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Energy Efficient, or Green Airtight Buildings Could be Making People Sick

Energy efficient buildings breeding mold?
(Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

According to numerous leading health experts, airtight buildings could be causing health and respiratory issues.

So much has been made of energy efficient, green buildings that save energy and have lower heating and cooling bills, but could there be a lurking health issue?

The Daily Mail newspaper in England reports such buildings could be susceptible to mold and other allergens that can cause respiratory issues.   The paper published this week a major study about how airtight “green” buildings often don’t allow for necessary outside air circulation and that can encourage mold growth.

They pointed to the Alberta, Canada Appeals Court Building which has been empty since 2001.  The 87-year-old building was given a huge “green” energy retrofit and remodel, but after re-opening,  workers and officials began to complain of fatigue, irritated lungs and watery eyes.

Turns out the airtight building was a breeding ground for mold.   Officials who ran air quality tests found even moderate amounts of moisture were being trapped inside the building.  Without any way to be circulated outside on a regular basis,  the moisture began to accumulate, creating mold and spores.   British officials estimate between 20 and 50% of newly refurbished buildings in England could suffer from this syndrome.

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