Just got sent this article (thanks Paula Olsiewski) “The Passive House in New York” which is an interesting article about the increasingly popular concept of passive houses. As the name suggests, passive houses maintain an appropriate ambient temperature without heating or cooling, mostly through airtights seals, a lot of insulation, and some sort of air exchange system.
Energy savings and comfort aside, what I’m really curious about is the effect of this sort of design on the microbiology of these environments. With work showing for example that in a hospital with sealed windows the indoor environment looks mostly like a sick person, it’s not clear that “sealed in” is the best state for a healthy building microbiome (if such a thing exists). I’m obviously on board with energy savings, but wonder if there are long term negative microbiological effects. More detail on the filters in the air exchangers would be helpful… if they really do bring in a lot of outdoor air and don’t filter out the microbes maybe there isn’t a problem.
At the least, seems ripe for a detailed longitudinal study!