Indoor Environmental Quality (LEED EQ Category)

The EQ Category is probably the most complicated LEED for Homes category – at least to me anyway!  It deals with HVAC, contamination control, moisture control, etc.  These are all things I’m no way near an expert on.  And as you probably guessed, there’s a separate checklist that can apply to this category, too.  Here’s the deal:

There are two, somewhat alternative paths in this category.  You can choose to follow the Energy Star Indoor Air Package (IAP) path or you can attempt to get your points by complying with multiple individual LEED subcategories.  The reality is that both of the paths share a lot of requirements – the IAP path is a bit more stringent…and of course that’s the one we’ve chosen to follow.

The Energy Star Indoor Air Package (IAP) is a detailed list of requirements that addresses the following indoor environment concerns:

  • Moisture Control – foundation, walls, roofs, plumbing systems,
  • Radon Control – wasn’t an issue in our area (North Texas)
  • Pest Barriers – minimizing pathways, termite prevention
  • HVAC Systems – equipment, ductwork, ventilation, air filtration

The IAP is a yes/no point-getter.  While there are a few optional requirements in the IAP, you either comply or not with the standard as a whole…no partial credit!  We were told by our Home Provider that few builders actually get the points for complying with the IAP.  We believe we will be compliant, although it took a lot of advanced planning and attention to detail.  I couldn’t have worked through this section without our builder’s and our HVAC guy’s help.  If you need a good HVAC specialist, call Greg Gannon at Tempo Mechanical Services.

So, we expect to have the points for the IAP (a whooping 13 points!). 

We are also eligible for a few more points in this category.  Two points that we’re hoping to get are awarded for an advanced whole-house ventilation system.  Our core HVAC came with a ventilation system (basically, whenever the blower runs a motorized damper opens and pulls in fresh air).  However, the system can be upgraded and made more efficient by installing a heat exchange system.  The system works basically the same except that the air coming in from the outside runs through a heat exchange before mixing with the indoor return air.  That way when it’s 104 degrees outside and 75 degrees inside, the 104 degree air gets cooled in a very efficient way BEFORE mixing with the 75 degree air in the return air mechanism.  The upgrade costs us $1600, but we have an issue…the HVAC guy wasn’t told to install it when he was installing the HVAC system and we need to add it back in.  I’m waiting to see if that’s going to be possible.  Yes, it was a mistake!

Indoor Environmental Quality expected points:  20 out of a possible 21.