Green Industry Articles

Focus on Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)

Indoor air quality (IAQ) has become an increasingly important element in home buyers' decision-making, and buyers have become more attuned to mold, radon and other issues that affect air quality.

Many air quality dangers once were invisible and difficult to quantify, but thanks to evolving technology, detecting and rating IAQ has gotten easier. In addition, new programs have emerged to inspect and rate homes' IAQ. One such program is the EPA’s Indoor airPlus.

Eric Werling, the Indoor airPlus coordinator, presented the April 2010 Webinar and discussed the one-year-old rating and home labeling program.

Indoor airPlus is a sister label to ENERGY STAR® and to get the label, a home first must meet ENERGY STAR® requirements. Gaining the Indoor airPLUS label requires up to 30 additional home design and construction features, the goal of which is to protect homes from moisture and mold, radon, pest-related contaminants, combustion gases, and other airborne pollutants that affect air
quality.

A home is then inspected and verified by an independent third-party to ensure that a home complies with the program requirements.

Werling addressed some of the illnesses that can stem from or be exacerbated by poor IAQ, and those include lung cancer and asthma. In an effort to improve IAQ, American consumers spend about $1 billion per year on air cleaners, duct cleaning and IAQ testing, he noted. "Customers will pay extra for good IAQ," he commented.

Although home builders of new homes are most attuned to Indoor airPlus, Werling said real estate practitioners also play a role in improving the housing stock's IAQ.

Practitioners can:

• Discuss the potential for better health that comes from living in a house with good IAQ and educate consumers about IAQ.

• Assess buyers' concerns about IAQ and determine whether it's a priority, and then point them properties that feature the EPA label.

• Explain the various green home labeling systems and help consumers see what benefits each provides.

In addition, practitioners can become an allied program partner and use the Indoor airPlus promotional and educational resources.

Green REsource Council Newsletter, April 2010