A simple way to improve indoor air quality

Housing Mon, Mar 12, 2018 10:09 AM

A new simple, heat recovery ventilation unit is helping improve the well-being of occupants, increase efficiency and reduce maintenance.

The news has been full of stories about air quality recently with the harmful effects of pollution leading to a major public-health crisis.An estimated 9,000 people in London alone are dying prematurely each year because of long-term exposure to air pollution. The estimate for the whole of the country is up to 40,000 a year.

According to the Building Research Establishment (BRE), exposure to air pollutants also depends a lot on our exposure to indoor air and when we spend an estimated 90 per cent of our time inside buildings, then we really need to ensure that they are able to provide a respite from the toxic outdoors and deliver fresh and comfortable environment.

At the same time, homes need to ensure that they are as energy efficient as possible, not only to help combat rising fuel prices, but also to protect the building’s fabric and reduce maintenance requirements.

So how can you introduce fresh air into homes without letting bad air in, or heated air out?

BRE identify the pollutants that have the potential to get inside our buildings from the outdoors as nitrogen dioxide (NOX), as well as carbon monoxide. In addition to these are what are known as volatile organic chemicals or VOCs, fibres and particulate matter, as well as bacteria, fungi and pollen.

BRE also talks about the control of pollutants depending on not only tackling the sources, but also making sure there is adequate ventilation within buildings, through the introduction of 'fresh' outdoor air.

This is important because indoor pollution can be just as damaging as outdoor pollution, which can be added to from toxins caused by cooking, smoking, cleaning and washing, with the levels often more concentrated.

This is where a suitable ventilation system can help by refreshing the air inside the home.

Heat recovery ventilation

Mitsubishi Electric has led the way on Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery (MVHR) in the commercial sector with its popular Lossnay system and the manufacturer has now translated all of this technical know-how into an easy-to-fit unit that is an ideal and cost-effective way of introducing MVHR, room by room.

“Introducing full Lossnay sytems can involve major refurbishment work as it requires ducting throughout a property,” explains Janvi Patel, ventilation expert for the Hatfield-based company.

“Our new VL-50 Lossnay unit can be fitted to an outside wall and will then capture 75-80% of the energy that would otherwise be wasted.”

Lossnay achieves this by using a fine paper core, which allows the heated outgoing air to transfer this heat energy to bring the incoming air closer to the room temperature, thereby keeping the inside fresh without wasting energy.

Pollutants, smells and even outdoor noise are filtered out by the unit, meaning that the inside is both fresh and comfortable, whilst the heat recovery element also means it is highly energy efficient.

Only one single pipe connection to the outside is needed for the unit, which measure just 52cm by 24.5cm making it ideal for retrofitting into existing buildings.The VL-50 is available as a pull-cord, hard-wired, or remote controlled unit and can be used on walls from 50mm to 650mm wide.

The unit can be fitted vertically or horizontally to suit the interior décor and provide installation flexibility and needs no pipework other than the connection through the wall to the outdoors.

“Lossnay recovers both latent heat and sensible heat, meaning the incoming air is comfortable and the home doesn’t suffer from static or dryness,” adds Patel, “it’s all about increasing the comfort for occupants whilst minimising the energy needed to do so.”

The added advantage as well is that adequate effective ventilation is known to help reduce instances of mould and mildew, which are also harmful to health and, if left untreated, damaging to the fabric of the building.

The units start at around £200 which makes them a really cost-effective way of improving indoor air quality for tenants, whilst helping keep maintenance regimes to a minimum.

With low sound levels, low power consumption and easy maintenance, the VL-50 provides a quick and easy way for anyone involved in the retro-fit sector to introduce highly energy efficient, heat recovering ventilation to existing properties.

In association with Mitsubishi Air Conditioning & Ventilation

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