Disrepair study (Andy Ballard)
Health Problems Associated with damp and mouldy buildings
Health problems caused by mould may be acute, which occur immediately, or within a few days of exposure. Health problems may also be chronic, which are long-term health effects that might not occur immediately.
- Irritated eyes, nose and throat
- Difficulty with concentrating or short-term memory.
These symptoms together are often called sick building syndrome, but are more correctly referred to as ‘building-related’ symptoms. Generally, acute symptoms resolve when the person is removed from exposure. However, mould exposure may also aggravate chronic conditions, such as allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and hypersensitivity pneumonitis, and may trigger asthma and allergy attacks.
The UK, like most of northern Europe has a large demand for heat. Domestic heat use is as much as industrial heat use and together they account for 40% of all energy used. Nearly three quarters of domestic heat is used for space heating, roughly three times more than that used for heating water. Only one fifth of all domestic energy consumption is for electrical power, the remainder is heat.
The UK has some of the poorest quality housing stock in the whole of Western Europe. Insufficient levels of insulation and air tightness have contributed to soaring domestic energy bills which now average approx. £1200 per year. Good levels of roof and wall insulation are the most cost effective measures to reduce energy bills and reduce carbon footprint. However, good levels of insulation do not bring a dwelling up to reasonable levels of air tightness. A draughty house not only is uncomfortable to be in, but warm air leaking out of the house further adds to the energy bills. The way to address these draughts is to make a house airtight, thereby reducing heat loss.
Airtight houses, however, suffer a number of issues with air quality unless measures are taken to ventilate them properly. Bacteria, Mould, Dust Mites, VOCs and humidity can build up to unhealthy levels if internal air is not kept fresh through ventilation. The challenge is providing fresh air whilst at the same time maintaining an energy efficient building.
Ventive™ is the only totally passive approach to heat recovery ventilation. Furthermore it has been designed to be retrofitted into the majority of the UK housing stock. The device works using natural buoyancy: hot stale air rises through flexible ducting installed inside the chimney cavity through a single hole installed above any disused fireplace.
This air passes through a low pressure drop heat exchanger and loses its heat to incoming fresh air which sinks through the heat exchanger and enters the room pre-warmed. On top of the heat exchanger is a specially designed roof cowl which serves to capture the wind to add to the driving force of the device.
Because the heat exchanger has a low pressure drop, there are no narrow constrictions to keep clean or any horizontal surfaces to collect dust. The device is therefore maintenance free – fit and forget – there are no moving parts to replace.
The efficiency of the Ventive™ is comparable with mechanical systems but since it works at atmospheric pressure (balanced ventilation) using no power, the energy and cost savings are far greater. Ventive™ is quick and easy to install (often under one hour per unit or ½ day per house) and there is no making-good or redecorating work required.
- One hour to install
- No power or plumbing needed
- No moving parts
- Maintenance free
- No visual impact – internally or externally
- Heat recovery over 95%
- Designed for easy retrofit