The V Factor

The “V” Factor: What You Need to Know About Ventilation in New Construction.
Ceiling Air Vent
Ventilation is becoming an important topic in the world of energy efficient homebuilding (sometimes referred to as the “V” Factor). With the increase in green building and the tighter building envelopes that result, a new problem has emerged for builders. New buildings that are increasingly airtight can have poor indoor air quality.

Why the increase in air quality problems?
Older homes weren’t built as tightly as today’s standards and were ventilated by the wind or natural air leakage. Let’s not forget that some older homes had no insulation or insulation made of natural materials. These older products did not include volatile organic compounds (VOCs), flame retardants or other additives commonly found in building products today, so ventilation wasn’t as much of an issue.

Today roughly 25 million Americans suffer from asthma. The idea of an “airtight” house  – which might be energy efficient – may not provide proper ventilation ensure their health.

Today’s tight building envelopes require controlled mechanical ventilation to maintain optimal air quality. And it’s a part of energy efficiency that can be overlooked.

Which type of ventilation is best? There are a number of factors that ultimately influence which system is most appropriate. These include code requirements, the size of the building, combustion appliance type, and budget. Four common ventilation system options are especially suited to energy efficient homebuilding:

  • Exhaust Only — This common method uses a small exhaust fan placed in a kitchen or bathroom, which runs continuously or intermittently to exhaust stale air and moisture. These systems are inexpensive and easy to install.
  • Supply Only — In supply only ventilation systems, a fan brings in fresh air and stale air escapes through cracks and air-leakage sites in the home. These systems can include a filter to trap pollen and dust or a dehumidifier to control indoor humidity levels.
  • Balanced — A balanced system provides a much better ventilation solution because it includes separate fans that drive both inlet and exhaust air flow, which allows control of where the fresh air comes from and where it is delivered. Typical systems are designed to ventilate living rooms and bedrooms where people spend most of their time.
  • Balanced with Heat Recovery — These systems co-locate the usually separate fresh air and exhaust fans and an air-to-air heat exchanger so that the outgoing house air will precondition the incoming outdoor air. This system is ideal for colder climates.

Have questions about the proper ventilation system for your home or commercial building? Contact us today.

Confined Space Guidelines

OSHA’s Permit-Required Confined Space Guidelines

Confined Space

As a partner in your success, we want to share the latest Confined Spaces Guidelines from OSHA. You can find the complete publication here.

Residential and commercial builders, remodeling contractors, home inspectors, sales representatives, and estimating contractors are all effected by these new guidelines so be sure to share this with your entire team.

First things first, what is a Confined Space?

A confined space is a space that…

  • Is large enough for a person to enter and work
  • Has limited or restricted means of entry and exit
  • Is not designed for continuous occupancy

OSHA defines a permit-required confined space as a space that has at least one of the following characteristics:

  • Contains or has the potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere
  • Contains a material that has the potential to engulf an entrant
  • Has an internal configuration such that an entrant could be trapped or asphyxiated
  • Contains any other recognized serious safety and health hazard

Hazards associated with confined spaces include:

  • Slips, Trips, & Falls
  • Electrical equipment and wiring
  • Flammable materials or chemicals
  • Health hazards (i.e. Dust, Mold, Rodents)
  • Mechanical equipment
  • Hot surfaces
  • Combustible materials
  • Utility Lines (i.e. Gas)
  • Structural Collapse
  • Additional Concerns
  • Noise
    • Amplified due to acoustics of the space
    • Damages hearing and affects communication
  • Slippery or wet surfaces
    • Increased risk of falls and electrical shock
  • Personal protective equipment
    • More common PPE such as hard hat, hard-toed boots, safety glasses, face shield, gloves, and overalls must be worn when needed

If a hazardous atmosphere is detected while a worker is in the confined space:

  • All activities should stop
  • The worker(s) should exit immediately
  • The hazard should be evaluated
  • Protective measures should be taken

Always remember:   

  • Test the atmosphere prior to entry and periodically
  • Never enter a confined space if the atmospheric conditions are not suitable
  • Ensure an attendant is outside the confined space at all times
  • Follow your company’s confined space permit

Prevent delays and keep your job site safe by:

  • Identifying Confined Spaces in advance
  • Identifying all hazards in the space
  • Controlling all hazards in the space
  • Educating and training employees
  • Avoiding creating permit required spaces
  • Staying current as the rules change
  • Staying on top of your program
  • Communicating with GC and Subs

Trust DeVere Insulation to uphold the highest standards of safety to keep your job site safe. Contact us today!

DeVere Insulation Sponsors The Great Give

Great Give

DeVere Insulation is proud to have been a sponsor of The 2015 Great Give in support of Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS).

The Great Give is a 24-hour virtual fundraiser hosted by the Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County (CFAAC) to raise awareness and money for local non-profit organizations in Anne Arundel County. To date, the event has raised over $1.1 million for AAC non-profit organizations. This year was the first time AACPS participated in the Great Give.

Money raised during the Great Give will be divided evenly among each AACPS cluster to be used to support the following strategic initiatives:

  1. Early Literacy—classroom materials and resources to promote early literacy from Birth to 2nd Grade.
  2. Technology in the Classroom—tablets and devices to support and enhance instruction.
  3. Summer & Co-Curricular Enhancements—funding to defray the cost of before, during, and after school activities and provide scholarships for students to attend summer programs.
  4. Support for College & Career Readiness—events and opportunities to prepare students for college and careers;
  5. Family & Community Engagement—events and activities to engage and inform families and communities about the work going on in the school so that they can better support their children.

Find more about The Great Give on Twitter (#GreatGiveAACPS).