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Heat and Buildings Strategy requires ventilation for healthy indoor environment

Ventilation manufacturer, Vent-Axia has welcomed the Government’s Heat & Buildings Strategy published ahead of COP 26, in particular the identification air quality and ventilation in the Government’s vision for a greener future.

Lena Hebestreit, marketing manager at Vent-Axia

The strategy brings together the Government’s work on energy efficiency and clean heat, laying the foundations for Net Zero buildings in the UK by 2050. However, it also includes air quality within its five core principles to guide action in the 2020s and longer-term transformation to Net Zero.

Containing its own sub-section entitled ‘Improving Air Quality’ the document recognises the vital importance of reducing the build-up of harmful levels of air pollution within homes. This can occur if ventilation is not considered when improving the air tightness of a home to improve its thermal efficiency. The document states: “Adequate ventilation is required to ensure a healthy indoor environment and prevent creation of increasingly airtight spaces, which may trap pollutants indoors.”

COVID-19 has highlighted to us all the importance of ventilation for good health. The strategy recognises this and that improving the energy performance of our buildings, without creating airtight spaces, presents “an opportunity to ensure our buildings provide warm, well-ventilated spaces and healthy environments from which people can live and work”. This builds on the Government’s Clean Air Strategy, which highlighted the importance of clean air in the home. The Clean Air Strategy set out how the Government aims to tackle all sources of air pollution with indoor air quality (IAQ) a key part of this. As such, the document proposed a number of simple measures to reduce air pollutants in the home, including regularly ventilating dwellings.

Lena Hebestreit, marketing manager at Vent-Axia, said: “We welcome the Government’s Heat and Buildings Strategy since at Vent-Axia we are committed to public health by improving indoor air quality through ventilation while at the same time making sustainable attainable for our customers. The Heat and Buildings Strategy sets out a pathway for clean heat to lay the foundations for Net Zero without subordinating the vital importance of good indoor air quality to provide healthy indoor environments”, says

“When making a home or building more airtight through energy efficiency measures such as insulation it is essential to consider improving ventilation too. While increasing the airtightness of a building reduces the amount of heat escaping improving its thermal efficiency, without sufficient ventilation indoor air quality can deteriorate and occupants can also have ongoing issues with condensation and mould. In existing homes, it is now possible to have the best of both worlds by retrofitting single room heat recovery ventilation products, which recover the warmth from outgoing air to heat incoming air to avoid heat loss, reduce energy bills for households, and provide good indoor air quality for the occupant.

Vent-Axia is delighted that the Heat and Buildings Strategy aims to reduce the carbon footprint of homes and buildings in the UKsince the company is committed to helping make sustainable attainable for its customers by taking action to reduce its environmental impact. There are 30m buildings in the UK, which are responsible for around 30% of the UK’s emissions with the vast majority of them resulting from heating: 79% of buildings emissions and about 23% of all UK emissions. However, improved ventilation must go hand-in-hand with a low carbon heating transformation and energy efficiency measures to avoid poor indoor air quality and subsequent health impacts.

When it comes to improving the thermal efficiency of buildings improving ventilation must be considered too, otherwise if a home is made more air tight to save energy it can end up with indoor air pollution, condensation and mould. Improving a home’s energy efficiency by making it more airtight reduces the amount of heat escaping and so saves energy but is also limits the amount of air that naturally passes through gaps in a building. Many homes and buildings rely on this ‘natural infiltration’ to provide fresh air and to remove air pollutants and moisture in indoor air, which can be harmful to health.

Since 1936, Vent-Axia has been working hard to provide a range of ventilation solutions to improve IAQ for homes and buildings.

1 November 2021

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