A Green House Starts In The Crawl Space

By Tom Saucier
CEO, Crawlspace Doctor

It is easy for everyone to overlook the crawlspace of a home when thinking Green.

When you think of going Green you naturally think of Light bulbs, appliances, insulation, windows etc. Very few people immediately realize that one of the major sources for energy loss is the crawlspace of the home. The foundation vents that were originally designed to allow humidity to escape not only allow hot, humid air to enter in the Summer months but also allow cold air to enter in the Winter months. This process makes the heating and cooling system work much harder to compensate for the adverse weather conditions.

Home owners strive to have their builder use the best windows, insulation, house wrap and other materials to create the tightest most energy efficient home they can. Most people do not consider that having foundation vents allow outside humid or cold air to enter the home. This can be detrimental to the goal of an efficient Green home.

Ongoing studies like the one conducted by Advance Energy and the Department of Energy ( www.crawlspaces.org ) have proven the theory that an unvented, closed crawlspace is the most energy efficient design in the crawlspace of a home. As an added benefit this method also controls humidity in the crawlspace and helps to prevent the growth of mold and fungus. When builders design a home with an unvented crawlspace they often have to downsize the heating and cooling unit because the home is now not fighting outside elements.

Studies like this have helped to rewrite the building codes throughout the country. The International Building Codes now allow for unvented crawlspaces and most Building Codes now allow for unvented crawlspaces.

Most Building Commissioners encourage the practice of unvented crawlspaces in all new construction.

Unfortunately foundation vents have been a standard practice for most crawlspace homes since they started building homes on crawlspaces.

It is common knowledge that if you have a basement you would never leave your windows open year around. Why do homeowners accept the practice of having foundation vents in their crawlspace? A crawlspace is nothing but a short basement.