A renewed focus on the quality of indoor environments is an opportunity to weed out “ventilation cowboys” according to an air quality expert.
The COVID pandemic has highlighted indoor air quality (IAQ) and the calibre of ventilation systems and, according to David Millward, group product manager at Elta Group, this present the opportunity to raise the standard of installation, following a number of years of corner-cutting due to price wars and time constraints.
He said: “Unfortunately we have seen an increase in substandard systems installed in buildings over recent years, mainly due to end-users challenging critical elements in quotes and subsequently opting for ventilation cowboys. However, as the general population becomes increasingly knowledgeable about the importance of good IAQ, end-users are likely to expect, and appreciate, a higher standard of installation and specification of ventilation systems.”
The importance of ventilation in the context of COVID19 was highlighted in a Government white paper in October last year. It echoed Elta Group’s assertion that industry must move beyond simply achieving minimum air change rates and air quality. Instead, systems must provide the most appropriate ventilation for the welfare and productivity of occupants, alongside building/room usage.
Millward added: “Modern UK ventilation systems need to be right first time, as well as sustainable and long-lasting. Choosing the right fan for the right application is paramount, which is why it’s important to be up to speed on specific characteristics and benefits of fans and their constituent parts. This means that contractors and their customers must ensure they are in a position to be a source of expertise, and adhere to best practice installation principles.”
According to Elta Group, there is no one-size-fits-all solution and best practice installation considers a balancing act between air flow, energy efficiency, and thermal comfort.
To aid this process, Elta Group has developed an educational tool for contractors to help solve design issues and overcome any misconceptions. The Give a Fan a Chance guide outlines key considerations and provides practical tips on delivering optimal ventilation solutions. In turn, this provides a number of simple steps to improve design, focusing on critical elements such as energy efficiency, noise control, air quality, and reduction of leakage.