Buildings that are situated in busy, central areas can leave occupants exposed to pollution if they open their windows for ventilation. More than 80% of people living in these urban areas are exposed to air quality levels that exceed WHO limits. Here we can examine the importance of mechanical ventilation units and heat recovery devices to deliver clean air to building occupants.

Due to the increasing recognition of the need to consider the health and wellbeing of occupants in buildings, without compromising on energy efficiency, a coalition of nine European HVAC and building bodies recently called for the European parliament to improve Indoor Environment Quality (IEQ) as part of its review of the Energy Performance in Buildings Directive (EPBD).

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) as well as other health, safety and comfort aspects, including acoustics, lighting levels and temperature experienced by building users, which with the coalition argued are vital to citizens health, comfort and productivity. Systems such as mechanical ventilation systems will create positive outcomes in terms of improving both indoor air quality and indoor environment quality. Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) and Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) are often considered to be the same thing and are frequently mixed up. Although IAQ and IEQ are two different things they do have over lapping concepts.

Indoor environment quality is best described as the conditions inside a building. It does not refer to only the air quality but to the inside environment as a whole. It takes into consideration things such as access to daylight, acoustic conditions, lighting and thermal comfort and does also include indoor air quality. When considering thermal conditions, we have to take in to consideration things such as moisture and dampness which affect the air quality.

Indoor air quality can be seen as a very important category inside the whole category of the indoor air environment. IAQ is the measure of the air inside the building and the effects it has on the occupants and the building itself. Things taken into consideration in IAQ include dust, cigarette smoke, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, ozone, radon, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as well as other chemical compounds that may be present from things such as building materials or cleaning supplies.

The best way to think about the differences in IAQ and IEQ that that IAQ is about the air that we breathe, whereas IEQ is about the what we breathe, see, hear and feel inside a building. One main similarity in IAQ and IEQ is that neither of them can be avoided and if not monitored and taken into consideration they both could have serious effects on health for you and your family or work colleagues. It is common that when people talk about IAQ they generally mean the IEQ as well, professionals are trying to use IEQ more as a blanket term and use IAQ when referring directly and only to the air in a dwelling.

In areas that experience high levels of noise and air pollution, occupants can be discouraged from opening windows for ventilation. This can cause problems in warmer months when ventilation is particularly needed. Also, during mid-season and winter months they are then further discouraged due to the drop-in temperature and to avoid cold draughts. In both circumstances, mechanical ventilation and heat recovery units can prevent this problem by delivering fresh air to rooms while simultaneously extracting any old moisture laden or stale air. Also, to keep the energy consumption rate low as possible, speed-controlled fans work to match ventilation rates in accordance with the amount of people in the room. The fans are then able to measure the levels of CO2 in the room with the help of a sensor. As the number of occupants increase, the CO2 levels will also increase which then changes the frequency of the electric being sent to the fan, increasing its speed. When there is less demand for fresh air as occupants leave, the fans then decrease in speed.

Mechanical ventilation units can also limit incoming noise, this can be achieved by fitting silencers into the ductwork. Acoustic ventilation provides an effective level of replacement air to a dwelling whilst also protecting occupants from the transfer of any external noise sources. Homes that are situated close to busy roads, industrial estates and even near airports are in noisy areas, all which impact on the living environment.  If you open a window you don’t want the noise - acoustic ventilation such as silencers can be specified to ensure noise is eliminated but air is not.

In order to minimise any implications on your health due to poor ventilation within the home, investing in a quality heat recovery unit is highly recommended. By installing a ventilation system into your home you will benefit from better air quality within your home. Other benefits include ensuring better health for asthma and hay fever sufferers and reduction of problems such as damp, mould and condensation. At BPC we have a wide range of Heat Recovery Units at affordable prices. Contact our sales and technical teams to discuss ventilation solutions to be able to begin improving your indoor air quality. At BPC we can design, provide and if required we can installation your ventilation system in your home!