16 February 2022
Ahead of New Building Regulations on Ventilation coming into force this summer and the Government’s wider COVID-19 and Net Zero Strategy, BEAMA has today launched its updated 2022 Ventilation White Paper. The dossier sets out a 4-step policy pathway for the future to deliver effective ventilation and improved indoor air quality inside UK homes to help protect health and wellbeing.
To avoid the serious risk of creating a significant public health burden by sealing pollutants and viruses in our homes, the White Paper makes it clear that a ‘Ventilate when you Insulate’ approach should be adopted, ensuring that energy efficiency and ventilation improvements go hand-in-hand, and poor-quality installations of ventilation systems and poor compliance are rooted out.
The document covers the impacts of poor indoor air quality, the positive effect of ventilation on health, and the challenges we face, before outlining four policy solutions to take the country forward:
1. Set higher ventilation standards for new builds to protect health and wellbeing
2. Ensure energy efficiency retrofits are accompanied by ventilation measures to protect health and wellbeing
3. Drive ventilation compliance standards
4. Treat poor indoor air quality and poor ventilation as a public health emergency and, in addition to public education campaigns on the risks and solutions, make sure it is enshrined in all relevant policy areas
The update from the trade association comes amidst a seminal moment for the built environment in the UK, with the country navigating its way out of the pandemic, the introduction of new Building Regulations for energy conservation and ventilation and the Government driving its long-term Net Zero Strategy. The push towards energy efficiency has led to increased air tightness, but this has not been matched by ventilation improvements, resulting in the increased risk of poor indoor air quality compromising the health and wellbeing of occupants.
The Paper acknowledges that whilst the UK Government has shown good intentions, such as its commitment in the Heat and Buildings Strategy to take decisive, ‘no-regrets’ action now on improving ventilation and mitigating the risks of poor indoor air quality, a concrete plan must be delivered in practice.
Colin Timmins, director of the BEAMA Ventilation Group, hopes the updated White Paper will serve as a wake-up call to Government: “Our message to policymakers is simple: a ‘Ventilate when you Insulate’ approach must be adopted, and poor-quality installations and compliance must be tackled, to ensure indoor air quality and health are safeguarded. By adopting and implementing the four policy solutions set out in this White Paper, the Government can achieve this and deliver healthy homes that are fit for the future.”
Commenting on the Paper, Keith Ritchie, Chair of the BEAMA Ventilation Group, stated: ‘While progress on ventilation and indoor air quality has been made over the last four years, much more still needs to be done to integrate, regulate and improve ventilation standards.” Ritchie adds: “this 2022 version of our Ventilation White Paper represents a timely update that urges Government to act without delay and devise a clear plan to deliver effective ventilation and healthy indoor air quality.”
To download the updated 2022 edition of the BEAMA Ventilation White Paper, please click here.
To download the BEAMA Ventilation Manifesto graphic, please click here.