6. Ventilation and Exhaust Controls. LEED requires mechanical ventilation, and the homeowner must know how to use it. Some buyers have an expectation that today’s green homes can be completely run from a smart phone, so ask them about their expectations. Think about how they’ll be using the system.
The right controls will be contingent on the ventilation strategy. Is it exhaust, supply, or balanced? Continuous or intermittent? Are other systems involved, such as the bath fan or air handler? For exhaust-only systems, a delay timer is helpful in the bathroom. And even if the bath fan is running continuously to meet ASHRAE requirements, you’ll probably need a boost switch to kick it into a higher mode after showers. If you’re using central ductwork with an energy recovery ventilator or heat recovery ventilator, make sure the ventilator interlocks with the air handler.
7. Air Sealing. Foss said the common issue she sees with air sealing is penetrations through the air barrier. “Make sure you think about what is the air barrier, and relay that to the trades so they know when they make penetrations,” she said. Decide who is responsible for penetrations. Will the plumber seal any holes he makes? Are you hiring an air sealing company? Also remember that spray foam is not a total air sealing package. You still need to seal between studs, for example. In multifamily projects, make sure there is no air movement between units, as well as between units and the hallway. Don’t assume fire stopping is the perfect air barrier.
To avoid issues, include the air sealing details in your plans. Assign responsibility and train all crews. Do a mock-up unit that the green rater can pre-inspect—this is often used as a training opportunity for the crews. Finally, consider purchasing a blower door test for yourself, and start testing.