The technology behind Ventive was born out of a desire to make buildings work more efficiently – without increasing their complexity or adding significant maintenance requirements. Since taking a building for an annual service is somewhat less convenient than putting the car through its MOT, filling buildings with similarly complex hardware appears counterintuitive. It is also apparent that the variable nature of our indoor environment isn’t taken sufficiently into account when considering ventilation.
One enlightened architect remarked: “The fact that you put arrows on the drawing doesn’t mean that the air knows where to go.”
Passive Ventilation with Heat Recovery (PVHR), developed by Ventive, was brought about by the Retrofit for the Future program funded by the Technology Strategy Board (now Innovate UK), which encouraged architects to reassess the retrofit process and available technologies. Two of these deep retrofit projects (including a two year post occupancy monitoring programme) were completed by Tom Lipinski (founder), who identified a range of issues when integrating complex mechanical ventilation systems into existing homes, especially in the areas of installation complexity, servicing and effectiveness.
It transpired that even in a refurbished building with improved airtightness, most of the warm air was leaking out of the house and cold air infiltration was exacerbated by the mechanical ventilation system, leading to virtually no heat recovery taking place.
The in-depth analysis and tests that followed identified the actual air paths through the building and helped to establish typical behaviour of air flows within a heated, occupied space. Ventive is the product of that learning – it is designed to be at one with the building – part of the fabric – and works in conjunction with the building physics, not against it.
The first products developed were specifically designed to solve the ever-increasing problem of poor internal air quality within existing domestic buildings and are sympathetic to the drive for more energy efficient buildings. Following this, Ventive extended its product range to include modular systems that didn’t require an existing chimney stack to enable retrofitting across the UK’s domestic stock – not just those built by the Victorians.
Today sees the company supplying larger systems into Education, Care, Commercial and Health sectors as well as continuing to design solutions for Domestic new build (see Products page).
We have come a long way, but there is so much to do to ensure we all get our fair share of Fresh Air.
Passive Ventilation with Heat Recovery (PVHR) uses the natural buoyancy of warm air to evacuate stale air from the house and harnesses a combination of wind assistance and the balancing effect to supply fresh air in. A market-leading heat exchanger (designed, patented and manufactured by Ventive) naturally pre-warms the incoming air as the two flows pass each other, retaining heat within the building, rather than losing it to the outside.
The effectiveness of the system depends on the airtightness of the building and user behaviour (if you choose to open your windows for example you’ll have even better ventilation but less heat recovery) but it is free to use, with little to maintain or service – it will also last as long as the building itself.