With airtightness levels in homes on the rise, Zehnder explain how MVHR (mechanical heat recovery and ventilation) solutions will help you breathe more easily.
BEAMA report: “Any future building regulations to reduce carbon emissions should be accompanied by government regulation to ensure effective and efficient design, installation, maintenance and operation of MVHR systems to reduce the impact upon human health.”
In the drive for energy efficient homes which keep the heat in and the energy bills low, today’s new builds are more highly insulated and airtight than ever before. Airtightness levels in homes built before 2010 were on average 8-10ach (air changes per hour), whereas in 2016 average airtightness levels are 5ach or lower. These buildings still need to breathe and so do the people living in them.
Fresh, clean air is vital for comfortable, healthy living and yet the average family home can create up to 17 pints of moisture per week from everyday activities such as cooking, bathing and showering. Those old enemies, condensation and mould, can still strike. Poor ventilation can also cause a build-up in indoor pollutants such as dust, pollen, household chemicals and biological materials, all potentially damaging to health.
It is well known that poor air quality can worsen respiratory and skin conditions, such as asthma and eczema, but poor indoor air quality (IAQ) is also connected with lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cardiovascular disease. In recent research for BEAMA, the UK’s electro-technical industry body, Peter Howarth, Professor of Allergy and Respiratory Medicine at Southampton University, commented: “I have seen many patients with serious health conditions due to pollutants within the home and the risk of cardiovascular disease should not be dismissed. Indoor air can be more hazardous than outdoor air, particularly in young children and the elderly and where air quality is poorest.”
Unless homes are given reliably consistent ventilation, these problems are only going to get worse, because of the Government’s commitment by law to reduce carbon emissions by 2050. Some 30% of current UK carbon emissions relate to domestic buildings. BEAMA’s report (‘The Future of Indoor Air Quality in UK Homes and its Impact on Health’, published September 2015) states that if there is no additional IAQ intervention, by 2050:
All this means that ventilating a home is more important than ever. It is true that simply opening windows or doors can bring outdoors air in, but this has real disadvantages in modern airtight buildings when compared with the alternative of mechanical ventilation.
In contrast, mechanical ventilation systems deliver filtered, clean air into a home and balance this precisely with the extraction of moist or dirty air. The BEAMA report, prepared by Prof. Hazim B Awbi of the University of Reading’s School of Built Environment, concluded:
Zehnder has launched a new series of MVHR Best Practice Guides, published as three ebooks
Design and Product Specification
Installation and Commissioning
Handover and Maintenance
Zehnder Group UK Ltd
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