Wildfires, Air Quality & Your Home

A passive house has many super powers, among them exceptional air quality. This matters more than ever!

A passive house has many super powers, among them exceptional air quality. This matters more than ever!

Protecting your health

At the start of this exceptional wildfire season, EkoBuilt’s Mik and Paul devoted an episode of The Passive House Show on YouTube to this very topic. Unfortunately, it’s only become more relevant as the season has rolled on.

This conversation is a great reminder that often folks think a home’s “natural breathability” is a good thing, when in fact the opposite is true. Waking up in an conventionally built home in an area affected by wildfire smoke, you’ll have noticed right away that you can often smell the smoke indoors. This is not good.

A passive home has an exceptionally thick and tight wall assembly. This makes the home incredibly good at regulating its temperature without additional inputs, but it also keeps out air pollutants and protects occupant health.

It’s not just the wall assembly, of course; that’s the foundational or starting point. A passive home’s ERV (energy recovery ventilator) acts as a fresh air machine, a key component in the health and comfort of a passive home.

Passive house and air quality

Although we can’t see it, the smoky, hazy air produced by wildfires raging even at huge distances but carried on the wind, is full of dangerous particulates.

A passive home’s ERV filtration system will remove those particulates, along with the irritation and health risks that come with exposure.

Our homes often use the Jablotron Futura, whose standard filter is often more than up to the job. It’s the filter that was in place when that YouTube segment was recorded. For homes situated right in the heart of wildfire country (California, western Canada), the optional charcoal filter is an important addition.

Zehnder is another ERV option that is quite good for a passive home, but it has the potential to conflict with some local building codes (we can actually no longer use it in our home province of Ontario); current code is still much more focused on conventional builds. We know it will catch up, but in the meantime we’re constantly on top of the best available options and the Jablotron is excellent.

An interior picture of EkoBuilt's model passive house, which is also net zero.
On the day Mik and Paul recorded their conversation on wildfires, our local area was blanket in heavy smoke. The inside of the EkoBuilt model home was a welcome haven from the awful air quality outside.

Plan your healthiest home

If a new home is on the cards for you, go passive. It will create the most sustainable future possible for you and your loved ones, through exceptionally low energy bills, resilience to extreme weather events, and supreme comfort and health.

We ship our passive house plans and kits across North America.

Ready to talk? Give us a shout!

You might also want to read

If you have a conventionally built home, check out our 2020 post on ToxBox air filters!

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