Rethinking Home Design for Healthier Homes

A Complete Approach

Design is the heart of a healthy home. In early stages of the building process, design must plan for and take into account style, safety, durability, and health, for both multi-family and single family homes. In the status quo, the design process that dominates is “disintegrated”—time is wasted, the trades do not align, productivity falters, and systems fail. And while these are inconvenient to both builders and architects, the occupants are the ones who ultimately suffer.

Putting the health and wellness of dwelling occupants, primarily indoor air quality, at the center of design is essential for a truly holistic approach. But it also requires looking beyond just one or two product categories to find a whole-home solution.

Integrated Design

Integrated design is impactful design. It’s all about breaking dow the fragmented processes and demonstrating the cohesiveness necessary to provide builders the best possible solution for their customers.

Joe Lstiburek, Ph.D., P.Eng., ASHRAE fellow, and principal,Building Science Corporation, emphasized at a recent Trane Building Science Forum “I don’t think it’s practical anymore to separate the building enclosure design from the mechanical design. They are interrelated, and therefore they must be designed simultaneously.” By taking this approach, there is a greater opportunity to design a more robust mechanical system that can lead to improved IAQ. This should include looking at things like ventilation, humidity management, air infiltration, energy efficiency, and right-sizing best practices.

Trane created the Tranquility innovative whole-home approach to building healthier homes, addressing the core needs of humans in the environment where they spend 70% of their time. The method of integrated design in the Tranquility approach helps builders create quieter, healthier, better performing homes. Working with product and building science experts, the solution provides a stronger value proposition than traditional design because it includes important participants at the start of the process and helps curate the elements needed to reach specific performance goals.

“Integrated design has provided us with more clarity and understanding of the interdependencies of building products,”says Matthew Orcutt, portfolio leader, Ducted Systems, Trane Residential HVAC & Supply. “Through our holistic approach centered in building science, we take a look at how our products connect with others such as windows, doors, insulation, and air barriers and air infiltration, and take the lead in coordinating with these manufacturers on behalf of the builder, to deliver a more cohesive, energy efficient, comfortable and sustainable solution,” Orcutt added.

A Foundation of Health

A recent Energy Pulse, Shelton Group study found consumers want quiet, efficient, and healthy homes: 72% of those surveyed believe their home has a moderate to strong impact on their health while 71% think an energy-efficient home is a healthy home.

Healthy homes can’t be an afterthought. Integrated design infuses wellness into every aspect of a home by engaging with experts and stakeholders during the early stages of the design process. This interaction and the investment made upfront in the form of reconfiguring the design process and utilizing premium, right-sized HVAC equipment, will result in reduced call backs and warranty claims, and differentiate builders of healthier homes.

By leveraging the best in building science and an innovative, whole-home approach, delivering peace of mind is attainable—for both you and your customers.

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