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Quality Homes is an Air Tightness Champion!

Quality Homes has been consistently recognized by Building Knowledge Canada as an Air Tightness Champion.


An airtight home is more energy efficient and therefore is less costly to heat and cool. It also means that the home will be more comfortable, healthier, safer and more durable.


Air Tightness Champion for Modular Detached Homes, with a 1.01 ACH (Air Changes per Hour) @ 50 pa (Pascal Pressure) and an NLR (Normalized Leakage Rate) of 0.07 vs industry standard of 3.0 ACH.


Building Knowledge Canada’s Air Tightness Champion program recognizes residential builders who are consistently building to excellent air tightness levels. This recognition is not meant to identify the tightest of buildings, but rather to showcase builders who have established best practices and consistently deliver airtight homes and buildings at industry-leading levels.


What does it all mean?  We sat down with the team at Building Knowledge Canada to chat about air tightness and what that means for Quality Homeowners.



What exactly is an airtight home?


Airtight homes are homes that are consciously and carefully built using best practices and techniques so that air leakage and the passing of air through the house envelope is minimized resulting in a home that has better control over its indoor air quality and temperature.


 “A leaky home requires your furnace and your air conditioner to work harder and therefore it costs you more money to heat and cool your home.”


Why is it advantageous to have an airtight home?


Homes that are leaky can bring in dust, allergens, and pests from the outside. A leaky home will also cost more to heat and cool because air that is coming in is “unconditioned”.  It is hot in the summer and needs to be cooled, or it is cold in the winter and needs to be heated.


Building Tight & Ventilating Right


An airtight home is much more energy efficient. To ensure that the air inside the home stays fresh and clean, these high performance homes are equipped with a fresh air circulator, also called a heat recovery ventilator (HRV). This fresh air machine is designed to bring in fresh air from the outside and exhaust stale air from the inside, while also capturing the energy that was used to heat or cool the stale air and transferring it to the fresh incoming air.


Every Quality Home features whole home ventilation provided by an HRV to allow for greater control of ventilation and humidity.


Airtight Home + Proper Ventilation = Clean Air In Your Home


Air is filtered before it comes into your home so it has less dust and allergens resulting in a home that has fresh, clean, and healthy air.


A fresh air machine is used to transfer energy from the stale air going out to the fresh air coming in so that it is heated or cooled according to the season. This helps the homeowner save on utility bills. When air is not leaking out of the home, the home is more comfortable as it is easier to regulate the temperature and humidity throughout.


“Unwanted air leakage into your home can put you and your loved ones at serious health risks from condensation issues. Airtight, high performance homes put that worry in the past.”


Using building science and best practices, our high performance Quality Homes provide a variety of ‘quality of life’ benefits:


  • More comfortable
  • More durable
  • Excellent indoor air quality all year round
  • Home smells fresh
  • Less dusty
  • Increased energy efficiency


How do Quality Homes compare to the average home when it comes to air tightness?


Quality Homes are significantly more energy efficient than traditionally built homes. In a typical house, it can be expected that the inside air is exchanged and reconditioned (heated and air conditioned) with the outside air four to seven times each hour. In a Quality Home, the air only needs to be reconditioned two times per hour – a massive savings.


“Quality Homes are energy efficient homes that feature better air quality, so they are more comfortable. They have a consistent flow of conditioned fresh air, are less dusty, and the temperature is easier to regulate.”


How does Quality Homes reach such a high level of air tightness?


Building an airtight home starts with good construction design and details. Then it requires very careful attention while the building enclosure is being constructed – the right materials applied at the right time. It helps when the building environment is clean and at a consistent temperature so that materials adhere properly.


Quality Homes’ indoor climate-controlled factory setting provides the ideal environment to ensure every home reach a high standard for air tightness.


Other features such as triple glazed windows and high efficiency furnaces, which are included in every Quality Home, also contribute to this high rating of air tightness.


“Thanks to our advanced construction methods, increased insulation in the building envelope as well as high performance windows, wasteful heat loss from your home is significantly decreased.”


How does Quality Homes test its homes for air tightness?


Although air tightness tests are not required by any building code, Quality Homes chooses to test all of homes using a specially calibrated device called a blower door.


The process was developed by a famous Canadian, Harold Orr, over 40 years ago. Essentially, a large fan in the blower door creates the equivalent of roughly a 30 km/hour wind on all sides of the house at the same time. This allows 3rd party verification that all of all the building enclosure details have been completed correctly.


A frame is set up in a main doorway of the home and a large fan is inserted into the frame. Special sensors that sit inside and outside the home measure the pressure differential between the indoors and outdoors when the fan is activated. The fan is aimed outward so that it creates a negative pressure (or a vacuum) drawing air from the house and blowing it outside at a high rate. Naturally, the home looks for equilibrium between the inside and outside air pressures, therefore the vacuum created inside the home causes air to seep in through the hidden cracks, holes and gaps around the house. The computer software connected to the fan takes a series of measurements and readings to decipher how many times the entire volume of air inside the home is replaced with outdoor air through the leaks each hour. The result is called Air Changes per Hour (ACH). The higher the ACH, the more leaky the home is. The air test can also tell if the holes are many small leaks, or a few large leaks. It can also tell how large the hole would be if one were to add all of the gaps and holes together. This gives a sense of how much air is leaking through the home every hour of every day.


The 3rd party verifier can then move around the house and find spots where there may be air leakage. Gaps around windows or doors, or hidden cracks will feel like they have a breeze coming through them so that leaks can be quickly identified and corrected before the home is turned over to the customer.  Although, by the nature of building with concrete, wood and other construction materials, there will always be some level of air leakage, the goal is to reduce the air leakage to as low as reasonably possible through good construction techniques and best practices.


“[The air test] is one of the best quality assurance measures any builder can use to verify quality construction.”


At the end of the day, the only way to know how airtight a home is, is to test it. That’s why this test is included in every Quality Home built.


How does air tightness affect the resale value of my home?


More often, home inspectors are using blower doors and infrared cameras to assess the quality of construction of houses during pre-sale inspections. Good air tightness results are an indication of a good quality home that is less likely to have hidden problems such as mould and rot, when good building science principles and practices are followed.


If the home is labeled by an NRCan backed home labeling program such as the EnerGuide, Energy Star® for New Homes, or CHBA Net Zero Homes label, it will likely be more attractive to potential buyers improving the resale value.


For more information on the Air Tightness Program by Building Knowledge Canada, visit their website at: www.buildingknowledge.ca



Let Quality Homes be your Air Tightness Champion!


Being recognized as an Air Tightness Champion by Building Knowledge Canada is incredibly meaningful to Quality Homes because it reinforces our commitment to building scientifically constructed homes of superior quality for our customers. If you are in the market to build a custom home, we hope that you will contact our team and let us show you how a Quality Home can provide you with the best in energy efficiency and comfort.




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