Excellence In Housing
In Housing

Indoor Air Quality

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average American spends 93% of their time indoors. (87% of their life is spent inside, then another 6% of their life in automobiles.) That’s means we only spend approx. 7% of our entire life outdoors. That’s only only one half of one day per week! So the quality of our indoor air is extremely important to tour health and well being.

When building a new home or renovating one, Indoor air quality should be one of your primary areas of interest. Since the average American spends so much of their time indoors, it is alarming to know that air contaminant levels inside the average new home can be 2 to 5 times worse than the pollution levels outside.

For many new home buyers, this news might come as a surprise. They are probably aware of  toxic contaminants like lead and asbestos that have made headlines and reshaped our building codes, but many buyers find that new home construction or renovation presents its own list of contaminants and pollutants to be mindful about.

The good news is that you can take steps to ensure that your home is safe,healthy and comfortable. High-performance home building practices and innovations can create a healthy indoor environment. Equipped with the right knowledge, you can build or renovate a home with excellent indoor air quality for the health of you and your family.

Suggestions and questions to ask a builder about indoor air quality:

  • Does the home have radon-resistant features? (And does the builder provide a radon test kit and if so, how often should the test be performed after moving in?
  • Does the builder install energy recovery or heat recovery ventilators, and are they equipped with HEPA filters?
  • Does the builder use low-VOC (volatile organic compound) paints, carpeting and finishes?
  • How does the builder address the issue of moisture control in building practices and materials?
  • Is the cabinetry made with formaldehyde-free wood or particleboard?
  • Are the home’s gas appliances direct-vented to the outside?


The Carpet and Rug Industry has information about trends in carpeting, performance ratings, and selecting carpets. They state that good indoor air quality depends on good building design, implementation of effective operation and maintenance, and appropriate selection of low-emitting interior products. Since 1992, the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) has developed and administered the “Green Label” indoor air quality testing and labeling program, first for carpet and then for adhesives and cushion materials. Access this at www.carpet-rug.com.