Ventilation Standards at Work

November/December 2005
This article originally appeared in the November/December 2005 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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November 01, 2005
There was a time when it seemed unlikely that Wisconsin housing could be too tight, but times have changed.
        After a full-scale review of our weatherization measures in 2004,Wisconsin decided to implement some changes. In July 2005,Wisconsin’s Home Energy Plus Weatherization program began to move away from a building tightness guideline to a ventilation standard in evaluating its weatherization efforts.This change in our procedures has really been a change of mind-set. For almost 20 years,Wisconsin had used calculations based loosely on ASHRAE standards to set tightness limitations for weatherized homes.         In practical terms, these tightness limitations didn’t give us enough flexibility to deal with the buildings and with our customers. Some houses that were below the guidelines before weatherization got virtually no sealing work—even when it was needed to maintain the intended air barrier between the house and the outside. Other houses with high occupancy rates needed help to ensure that there was enough fresh air to go around.         The weatherization program in Wisconsin had long recognized and addressed the problem of backdrafting appliances in tighter homes. But tight homes also pose other indoor air problems— primarily moisture and pollutants. These problems led ...

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