Air quality is a serious concern, especially in retrofits and buildings where air pollution is particularly bad. The answer to the question of whether you need air filters depends on a variety of positive and negative influencers. Let's start with the positives:
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Sunspaces – especially those attached outside the main home – are extremely popular. However, like all things, you need to carefully consider the benefits and disadvantages rather than just jumping in and building one.
Whatever air filter system you decide to install, you will have to decide what type of filter to put in. Air filters come in three types: gas, particulate, and hybrid.
Used in homes suffering from any sort of gaseous air pollution, these filters remove all sorts of volatile organic compounds outgassed by carpets, paint, engineered wood, and furniture.
Almost every passive solar building has a backup heating system, whether it's really needed or not. It is possible to design a passive solar home that heats itself, but it may not pass local building regulations. It will also be very hard to sell, as most home buyers simply won't believe that the house needs no heater other than the sun!
There are five options commonly available as backup heating for passive solar homes:
If your home's air pollution problems cannot be completely solved by eliminating and isolating sources of pollutants, you will need to install some kind of air filter. Whether that is a small, portable unit for occasional use or a large, whole-house ventilation system depends on how bad the problem is.
If you're thinking of building your own home or work in the construction industry, you need to know about "natural conditioning". Otherwise known under a variety of names, such as "passive solar" and "day-lighting", this is the practice of designing and building a home so that it works to reduce your heating bills by optimizing natural heating and cooling.
One of the best innovations for passive solar homes are ICFs – Insulating Concrete Forms. At first glance, they look like a lazy way to build foundations because they are simple and lightweight, they snap together, and it's more like playing with Lego than building a house. The good news is that, despite their apparent ease, they create one of the best insulated foundations possible.
As you research passive solar home design, you may run into the term "sun-tempered" for homes. A sun-tempered home is a sort of "halfway house" option, rather than the whole-hog option of true passive solar design. Let's look at how the two compare:
Most engineers call it "integrated design", but green systems installers like to use the word "holistic" because it rings of holistic therapy, holistic medicine and other natural alternatives that work just as well as their traditional counterparts. But what is it?