Radon-Resistant New Construction for Home Buyers
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Radon and your home
- Radon is a naturally occurring, radioactive gas found in soil and rock. It seeps into homes through cracks in the foundation, walls and joints.
- In some parts of the country, ground water can be a major source of radon. All homes should be tested for radon.
- Learn more about radon in ground water and drinking water.
- Among non-smokers, radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in the United States.
- Lung cancer due to radon exposure claims about 21,000 U.S. lives annually, based on EPA estimates.
- More information about radon exposure and lung cancer.
- In many cases lung cancer can be prevented; this is especially true for radon-related lung cancer.
- Using common materials and straightforward techniques, builders can construct new homes that are resistant to radon entry.
Consider these facts:
- Radon-resistant new construction (RRNC) typically costs a builder between $250 and $750.
- RRNC could cost less than $250 if the builder already uses some of the same techniques for moisture control.
- For a builder, it is much less expensive to install a radon-resistant system during construction than to go back and fix a radon problem identified later.
- If a new homeowner tests for radon and has to mitigate high levels, it could cost the builder or the owner more than an initial installation.
Building New Homes with Radon-Resistant Features
- New homes can be built to resist radon entry. The additional cost at the time of construction is minimal.
- When installed properly, the basic radon-resistant new construction techniques greatly reduce the lung cancer risk that may occur from radon in the home.
- Some builders use the same construction techniques for better moisture control.
- More than 1.5 million homes have been built since 1990 using radon-resistant techniques, based on an annual survey of builders conducted by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Research Center.
- According to the National Association of Home Builders Exit, NAHB members build more than 80 percent of the homes in the country. In 2013, 96 percent of NAHB’s single-family builder members were using green products or practices in the homes they build.”
- One of the six primary sections of the NAHB Model Green Home Building Guidelines Exitis “Occupancy Comfort and Indoor Environmental Quality.” This includes a “healthier indoor living environment.”
- For peace of mind, ask your builder to include a radon reduction system in your new home and test your new home for elevated levels (4 pCi/L or more) of radon gas before you move in.
- For guidance and standards on building new homes with radon-reducing features, please visit our publications page.
- Homes certified or labeled by the following can have RRNC techniques:
- EPA's Indoor airPLUS (IAP)
- The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Exit
- USGBC Leadership for Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Exit certified or labeled homes can have RRNC techniques.