Over-insulated homes: lower utility costs and unhealthy building syndrome?

With the end of the holidays and the holiday season, we spend 70-90 percent of our time in closed, poorly ventilated spaces.

According to Wavin research, 80 percent of Hungarians consider indoor air quality more important since the appearance of the coronavirus, but two-thirds of them do not use any built-in air filters or ventilation solutions.

However, the quality and humidity of the indoor air can be energy-efficiently regulated not only in offices and shopping centers, but also at home with mechanical home ventilation systems.

Neither wet is good nor dry is good – the tricks of ventilation

Due to rising utility costs and environmental concerns, today’s buildings are extremely well insulated and almost hermetically sealed. However, this also entails health risks, since the dirt that accumulates in the living space, such as dust, steam, and vapors, odors, and pollens, which in the past escaped through small cracks in the building or by the uncontrolled opening of windows, now mostly remain inside the apartment. This is how an unpleasant, sometimes dangerous set of symptoms can develop so-called unhealthy building syndrome (Sick building syndrome – SBS).

Photo:Wavin

Wavin’s research[1] according to him, every second Hungarian can be affected, since the 50 percent of respondents experience symptoms that may be caused by poor indoor air quality. 30 percent of the participants in the survey complain of dryness, 12 percent of fatigue, and 8 percent of headaches.

According to the evidence of the research, allergy and asthma complaints can intensify in poorly ventilated homes, or even high indoor humidity of over 70 percent[2] causes discomfort. Dust, steam, vapors and pollens not only endanger the health of the people living in the building, but also – thanks to the easily formed mold – the structure of the buildings as well.

The survey also revealed that nearly two-thirds of Hungarians do not use any built-in solutions affecting air quality, while 36 percent have at least a vapor and/or odor extractor. Controlled mechanical ventilation systems, which are increasingly popular due to their energy efficiency, are used by only two percent of Hungarian respondents.

Photo:Wavin

Vwith controlled mechanical ventilation, i.e. Wavin Ventiza product linewith a as healthy and comfortable as possible living environment designwe contribute to, which in addition it also results in significant energy savings” said Glenn Kristiansen, Global Commercial Director of Wavin Indoor Climate Solutions.

The essence of the Controlled Machine Ventilation System (VGSZ) is to remove the used internal air from the premises and at the same time introduce the appropriate amount of already filtered and purified fresh air into the living space. In some models, even the humidity of the incoming air can be regulated. Thanks to the heat recovery function of controlled mechanical ventilation, we can significantly increase the energy efficiency of our home, moreover, the system allows additional energy savings in combination with surface heating and cooling. Moreover the total electrical consumption of the unit is equal to the energy demand of a few LED bulbs, as it is only the electricity required to operate the fans. Mechanical ventilation can also be integrated into the smart control of buildings, so with the help of an application we can even check the air quality of our home remotely.

Photo:Wavin

According to the WHO, thanks to a healthy and comfortable environment, i.e. adequate indoor air quality, we can be up to 8 percent more efficient, be it work or study. And with the start of school, experts expect a further strengthening of the Covid epidemic, so the quality of indoor air will become more important again from autumn.

[1] Wavin’s online research, which is not representative, but proportionately representative of Hungarian property types (family house, apartment building, panel), was conducted in May 2022 with the participation of 850 people.

[2] Based on the responses of Wavin research participants.


Source: Napidoktor by napidoktor.hu.

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