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Efficient ventilation can play a key role in helping to both improve indoor air quality and reduce our carbon emissions. Rebecca McLean at EnviroVent discusses how the country’s net-zero ambitions need to be backed by the rapid deployment of the latest advances in ventilation technology.
Earlier this year, the UK became the first major economy to commit to achieving net zero emissions. Industry body BEAMA launched its ‘Net-zero by design’ report in September this year, backed by manufacturers and suppliers such as ourselves, which sets out the industry’s commitment to meeting the UK’s net-zero 2050 target.
PIV systems can be installed relatively quickly and simply in existing properties
This report focuses on the ways to ensure net-zero can be commercially viable for businesses and consumers. This includes immediate actions to reform Building Regulations, setting ambitions high within this round of Part L reviews which would send clear signals to the new build sector to phase out high carbon technologies and enable storage capacity, as well as setting higher standards for existing homes in the UK. BEAMA also highlights the opportunities for its sector to take the lead on deploying low carbon technology at scale to enable a net-zero future.
As UK buildings become more airtight and better insulated with lower heat requirements, this means we need to take a more serious approach to how we ventilate homes to promote the best indoor air quality for healthy living. Technologies in the home are required to utilise less energy and generate less carbon and other emissions than ever before.
Central to this is extending the longevity of product life, with less waste and less replacement parts, hence the development of our Lifetime Range. These ventilation products have been designed with low maintenance requirements and long warranties as standard. Manufacturing onsite enables us to maintain the strictest levels of quality control and testing, therefore eliminating faulty parts or rejects.
There are many energy efficient types of ventilation methods on the market now which lend themselves to contributing to net-zero – this includes MVHR units. Mechanical ventilation with heat recovery is increasingly used to reduce the heating demands of buildings. Heat recovery systems typically recover about 60-90% of the heat in exhaust air and have improved the energy efficiency of buildings.
However, MVHR systems are not always practical for refurbishment into existing homes. Technologies such as PIV operate with extremely low energy usage and low maintenance.
Whole house solution
Homeowners and landlords are being encouraged to work proactively to tackle damp and mould and to introduce better ventilation into their properties. PIV (Positive Input Ventilation) systems can make a dramatic difference in diluting excess moisture and these can be installed relatively quickly and simply within existing properties.
PIV works as a whole house ventilation system and creates fresh and healthy living environments by supplying fresh, filtered air into a property at a continuous rate throughout. It is ideal when a homeowner or landlord doesn’t want to carry out a full renovation or when a whole house ventilation solution is required, rather than an individual room.
By retrofitting these systems into existing properties or into new homes, they supply fresh, filtered and clean air into the home from a central location, such as a landing or central hallway in a flat or bungalow. Moisture laden air is diluted, displaced and replaced to control humidity levels between 45- 60%, preventing condensation and mould growth.
These units are designed to run continuously in order to replace humid air with fresh, filtered air, forcing contaminants out of the property through natural cracks and leakages. Indoor air quality is immediately improved, eradicating condensation and eliminating mould growth.
The advantages of PIV are that it is easy to install and there is no requirement for long lengths of ducting to penetrate the ground floor or even the building envelope in most applications.
Autumn and winter are the times when homeowners and tenants are most likely to experience issues with condensation and mould, which may exacerbate existing asthma conditions or allergies. Many householders are focusing on improving their indoor air quality through mechanical ventilation systems in order to protect the health of themselves and their families.
Research and development into making ventilation systems ever more energy efficient continues. And, as we move towards net-zero in this country, the biggest challenge is how to convert the existing housing stock to low energy ventilation solutions.