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¿What impacts does increasing airtightness have on mould, condensation and measures of indoor air quality?¿ Rapid Review

Report


Type Of Work


  • Report

Abstract


  • Leaky homes need more energy to keep warm or cool. Sealing the gaps in a house, or increasing airtightness, is a common tip to reduce energy consumption, as well as make the house more comfortable to live in. However, people need a certain amount of fresh air in their homes to maintain air quality, and concerns have been raised that increased airtightness may have the unintended consequence of reduced indoor air quality (IAQ).

    Airtightness is only part of the story though. Fixing air leaks in a building will reduce the air movement through cracks and gaps, known as infiltration. However, there are other sources of fresh air in a building. If designed appropriately, natural ventilation (which is air exchange through doors and windows) and mechanical ventilation (such as exhaust fans or ducted ventilation systems) can ensure minimum fresh air levels are maintained in a building regardless of airtightness. This is captured in the maxim “seal tight and ventilate right”. Most building regulations require mechanical ventilation to be installed once airtightness goes beyond a certain level.

    Increased stringency in airtightness requirements has been foreshadowed as a possible inclusion in future versions of the National Construction Code (NCC)23 so it is important to understand what, if any, unintended consequences there might be. Our review explored the recent literature to answer the question “What impacts does increasing airtightness have on mould, condensation and measures of indoor air quality?”

    IAQ is a catch-all term to indicate the potential health risk in a building from a range of pollutants. These pollutants can come from items within the

    2 ASBEC (2018), ‘Built to Perform An industry led pathway to a zero carbon ready building code’, Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council, Building Code Energy Performance Trajectory Project - Final Report July 2018

    home (for instance, new paint is a major source of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in a home) or from outdoor air entering the home (for example, small particulates from motor vehicles or bushfire smoke events). Mould has also been identified as a possible risk, as there is the potential for increased condensation if water vapour control is not adequately considered.

Publication Date


  • 2020

Citation


  • Daly, D., Kempton, L., & Dewsbury, M. (2020). ¿What impacts does increasing airtightness have on mould, condensation and measures of indoor air quality?¿ Rapid Review: ¿What impacts does increasing airtightness have on mould, condensation and measures of indoor air quality?¿ Rapid Review. Wollongong: CRC Low Carbon Living. Retrieved from https://apo.org.au/node/310391

Web Of Science Accession Number


Book Title


  • “What impacts does increasing airtightness have on mould, condensation and measures of indoor air quality?” Rapid Review

Place Of Publication


  • Wollongong

Type Of Work


  • Report

Abstract


  • Leaky homes need more energy to keep warm or cool. Sealing the gaps in a house, or increasing airtightness, is a common tip to reduce energy consumption, as well as make the house more comfortable to live in. However, people need a certain amount of fresh air in their homes to maintain air quality, and concerns have been raised that increased airtightness may have the unintended consequence of reduced indoor air quality (IAQ).

    Airtightness is only part of the story though. Fixing air leaks in a building will reduce the air movement through cracks and gaps, known as infiltration. However, there are other sources of fresh air in a building. If designed appropriately, natural ventilation (which is air exchange through doors and windows) and mechanical ventilation (such as exhaust fans or ducted ventilation systems) can ensure minimum fresh air levels are maintained in a building regardless of airtightness. This is captured in the maxim “seal tight and ventilate right”. Most building regulations require mechanical ventilation to be installed once airtightness goes beyond a certain level.

    Increased stringency in airtightness requirements has been foreshadowed as a possible inclusion in future versions of the National Construction Code (NCC)23 so it is important to understand what, if any, unintended consequences there might be. Our review explored the recent literature to answer the question “What impacts does increasing airtightness have on mould, condensation and measures of indoor air quality?”

    IAQ is a catch-all term to indicate the potential health risk in a building from a range of pollutants. These pollutants can come from items within the

    2 ASBEC (2018), ‘Built to Perform An industry led pathway to a zero carbon ready building code’, Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council, Building Code Energy Performance Trajectory Project - Final Report July 2018

    home (for instance, new paint is a major source of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in a home) or from outdoor air entering the home (for example, small particulates from motor vehicles or bushfire smoke events). Mould has also been identified as a possible risk, as there is the potential for increased condensation if water vapour control is not adequately considered.

Publication Date


  • 2020

Citation


  • Daly, D., Kempton, L., & Dewsbury, M. (2020). ¿What impacts does increasing airtightness have on mould, condensation and measures of indoor air quality?¿ Rapid Review: ¿What impacts does increasing airtightness have on mould, condensation and measures of indoor air quality?¿ Rapid Review. Wollongong: CRC Low Carbon Living. Retrieved from https://apo.org.au/node/310391

Web Of Science Accession Number


Book Title


  • “What impacts does increasing airtightness have on mould, condensation and measures of indoor air quality?” Rapid Review

Place Of Publication


  • Wollongong