Saving energy in social housing ventilation

// heating and ventilation

Social housing landlords are keen to offer their tenants both good indoor air quality and low energy bills. Tom Emson, Product Marketing Manager at Vent-Axia discusses how the latest developments in continuous ventilation are the answer…

An estimated 50% of buildings in the UK suffer from condensation and the damage it causes to the health of tenants and the fabric of homes is a big issue for social housing providers. Improving ventilation offers a simple solution to condensation for local authorities. However, reducing energy bills for tenants and meeting Government carbon reduction targets are also key considerations.

So what ventilation solution should social housing providers opt for? Continuous ventilation technology is a good solution for social housing. These continuous ventilation systems are designed to work with the natural air infiltration and control the air path through the home. As a result, they prevent the migration of damaging humidity and pollutants, providing effective ventilation for the housing stock.
Designed to offer energy efficient continuous ventilation these fans offer social housing a replacement solution to traditional, inefficient intermittent units. Continuous ventilation offers energy saving since low speed extract fans in wet rooms run at a lower rate all the time, rather than at a high rate for one or two hours a day, thus reducing power consumption and heat loss.
Since the launch of the first continuous Decentralised Mechanical Extract Ventilation (dMEV) systems manufacturers have been working to develop fans that meet social housing’s very specific set of needs when it comes to ventilation. This evolution has resulted in local authorities being able to select exactly the fans they need to meet their needs.

Effective heat recovery
For instance, some of the latest continuous fans also now offer heat recovery, such as Vent-Axia’s Lo-Carbon Tempra. With this type of fan housing associations can benefit from heat recovery with a single room through the wall unit which provides silent continuous ventilation, is simple to install, and offers a cost effective solution to improve indoor air quality and building efficiency. To avoid over heating this type of technology also incorporates a manual summer bypass to ensure when it is warm outside it operates on extract only, helping keep occupants cool by closing off the intake from outside.

Smart ventilation
Another development in continuous ventilation is the intelligent fan which uses data and sensors to maximise performance efficiency and communicate valuable information to landlords to help ensure tenants are living in a healthy environment. For instance, Vent-Axia’s intelligent Lo-Carbon Revive, is a continuous running filter-less unitary fan that boasts powerful, quiet, efficient ventilation. It offers a raft of innovative features including Smart Sense™ technology which can provide real-time data via an intuitive interface to communicate the fan’s energy efficiency so landlords can reassure tenants of the low-running costs. This smart technology also allows landlords to track energy use and interrogate the fan on how many days a fan has been on humidity boost mode, pull cord boost mode, or trickle. Fans achieve this by featuring a Day Logger which tracks how many days a fan has been running to ensure it is used as intended. This information can help build a profile of tenant activity and aids landlords in investigating humidity problems, allowing landlords to work with tenants to help ensure effective ventilation and a healthy indoor environment.

Excellent performance
Sometimes it is difficult for social housing ventilation to achieve both good pressure and high energy efficiency. This is an important issue since landlords want effective ventilation to ensure tenants have good indoor air quality but efficiency is also required. As a result, fans have now been developed, such as Vent-Axia’s Lo-Carbon Response, that confirm airflow and system pressure of the installed fan through an innovative digital display ensuring the fan is working effectively and not wasting energy.  With this type of technology not only does the display show the fan is performing efficiently but its system pressure reading also confirms ductwork is installed correctly. Meanwhile, constant volume technology provides optimum performance automatically adjusting the speed of the fan to ensure the desired airflow is delivered. Design of new high pressure silent axial impellors also enables the fan to not only develop great installed performance over duct runs, but to do this in the most energy efficient way. The fans therefore deliver excellent pressure whilst not wasting energy on high pressure at low air volumes.
Thanks to the evolution of continuous ventilation landlords can now select an energy efficient option that is ideal for all types of social housing. Offering simple installation, low running costs and improved indoor air quality, these solutions also offer landlords a range of innovative features enabling them to provide optimum living conditions for tenants and, if required, to monitor energy levels, usage and more.

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