Your Home's Air Quality - It's not an 'Airy, Fairy' Matter!
Date: 07 January 2016
Air Quality is not something we tend to think about too much. We’ll not necessarily have a chat over a cuppa with our pals on something as ‘mundane’ as the quality of the air in our homes.
However, there is a lot to be discussed.
We can’t see it or hear it, but it’s all around us. We’re encompassed by billions of tiny air particles that meet more than the eye can see - or can’t see to be politically correct!
These air particles could be jeopardising our health.
The link between poor indoor air quality and health is well documented, with links to a range of health problems including: asthma and allergy symptoms, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, airborne respiratory infections and cardiovascular disease.
Indoor air quality specialist Professor Hazim Awbi from the School of the Built Environment at Reading wrote an extensive report, ‘The Future of Indoor Air Quality in UK Homes and its Impact on Health’.
This report warns that poor indoor air quality could cause the number of asthma sufferers to rocket by 80% over the next 35 years if regulations are not tightened.
The report also highlights that current Building Regulations are not sufficient to tackle the impact of indoor air pollution on health, predicting that, without intervention the above figures could actually be a reality.
The UK government has realised the insufficiency of these building regulations and has now made a commitment to gain an 80% carbon reduction by 2050. To meet this target, homes must become more energy efficient and therefore more airtight.
However, Building Regulations have not properly considered the adverse impact of improved air tightness on indoor air quality (IAQ) and the health of occupants.
Increasing air tightness without installing adequate ventilation reduces air exchange, allowing pollutants to accumulate and the quality of air to worsen.
Professor Awbi recommends Mechanical Ventilation Systems with Heat Recovery (MVHR) as key to delivering both healthy indoor air quality and energy efficiency in a home.
These systems continuously draw fresh air into the home via a low energy heat recovery ventilation unit, located in the roofspace/utility area of the home.
The ventilation unit filters the incoming air to remove pollutants and insects. Once passed through the heat exchanger within the ventilation power unit, the warm, clean fresh air is distributed around the home through a serious of ducts which are run to each habitable room.
This constant clean fresh filtered air plays the key part in reducing symptoms for asthma and allergy sufferers.
So there you have it. Our air quality IS something we should be thinking about. With easily made adjustments in our home we can banish any threats to our health in what we believe is the safe haven of our home.
To read more of the report, click the document below.