NAHB survey says home builders' focus on energy savings could hurt indoor air quality as homes go green; AQS white paper offers solutions to the problem

January 18, 2009 |

ATLANTA, January 14, 2009 - Just like an old neighborhood as it gentrifies, so the residential construction industry is undergoing a significant shift from old ways of building to new sustainable (green) practices. With this change, comes a requirement to insure healthy indoor air for those inside, while protecting the natural resources of our planet outside. Architects, homebuilders and contractors are learning that a homeowners' right for non-toxic, healthy indoor environments ranks right up there with energy and environmental conservation.

Results of a recent survey conducted by the National Home Builders Association (NAHB) and McGraw-Hill bear this out in terms of market share and homeowner attitudes. For example, the US residential green building market is expected to double to 12% to 20% ($40 billion to $70 billion) market share by 2012. The survey results also showed that 70% of homebuyers were more apt to buy green even in today's economic conditions, and 87% were at least moderately knowledgeable about green home construction. Homeowners cited lower operating costs through energy savings (91%), having a healthier place to live (84%) and environmental concerns (80%) as the top three most important reasons for buying green homes.

Yet, according to the survey results, which were reported in the McGraw-Hill Construction 2008 SmartMarket Reports, builders still tend to focus more on energy and environmental conservation in their selection of green features, such as tight construction, insulation, Energy Star® products and water-efficient plumbing. While these features are excellent choices for lowering energy costs and conserving water, they may inadvertently contribute to poor indoor air quality (IAQ).

"As with commercial buildings, super tight, insulated homes with minimal ventilation and low air change rates can result in indoor mold growth and indoor air pollutants building up to levels that threaten occupant health. Conversely, pursuing good IAQ without considering the efficient use of energy may unnecessarily increase construction and energy costs, create financial hardships for families, and increase emissions of greenhouse gases, thereby contributing to outdoor air pollution" said Tony Worthan, President of Air Quality Sciences, Inc. (AQS).

A new white paper from AQS, titled Energy Conservation and Indoor Air Quality: Benefits of Achieving Both in Homes, explains the importance of balancing the efficient use of energy with good indoor air quality. It also emphasizes that all those involved in building and renovating homes must strive towards adopting one defining common set of green principles that place equal emphasis on energy efficiency and protecting occupant health (good IAQ). The two must go together. In addition, this white paper reviews who is most at risk from indoor air pollution, common indoor air contaminants found in homes, their sources, health impacts and what steps can be taken to achieve efficient use of energy and good IAQ.

This white paper completes a three-part series on energy and indoor air quality. The other two papers in the series, Energy Conservation and Indoor Air Quality: Partnering to Protect Human Health, and Energy Conservation and Indoor Air Quality: Lessons From the Past Have Relevance for the Future, are recommended reading to gain a valuable perspective on the interdependence of IAQ and energy conservation and the benefits of considering them as primary and complementary goals for healthy indoor environments. All three white papers are available free of charge from the Aerias-AQS Indoor Air Quality Resource Center at, Premium Content tab / White Papers.

Air Quality Sciences, Inc. is a fully integrated indoor air quality (IAQ) company that provides solutions to create healthy indoor environments and avoid potentially dangerous indoor pollution. As the only indoor air quality firm with laboratories that are ISO 9001:2000 registered, AIHA EMLAP accredited and ISO 17025 accredited, AQS sets the standard for effective diagnoses and reliable solutions. The company provides product emissions testing for the GREENGUARD Certification Programs, German Blue Angel Eco- label, Green Guide for Healthcare, LEED EQ credits, and other key IAQ and green product criteria requiring third party verification. To learn more about AQS, Blue Angel and GREENGUARD, visit, or, respectively. For more information on indoor air quality, visit Aerias-AQS IAQ Resource Center at



Allison Laney

(770) 933-0638


Tony Worthan

(770) 933-0638


2211 Newmarket Parkway Atlanta, Georgia 30067 Phone: 770-933-0638  Fax: 770-933-0641

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