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.