Turning a catch-22 into a winning fix

Paul Harrington, head of residential sales at Elta Group Building Services, explains how emerging technologies can make ventilation costs more affordable

condensation for some time, but running costs associated with warming the cold air entering a property in winter months have been known to cause problems for housing providers and tenants alike. For many years, social housing providers


have turned to PIV as the go-to method of ventilation for dealing with condensation dampness in homes. As improvement programmes continue to make homes more airtight and thermally efficient, the importance of getting the ventilation right, and therefore the usage of these systems, continues to grow.

A temperature catch-22

While there are numerous benefits to PIV systems, one of the challenges we have to face is dealing with the problem of delivering cold air into the home during the winter months, while maintaining a high level of tenant acceptability. To address this issue, many PIV systems

now feature an electric heater designed to increase the incoming air temperature to

ositive Input Ventilation (PIV) may have been regarded as the most effective way to manage

approximately 10˚C. While this may solve the problem of cold air entering the home, the actual cost of using the heater can create its own issues. We should be encouraging end users to avoid an over- reliance on the heater and to make use of the existing heating system a little more. One of the issues we now face is that PIV technology has remained largely unchanged for years. So, in an age where the risk of fuel poverty is as prevalent as ever, and with smart meters offering much greater transparency of energy costs, we need technology capable of optimising ventilation systems to make them as efficient, and as cost-effective, as possible. Thankfully, technology is now available that has the potential to give housing providers a more flexible and energy efficient way to manage the risk of condensation. Thanks to modulating technology, such as the Eco-LoFlo mode offered by Elta Fans’ SANO Intelligent PIV system, air flow can be automatically adjusted according to the temperature and moisture content of the incoming air. This ensures optimum airflow and provides the most efficient ventilation rates for the conditions, reducing running costs.

Building Reg and PIV

Paul Harrington, head of residential sales at Elta Group Building Services

With PIV systems having remained largely unchanged for decades their ability to meet building regulation requirements is often clumsy at best. While Part F of the Building Regulations increases in increments of four litres per second, many PIV systems come with as few as three speed settings. The inefficiency of this approach can be demonstrated in the case of a typical four-bedroom home. Part F requires the ventilation system to deliver a minimum of 25 litres per second, yet even some of the leading PIV units are only able to deliver either 20 or 30. This results in homes that are either under-ventilated, and therefore less able to deal with condensation related dampness, or over- ventilated, which leads to greater demands on in-built heaters and heating systems in winter months. To tackle this Elta Fans’ latest SANO Intelligent PIV system has up to eight settings, which closely match Building Regulations.

Regulations vs regulated fan speeds

While Part F of the Building Regulations may offer some effective guidance on the required ventilation rate of a property based on its occupancy levels and floor area, it fails to acknowledge the quality of the air provided to a home via the ventilation process. Consequently, the amount of air provided into the home is the same all year round. By using a system which measures the temperature and moisture content of the air delivered into the home, the fan speed can be regulated to ensure the best levels of ventilation effectiveness are achieved in the most energy efficient way. Thanks to new developments, such as

New PIV units tackle condensation dampness, without it leading to complaints about reduced thermal comfort

Eco-LoFlo, housing providers can now tackle the issue of condensation dampness, without it leading to complaints about reduced thermal comfort and increased heating costs. As a result, PIV need no longer be considered a catch-22, but a win- win for both providers and residents.

 October 2018

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