In order to achieve increased levels of sustainability, improved air tightness can be effective, through minimising heat loss. The need for this improvement in ventilation systems within new, more sustainable housing has been reiterated through Building Regulations Parts F and L. These regulations are pushing for more sustainable solutions to create more energy efficient homes.
To modernise ventilation and achieve better energy efficiency, mechanical ventilation systems have been introduced. These systems must be competent in a number of areas to ensure the overall carbon footprint of a property is reduced as a result of mechanical ventilation use. These include;
– Energy efficient components and systems.
– Well fitted ducting to reduce the risk of air and condensate losses.
– Insulation for colder areas (e.g. attics) to ensure no condensation, thus maintaining thermal efficiency.
– Insulation of the ventilation system at external points.
These points are all included within building regulations in order to ensure a high level of performance, minimum standards are set; for example insulation material used must be ≥0.04W/(m.K) and 25mm in thickness.
Bathroom and kitchen ventilation technology are a key aspect of household ventilation technology, and the necessary specification (Specific Fan Power) of these are also dictated by Building Regulations. However, some of these systems can have high levels of energy consumption when on standby so this should be considered when selecting a system.
Another, optional method of improving energy efficiency of a property includes the use of Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery (MVHR) systems. MVHR allows up to 95% of heat, which would have otherwise been wasted through bathrooms and kitchens, to be recovered using a heat exchanger. This recovered air can then be filtered and distributed. MVHR is a relatively low cost method of reducing a properties carbon footprint, especially with the most efficient, low energy components in place.
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