Energy efficiency never felt so good! In our last post, we discussed how great home design can enhance family life, along with your sleeping, eating, bathing and lifestyles. If you missed it, pop over and have a read. This week, we delve into the last 3 design considerations on our list (daylight, air quality and energy), and how they can be leveraged to make a happy & healthy home!
Just to refresh, we consider all of the following aspects in LEAP’s Residential Designs.
- Enhance Family Life
- Enhance Sleeping, Eating, Bathing and Living Lifestyles
- Increase Daylight
- Promote Healthy Indoor Air
- Increase Energy Efficiency
Healthy Home: Increased Daylight
You have probably experienced for yourself the sense of well being you get from a little sunshine. It can improve your mood, stimulate your circadian rhythm, and make you feel more connected to the outdoors.
Sunlight is energizing. Getting a good dose during the day helps you feel more alert, and can also be beneficial for a good nights rest. It also helps keep seasonal affective disorder at bay.
And let’s face it, in the North East, we’re all trying to get as much sunlight as we can. During the day, natural lighting makes rooms feel cleaner, more spacious, and more comfortable than electric light. It’s also a free source of illumination, which plays into energy efficiency. Natural light will animate spaces and can create drama and diversity.
Windows with high head heights provide more access to daylight by an increased sky view (which is particularly important in dense neighborhoods) and better daylight distribution in the room.
Healthy Home: Indoor Air Quality
No doubt you’ve heard reports of smog, and the really poor air quality in some developing nations, but have you stopped to consider the air purity inside your house?
We as Americans, spend a lot of time inside, and all that time is spent, well, breathing. So where do these nasty bits come from? Most you could guess, but some may be a surprise.
Particulates – pets fur and dander, pollen, mold spores
VOC – cleaning products, paint, paint remover, furniture or building products such as flooring, carpet, pressed wood products, kids arts supplies
Bioeffluents – people give off toxins, such as breathing (CO2), skin shedding, bacteria loads
Eww. So before you accuse everything and everyone in your house for being polluters, let us tell you how we can help. Tightly sealed houses (as discussed below) have a very low rate of air change, meaning, a means of mechanical ventilation is required to remove stale air and provide fresh air. These mechanical ventilation systems are designed to be very energy efficient, and what’s better is that we install HEPA filters inline, which does the job of filtering out those nasty bits that make you sick.
Reducing particulates, VOC, and bio effluents means relief from allergies, congestion, better sleep, and reduced eye irritation. Ventilation systems also reduce mold in moist areas such as kitchens and bathrooms, which is definitively something that makes a healthy home.
What’s important to note, is not all home designers incorporate this system for ventilation and filtering, but LEAP does!
Healthy Home: Increased Energy Efficiency
Lowering heating and cooling bills is one way to put a smile on your face! The even better news? Energy efficiency is tied into all of the life enhancing design considerations we’ve already discussed. When working with LEAP, efficiency is an added bonus—we already build it into all we do.
Why? Well, LEAP is Passive House Certified (we have a whole series of posts explaining), but in a nutshell, it means that your house is designed and built to operate with very minimal energy input. So even if you don’t intend to go for Passive House Certification, we drawn upon those principles in all our work.
This is especially important for new home construction. In October 2016, the New York State requirements for building sealing were upgraded to an ACH50 of 3 . This means 3 air changes or less per hour, which requires the installation of a whole house ventilation system (per ASHRAE standards). If you are interested in more specifics on how air changes are measured using blower tests, check our our post on air sealing.
Are you considering a new home or addition? Leverage LEAP’s design expertise to make the most of your new happy and healthy home.