changes to control moisture and provide a high level of comfort, the home is using an energy-recovery ventilator (ERV) from Zehnder America to supply fresh air.

Here builder Luis Imery gives an overview of the ERV system that will be hidden in the home.


An ERV provides a flow of fresh air to the home, and exhausts stale air. During that process, it allows some of the moisture in the more humid air stream (usually the stale air in winter and the fresh air in summer) to be transferred to the air stream, which is dryer.

The Zehnder ERV is a full-ducted ventilation system that will provide fresh air to the bedroom and exhaust air from the bathrooms and kitchen.

Up to 90 percent of the heat in the extracted air is recovered by the heat exchanger in the unit and used to heat the incoming fresh air.

The Proud Green Home is being built southwest of Atlanta in the sustainable community of Serenbe. It has will be certified EarthCraft House Platinum, ENERGY STAR Version 3.0, EPA Water Sense, and EPA Indoor Air Plus. The home will also produce on-site electricity (photovoltaics), and will be a net-zero home, in other words it will produce as much energy as it uses.

In partnership with Southface Energy Institute, ProudGreenHome.com will monitor the performance of the home after it is completed and occupied in order to provide real-life feedback.

The home is designed to achieve performance ratings in multiple programs including Earth Craft House (Platinum Level), ENERGY STAR (Version 3.0), EPA WaterSense and EPA Indoor Air Plus. These certifications give the owner the assurance that their home is designed and built to the highest standards in home energy efficiency, durability and sustainability.

Watch this video from Zehnder America explaining ERVs:

Read more about the Proud Green Home at Serenbe.

Companies: ProudGreenHome.com, Southface Energy Institute, Kohler, BASF Corporation, Kleendeck, LLC, Serenbe Sustainable Community, LG Squared, Inc., The Imery Group, Benjamin Obdyke, Zehnder America, SmartBIM, Huber Engineered Woods

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