Is there a link between air quality and energy efficiency? The short answer is yes. These two are related. Indoor air quality and energy efficiency are both desirable features in a building. Indoor air quality creates a healthy environment for the occupants of a building, while energy efficiency reduces the cost of operating a building and the carbon footprint. The common belief is that energy efficiency can have a negative impact on indoor air quality and vice versa. While in certain aspects this is true, there are ways to improve both without sacrificing the other. Here’s how indoor air quality and energy efficiency are related.
HVAC Systems and Energy Consumption
To improve indoor air quality, the majority of homes use HVAC systems. Unfortunately, these account for the largest chunk of energy consumption in the building. Fortunately, modern HVAC systems are more energy efficient. This is a good step towards balancing both indoor air quality and energy efficiency. Indoor air quality is heavily dependent on the performance of an HVAC system. With a highly efficient HVAC system, you can achieve both an energy-efficient home and good indoor air quality.
Ventilation and Energy Efficiency
Ventilation requires less energy than air conditioning or space heating. However, it’s important to keep in mind that letting in too much air will increase the heating and cooling loads. For instance, if you increase the inflow of outdoor air on a hot summer day, the AC must work harder to deal with the extra heat coming into the building. The same happens to heating systems if you increase ventilation on colder days.
So, the question here is, why not limit ventilation to save energy? Diluting indoor air with outdoor air is vital to improving air quality. According to the EPA, indoor air is usually two to five times more polluted than outdoor air. This means that lack of ventilation is bad for air quality. Fortunately, you can still get some ventilation without straining the heating and cooling systems too much. Ideally, your ventilation system should provide just the right amount of air you need. To know just how much ventilation your building needs, you can measure indoor air pollutants. That way, you can decrease and increase ventilation rates as needed. You should also ensure that you block uncontrolled entry of air into your building. According to the United States Department of Energy, you can increase your home’s energy efficiency by 30% if you simply add insulation and caulking around your windows and doors.
There is a strong link between air quality and energy efficiency. Buildings require energy to improve indoor air quality, whether you’re using an HVAC system or you’re using your ventilation system. The idea is to ensure everything is balanced so that both sides of the equation don’t suffer. Contact Wilson Heating and Air Conditioning today to ask about our products!