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Mechanical ventilation provides constant fresh air and, unlike natural ventilation methods such as the opening of windows, modern mechanical systems can filter out pollen, carbon, coarse and fine dust and NOx particles


quality at least as great a priority as outdoor air pollution has been.


The benefits of mechanical ventilation units


The best way to address poor indoor air quality is to introduce a mechanical ventila- tion system into the building. Mechanical ventilation provides constant fresh air and, unlike natural ventilation methods such as the opening of windows, modern mechani- cal systems can filter out pollen, carbon,


coarse and fine dust and NOx particles. These systems are therefore a much better means of tackling indoor air pollution and minimising the associated health risks. Up to now, natural ventilation has often been favoured in healthcare facilities due to the perceived energy and cost savings. However, decision makers should consider the lifetime costs of mechanical as opposed to natural ventilation. Modern ventilation units require very little energy to run, some using as little electricity as a TV on standby. They can also provide savings elsewhere. For example, the provision of fresh air in the colder months means that windows do not have to be opened and heat wasted. Furthermore, the sustained provision of fresh air can help to prevent damage to the building structure and windows caused by damp and mould, thereby decreasing future


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maintenance costs. There are also the afore- mentioned health co-benefits, as the provision of filtered air reduces the risks to patient, staff and visitor health, therefore lowering the future burden on the NHS. By protecting the health of both the buildings and inhabitants, ventilation systems can provide ongoing savings which offset the original outlay.


Mechanical ventilation need not be expensive or time-consuming to install. Planners are often put off by centralised systems, which require ducting throughout the building; however simple single unit versions are also available on the market and can be just as effective. These can take as little as 45 minutes to install, requiring only a core drill hole in the wall for the pipe and a couple of screw fixings for the unit. Maintenance also does not need to be a costly job. Some filters need only be cleaned or replaced once a year and units are avail- able that will indicate this. If the right system is chosen, mechanical ventilation should provide a net positive impact on the environment and on health, improving not only environmental but also economic sustainability with net savings across the lifetime of the system.


Patrick Calvey is sales manager at Siegenia


ADF JUNE 2019


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