We spend a lot of time thinking about the health impacts of the building when designing an energy-efficient home. The ventilation rate needs to be designed and the materials used should be selected with care.
Then construction starts and it is cold outside. The next thing you know there is a portable heater sitting in the future living room. These machines are terrible for air quality for those building your project. Fuel oil off-gassing can have serious health impacts. The chemicals from the burn process can be absorbed by wood and drywall in your project and held until the project is finished.
Here is a solution used on a project we designed to be LEED Certified to keep the burn process outside the building envelope while sending the heat to the inside of the building.
From a report done by Michigan State University: Following tests of 18 types of portable, unvented heaters, Consumer Reports states that: “We calculated the concentration of four gases produced by these heaters — carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and sulphur dioxide — in a 10x12x8-foot room with normal ventilation. The levels of each gas were high enough to be a serious health hazard to high-risk groups, including pregnant women, asthmatics, people with cardiovascular disease, children, and the elderly. The levels we calculated for some pollutants may pose risks for healthy people.”