Research: Preventing Toxic Pollution From Attached Garages

Research: Preventing Toxic Pollution From Attached Garages

When looked at as a group, studies of attached garages offer helpful information about when and how carbon dioxide and fumes pollute the home.
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Green Builder Media

Friday, November 20, 2015 - 6:30am

CAMPAIGN: Indoor Air Quality


Among the more interest observations to come out of 20 years of research on attached garages is the fact that they have lousy energy efficiency. This makes sense of course. Few builder spend a lot of time insulating and sealing the garage. But blower door tests found that garages are often TEN TIMES leakier than the home they're connected to. Even in the best case scenarios, they leak twice as much air.

But hold on, the next question is, "Do we really want garages to be as airtight as a home?" On a gut level, you might think, sure, I want the leakiest garage possible, so toxins will clear out naturally. But that's not how it actually works. Air flows from higher pressure to lower pressure areas. We'll get into that more below.

The ideal scenario is to have all airflow in all parts of a structure under the control of the occupant, not blowing wild. That's why, In a tight, modern house, it's essential to install mechanical ventilation (typically an HRV or ERV) so that toxins don't have time reach high concentrations before the next air change.