This article came out on June 8 and deserves a response from DOE and some Home Energy Pros!
Green Buildings Hazardous to Health? Report Cites Risks of Weatherization
This is the kind of fodder that gets people to debunk home energy efficiency improvements. It reminds me of the articles a few years ago bashing the Energy Star program because there may have been some errors in calculating efficiency...
Thoughts? What are some good points to make in a rebuttal? I'm thinking ERVs as part of any major changes to the envelope.
Actually from the little they stated, they are right on most points - the only item one could pic on is the word untested, as many of these items have been tested & we know what works, what doesn't, and what can cause issues.
The problem falls on those that don't fully understand all the issues and slap insulation in walls with bulk water issues, tighten up the house without ventilating right, etc...
For those of you who are ripping on Fox for the article...
If you would look a little closer and do your due diligence, you would find that this an AP story, not a Fox story. Fox is only relaying the message put out by AP on a study done by someone else (Institute of Medicine).
In other words, Fox is only the messenger in this case and should be treated as such.
I've looked closer and cannot find evidence that anything other than the photo accompanying Fox's article is AP. Please provide the link to the AP story that you (seem to have) found.
Here's a link to a description of the report at the site of one of its sources.
Perhaps too eager to mock green, Fox gave the story an unfortunate slant by putting ASHRAE & BPI standards outside the frame. I agree with Sean.
You can definitely cause more problems than you solve by implementing poorly planned changes to seal your envelope but it's just frustrating to know that some people will read a report like this and use it as an excuse not to act at all.
I think a response from DOE on how following established standards and guidelines can prevent any negative impacts from an energy efficiency upgrade is warranted here. Maybe a comment on the importance of getting a certified professional to perform energy efficiency upgrades to avoid such problems.
Why single out "Green" construction? As an Energy Star verifier, I look at many new homes, both in and out of the program. Without verification it is common to see attic baffles installed incorrectly and insulation missing in critical spaces for example, inviting not only poor performance but Ice damming in the winter, roof damage and mold. This is just one example. This isn't a "green" problem.
In existing homes, it's more likely that the ductwork is defective in some way than not. It's not breaking news to find a supply duct disconnected causing the house pressure to go negative which sucks fumes in from the garage and under the house.
Or how many homes are built with no return air relief from the bedrooms which causes the core of the home to go negative just by closing the bedroom doors? This isn't a "Green" problem. At least we in the green industry are aware that these are issues and know how to correct them.
Why haven't you nominated yourself instead of suggesting that someone should do something?
DOE might not be the best messenger to a segment of the population that believes DOE should be eliminated so that the government can be smaller.
If you draft a rebuttal, some of us would probably be happy to help you polish it and many of us might sign on.
Joe Romm weighed in on this today.
Every homeowner should carefully research the contractor or firm as well as the measures that will be implemented in her/his home. Most of my best work has been removing and repairing crap work installed by other contractors. The only thing missing in Fox's consumer protection/public health piece is "hire a certified building performance professional."
Fox's sloppy journalism aside, educating the public is the job of the building science community.