Talk about smart, green homes! New, high-tech, energy efficient (yet simple and relatively inexpensive) bathroom fans can ventilate an entire house.

Several manufacturers, including Air King, Broan-NuTone and Panasonic have developed bath fans that can rid a home of off-gassing, formaldehydes, chemicals and humid air and can communicate with one another to maintain constant air movement throughout an ultra-tight new home. This is in accordance with the green building ASHRAE 62.2 standard that calls for such continuous movement of air throughout the home.

This requirement can be fulfilled by a whole house energy recovery ventilator or a central exhaust system, but it can also be fulfilled by a smart, little bathroom fan. These units can communicate with each other; know when to cycle 80 cfm and when to drop to 40 cfm; and can factor dew point, occupancy, and humidity into how long and fast to run.

Broan-NuTone’s SmartSense technology, for example, links fans in multiple bathrooms together to share the daily air-exchange requirement and evenly distribute airflow throughout the home. So when a bather turns a fan on, it remembers how long it ran at a higher cfm and deducts the time from the home’s daily requirement, and the other fans in the home run less throughout the day. The fans are tied together through existing wires already servicing other systems in the home, so there is no extra wiring necessary for home builders.

Panasonic’s WhisperGreen fans exhaust the air while creating a minor negative pressure that brings fresh air into the home. Homeowners don’t have to worry about whether or not the fan is running. The system can be set to run constantly at a low speed until it’s sensor detects moisture, then it will boost up in power to run at a higher speed for up to an hour. Even better, WhisperGreen’s DC motor at low speed pulls the energy equivalent of a night light.

In keeping with noise level requirements of green building standards, these fans must operate at a super quiet level of 1.0 sone, and some are even quieter. Air King’s AKF100D Deluxe Quiet Energy Star fan runs barely audible in its .3 sone continuous mode.

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