At the end of last year, Professor Chris Whitty, England’s Chief Medical Officer, published a report calling for indoor air quality to be a priority.
The report said that there needs to be a better understanding of how we can prevent and reduce indoor air pollution and the importance of ventilation, stating:
Ensuring good ventilation can reduce people’s exposure to indoor pollutants that cannot be fully controlled.
Ventilation is also essential for wider health and wellbeing, thermal and moisture control in buildings and it can reduce people’s exposure to airborne infectious diseases including Covid-19 and influenza.
Indoor air quality was also, tragically, in the news with the coroner’s report into the death of Awaab Ishak, which ruled that the two-year-old died from a respiratory condition caused by exposure to mould in the family’s flat.
Undoubtedly, the impact on health of poor indoor air quality and inadequately ventilated buildings can be enormous and have heartbreaking consequences.
The end of last year also saw the first ever World Ventil8 Day, a new awareness campaign to promote the critical role of better building ventilation in supporting health, well-being and productivity.
Nathan Wood, MD at Farmwood, posted on LinkedIn asking why ventilation hasn’t been mentioned in the government announcement about ECO+ funding for insulation. He said:
The latest scheme sets new measures to help hundreds of thousands of us to better insulate our homes and reduce consumption whilst saving us money each year.
Much like the previous Green Deal scheme (epic failure) there’s no mention of ventilation being included.
Therefore thousands of people will be sealing up and insulating what could be described as leaky buildings, leaky as in air could pass into and out of it quite easily (not water), will become practically air tight. A sealed box.
Lovely and warm, uber efficient but without properly accessing the ventilation strategy you could create a very unhealthy environment.
Being careful not to scaremonger with the word mould, but it’s true, condensation and mould should be a concern.
They don’t even mention – ensure your bathrooms have openable windows, or – ensure your extract fans are operational, well maintained and installed correctly.
Yes, we must improve our existing housing stock but as the saying goes:
INSULATE TIGHT – VENTILATE RIGHT
The need for healthy homes and buildings, plus the balance between energy efficiency and ventilation will be a focus of a series of elemental webinars later this year, so do keep an eye on our Crowdcast channel for the details.
We’ll be offering advice and practical examples of how housing providers, and commercial building owners, can ensure their energy efficiency projects are coupled with good indoor air quality.