Millions of people are living in draughty, damp or mouldy homes with the problem found to be worse in rental properties. A poll of 2,000 people suggests that 35 per cent of people struggle to keep their houses warm, with poor insulation being the main cause.
The survey, conducted by Ipsos MORI for the Energy Saving Trust (2014), found that 44 per cent of people said they lived in a draughty home, 38 per cent complained of condensation problems in their property and 29 per cent said they had mould. With 21 per cent of homes in England being built before 1919 and 16 per cent between 1919 and 1945, Britain has one of the oldest housing stocks in Europe.
Major efforts have been made to improve energy efficiency as many people still live in homes that freely leak heat and let in cold air and water.
As housing stock (new build and retrofit) becomes more energy efficient, even ‘greener’ buildings can be susceptible to trapping humid air in which toxic mould can spread, thus contributing to negative impact on the health and well-being of occupants. Having worked with a number of UK Housing Associations, we have seen first-hand the problems that arise from residing in damp and mouldy accommodation.
Once damp and mould has set in, so will the accompanying health issues that surround them. We have developed a passive ventilation with heat recovery system that effectively breathes fresh air back into homes without the use of electricity. We have combined the simplicity of passive-stack that boasts the heat recovery performance of a powered mechanical device – but without the associated cost, maintenance and energy use.
There is a growing body of research pointing to a link between an improved energy efficiency of homes and increased incidents of asthma and other health issues related to Indoor Air Quality. Damp and mould, even if less visible, can become more dangerous in airtight homes without adequate, continuous ventilation. We have witnessed the impact of this on tenants and we have seen the huge difference that adequate ventilation can make.
Our passive ventilation system was developed with the tenant in mind – it offers fuss free continuous ventilation that can be integrated into most retrofit and void works. Recovering heat from the stale air, it provides fresh air which is warmer and drier than the outside improving comfort as well as air quality, while helping to reduce tenant’s bills. With no moving parts to break down, the system saves on maintenance costs too.
By adopting low-maintenance ventilation strategies, indoor air quality can quickly be improved within houses, which will have both a positive effect on the health of occupants as well as the building fabric itself.