The ECHO System

Homeowners looking for more space are all too familiar with the cold, damp and dingy basement. Now the Enclosure Conditioned Housing (ECHO) SystemTM, winner of the Ottawa-Carleton Home Builders' Technology Award, has helped you create the "perfect basement" in your own home. With this System you have

  • depressurized, ventilated and drained sub floors which can be finished like floors upstairs,
  • depressurized, ventilated and drained perimeter walls,
  • mechanical, variable rate heat, recovery house ventilation,
  • house depressurization testing capability.

The ECHO System insulation, ventilation, dehumidification and water drainage system is incorporated in specially constructed basement perimeter stud walls and sub floors. ECHO System ventilation and drainage technology keeps building and insulation materials dry in what might otherwise be damp and musty basement floor and perimeter wall cavities.

The System eliminates foundation water leakage. Its continuous, depressurized envelope cavity prevents soil and building material moisture, gases and mold spores from entering the living space. Its energy efficient, variable speed blower, provides extra house ventilation when you need it.

Here is how it is done. First, in an existing finished basement, old insulation, studs and carpets are removed in the areas to be finished with the System. Next, cracks in the foundation walls are air-sealed. Then the ECHO System perimeter stud walls and/or raised sub-floors are constructed.

The ECHO raised floor is hollow yet has a thermal resistance of R4 and a thickness of less than 2 inches. This floor is drained either by a standard floor drain or by a hole(s) to the sub-slab. It is sealed at the edges where there is no connected ECHO wall. Sub-slab depressurization (SSD) may be included. This prevents soil gas entry in areas not covered by the ECHO sub-floor. It can also help to keep the slab from being damp, and exhaust humidity from existing stud walls. ECHO perimeter stud walls are fully insulated (air can move through batt insulation, and glass and mineral fibers are not damaged by water), contain sealed electrical outlets, are sealed at the top and either connected to an ECHO sub-floor or sealed and drained at the slab.

The complete perimeter stud wall - raised floor assembly is exhausted to the outside by a continuous duty blower. The System is pre-commissioned (pressure-tested and leaks sealed) before drywall installation. This ensures complete venting of the wall-floor assembly at the lowest possible exhaust rates for the System layout and foundation type. After the drywall is installed, the System is commissioned and certified, setting the minimum exhaust rate for most energy efficient operation, and higher rates for increased envelope dehumidification (e.g. in the case of a flood) and for added house ventilation.