In 2001, one of the Heartwood principals built the American Lung Association's Health House Model Home in Cincinnati. The American Lung Association, alarmed by an epidemic increase in the rates of asthma, and aware of the significant problem of indoor air quality, hired the best architects and building scientists in America to establish new home design criteria for building to 21st century lifestyles. Many of the design and building principles learned from that endeavor are incorporated into every Heartwood home. For asthma or allergy sufferers, why would you want anything other than the cleanest air possible in your new home?
One building criteria of particular note was the principle to "Build Tight, and Ventillate Right".
At Heartwood, for energy efficiency, your new home is constructed and insulated tight. In fact,
virtually all of our homes are Energy Star certified.
But building a home too tightly has unwanted consequences, namely the air inside your home gets trapped, thereby becoming stale and unhealthy. According to the American Lung Association, this trapped air can be 10x more polluted than outdoor air. To remedy this problem, Heartwood continues
to build and insulate as tight as we can, but then uses "air exchangers" to mechanically move the stale and contaminated indoor air to the outside, and then to replace it with clean, fresh, and then filtered outside air, several times a day. The air exchange machines today are so energy efficient that in the winter, for example, most of the energy in the outgoing heated air is transferred to the cool incoming replacement air.