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  • Writer's pictureKeith Groninger

Understanding Ventilation and Dehumidification - A green building lesson

Groninger Custom Homes builds green and sustainable custom homes in Winter Park, Orlando and Central Florida

Ventilation and Dehumidification are critical talking points, especially here in Florida. Until recently they were discussed little, but the way we build homes is changing and they are now important issues.

A well-insulated home will maintain its temperature during moderate times of the year. As a result, the air-conditioning system will not operate very much. Typical thermostats only measure air temperature, but humidity, air movement and air quality all affect our comfort. Cooking, showers, and even breathing raise the humidity level in the home.

When the humidity level is too high, moisture ceases to evaporate from our skin making us feel clammy and sticky. Even light breezes lose their refreshing feel. High humidity levels support the growth of mold and mildew, and allow the air we breath to carry more impurities not present at lower levels.

Here in Florida during the spring and fall, without the use of air-conditioning, humidity levels will rise in the home causing uncomfortable and potentially even unhealthy conditions. Efficient dehumidification without the added expense of operating the AC or heating system, is the answer to lowering humidity levels and increasing comfort. We have several interesting articles available for view in our Building Science collection if you want to learn more.

To summarize: more insulation + tighter construction = less AC & more humidity. I’m a big believer in dehumidification but not a big supporter of ASHRAE and EnergyStar ventilation requirements. If the sources of indoor pollutants are removed and some exterior doors and windows are opened occasionally, a basic ventilation plan can be adopted. The building code requirements for ventilation do not sufficiently address the unique climate we have in Florida. There isn't enough room in this article to thoroughly discuss ventilation and dehumidification needs for your Central Florida home but hopefully you realize this is an important discussion you should have with your builder.

Some additional articles that compliment this topic:

Little is more meaningful and personal than a home, and the experience of designing and building your own home should be rewarding and enjoyable. Choosing a builder is difficult. The process of designing and building a home involves numerous decisions about components, systems and services selected from criteria that includes price, quality, appearance and performance. How can you possibly understand everything unless the builder is willing to share all of the information?   

Allow us to introduce you to The GCH Way of building your next home. Please let us know if you have any questions. Keith Groninger

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