Ventilation and Indoor Air Quality

Ventilation and Indoor Air Quality

Background

In recent years the house-building industry has taken significant steps in the delivery of airtight and more energy efficient homes.Homes built to a high level of airtightness will lose less heat through the external construction but reducing infiltration will also remove a source of background ventilation that has previously been relied upon.

Approved Document F has been updated in tandem with the changes to Approved Document L to ensure that good ventilation and indoor air quality is not undermined by changes to achieve energy efficiency. The 2010 edition of Approved Document F sets out possible strategies that should, if executed correctly, ensure good ventilation regardless of the level of airtightness

What is Ventilation

Ventilation is essential for our health and comfort.  We are all aware of the consequences of inadequate ventilation: dampness and mold growth on walls, drowsiness, ill-health and intolerance of allergens for occupiers. 

But over time there have been more reasons to introduce specific measures, for instance to avoid condensation or to dilute and remove the combustion gases from heating appliances and boilers.  With increased focus on minimising energy losses from buildings especially due to infiltration, strategies for adequate ventilation need to take into account more airtight construction.

The building regulations identify specific ventilation mechanisms that apply to different requirements:

  • There can be a short-term need to remove fumes and smells, from burning toast or painting and decorating. 
  • A constant amount of ‘background’ ventilation is also required for each room throughout the day to ensure good air quality and prevent the build up of pollutants and water vapour from everyday activities such as clothes drying and of course human respiration.

How is the Hub addressing Ventilation and Air Quality

The Hub will also be establishing a cross-industry taskgroup in the near future to define and tackle the issues surrounding ventilation. If you would like to provide assistance or provide information to this group, please email info@zerocarbonhub.org