Building with Ducts in Conditioned Spaces  

View “Why Build with Ducts Inside?” video here.

For years, a common practice in new home building has been to locate HVAC ducts and air handlers in unconditioned spaces. From an energy efficiency perspective, installing ductwork through an unconditioned attic or crawlspace makes about as much sense as running ducts outside a window and into the next room.

Several Pacific Northwest builders have discovered that designing and building homes where HVAC ducts and air handlers are located inside conditioned spaces can reduce energy use by 15 to 20%, compared to typical HVAC installations. If skillfully implemented, builders can also reduce construction costs.  Below is a summary of how builders and homeowners can benefit from homes built with ducts inside.

Builder Benefits:

  • Homes that use up to 20% less energy
  • Smaller heating systems
  • Simpler, shorter duct systems
  • Path to meeting evolving energy codes
  • Higher utility incentives and tax credits
  • Lower installation cost (potentially)
  • Systems that are easier to install and inspect
  • Better indoor air quality and moisture management
  • Competitive marketing advantage
  • An attractive path to ENERGY STAR® certification

Homeowner Benefits:

  • Lower energy bills
  • More comfortable home
  • Better indoor air quality
  • Visible ducts are more likely to be installed correctly
  • Invisible ducts can be damaged and damage can go undetected

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