Homes today are an energy efficiency marvel. Wall systems, windows, doors … yes, the entire building envelope … are tighter than ever before.

That’s a good thing for energy conservation. Perhaps a not-so good thing for indoor air quality. Air sealed and bottled-up like that quickly becomes stale and leads to “tight home syndrome.” It’s easy to see why indoor air is up to 5x more polluted than outdoor air.

More and more home buyers have taken notice.

So much so, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency now says home buyers will pay up to an extra $5,000 to improve indoor air quality. For a growing circle of home builders, indoor air quality (IAQ) is becoming a defining home feature … a way to differentiate themselves before increasingly discerning home buyers.

Just ask Bill Rectanus, the vice president of operations for Thrive Home Builders, a regional, Colorado-based privately held builder. Thrive delivers up to 250 homes a year, all built to exceed the EPA Indoor airPLUS standard and certified LEED Silver, Gold, or Platinum for residential construction.

“Differentiation is key to our business,” Rectanus explains. “Our passion for the environment and wellness helps us create a distinctive brand voice. It reflects a core belief.”

Part of that ethic is IAQ. “A MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) 13 rated air purification is standard in all Thrive homes,” Rectanus says. A MERV 13 system filters-out many virus-sized particles.

Not all home builders may aspire to that standard. The good news is, you may already have a great story to tell home buyers about IAQ, reports Joseph Hillenmeyer.

Hillenmeyer runs marketing for the residential new construction division at Aprilaire, manufacturer of IAQ products. He believes the story for many builders is hiding in plain sight. “Some home builders may overlook IAQ features or take them for granted,” explains Hillenmeyer. What can home builders do to better tell their IAQ story? Hillenmeyer has some ideas:

  • Make Health and Wellness a Brand Pillar. What better time than now? The pandemic amplifies the home’s central role in safeguarding family well-being.
  • Think Big Picture. IAQ is a lot more than installing a ventilator in the attic Hillenmeyer says. It’s the smart whole house application of: Air purity, Air freshness, Humidity control, Temperature. These four attributes should be managed together, a message Hillenmeyer’s company strongly advises consumers and homebuilding pros. “The four directly impact health, comfort, home preservation, and energy efficiency. Not many home builders build for all four, so it represents an opportunity for anyone looking for rapid inroads with residential health and wellness,” he advises.
  • Promote What You’re Already Doing. “Some builders do good things with IAQ and aren’t talking about it or talking it up enough,” says Hillenmeyer. “Maybe you routinely install ventilators because they’re required by code. Talk about them anyway. Point out the health benefits of a well-ventilated home. COVID-19 has taught all of us hard lessons about ventilation.”
  • Speak IAQ. Air purification and filtering are other hot topic areas,” Hillenmeyer says. “But don’t get too technical. The bottom line is that can help improve health and that’s what you want your customer to understand. Better filtration means less viruses, pollen, dust and dander.”
  • Expect Robust Support from IAQ Equipment Manufacturers. They should be able to help with your staff training and promotional support. For example, Hillenmeyer says Aprilaire offers home builders and contractors a wealth of live and online home builder resources.

IAQ awareness runs high today. While it may lack the glamour of granite countertops, upscale faucets, or hardwood floors, it does appeal to a growing segment of your audience. For homeowners, there are few things as important as a healthy home. Give IAQ a bigger role in your business development strategy.

Learn more about indoor air quality and what you can do to offer more value, comfort, and health.