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Ventilation options for new homes

Bringing fresh air in and pushing stale air out is a vital component of a healthy living environment. Chris Bates takes a look at the main solutions for whole-house ventilation

In the drive for ever better levels of energy efficiency, 21st century homes are becoming super-insulated and airtight. But every house needs to be properly ventilated to support the health of both the building and its occupants; hence the phrase build tight, ventilate right. The challenge is promoting good air quality – and preventing issues such as humidity and condensation – in a way that minimises heat loss.

Airtightness standards

In England and Wales, Part L1A of the Building Regulations sets a maximum air permeability limit of 10 cubic metres of air per hour per square metre of floorspace at a pressure of 50 Pascals (10m3/hr/m2@50Pa).

This document also sets out how a notional dwelling could conform to the regs, with a suggested airtightness threshold of 5m3/hr/m2@50Pa (which is equivalent to a whole-house ventilation rate of approximately 0.5 air changes per hour). For Scotland, Technical Handbook 6 indicates a notional level of 7m3/hr/m2@50Pa to achieve compliance.

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About Build It

Get your self-build or renovation project started with advice & inspiration from Build It magazine. Here's what to expect in the January issue: • How the Rogers built an Arts & Crafts-style modern home • The latest on smart home technology • Are woodburning stoves eco friendly? • Heating options for renovations • Avoiding grand designs disasters • Plot Watch: Did they get planning consent? ...and much more!