Ventilating Small Chicago Homes

January/February 2006
This article originally appeared in the January/February 2006 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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January 01, 2006
Because the affordable Chicago homes are airtight, builders were especially concerned with providing adequate ventilation and good indoor air quality.
        With the goal of creating healthy homes for people of modest means, Claretian Associates, a nonprofit community development organization, and South Chicago Workforce, a nonprofit builder and contractor, have teamed to create 26 unique homes in South Chicago, Illinois.These homes are constructed with structural insulated panels (SIPs), are heated with efficient condensing furnaces, utilize sealed-combustion water heaters, and contain efficient lights and appliances. The first 12 homes also feature 1.2 kW solar-electric systems. Claretian Associates’ and South Chicago Workforce’s commitment to high-quality affordable housing earned the project the city of Chicago’s award for 2005 Outstanding Non-Profit Neighborhood Project.         Because the homes are so airtight (blower door tests showed 300–350 CFM50), providing adequate ventilation is a special concern of the builder.David Sullivan of South Chicago Workforce and Paul Knight of Domus PLUS—an architect consulting on the project— approached Steven Winter Associates (SWA), the firm where the authors work, about monitoring the performance of several ventilation systems in the first three homes. SWA was able to perform the monitoring with funding from DOE’s Building America program and from HUD’s Partnership ...

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