Ventilation manufacturer Nuaire says it hopes prevent thousands of deaths caused by air pollution with what it considers to be a revolutionary technology for existing homes.
The Noxmaster whole-house ventilation system for the retrofit market combines a powerful carbon filter with a strategy invented by Nuaire over 45 years ago, Positive Input Ventilation (PIV). This combination removes up to 99.5% of nitrogen dioxide and other harmful pollutants generated by traffic emissions and industrial processes. The Noxmaster delivers clean, filtered air into urban homes, improving the indoor air quality to within safe levels, as recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Business Ops Director Andy Mudie said: “With rising air pollution levels, installing carbon filters in urban homes has become a planning condition in many parts of the country. But with an estimated 27 million existing homes in the UK, compared with 170,000 new homes built each year, the disparity is clear. The industry has been waiting for a solution for the millions of existing homes that are blighted by poor air quality, and this exciting new development addresses the issue for the wider population.”
Positive Input Ventilation is a strategy invented by Nuaire in 1973 with the launch of its Drimaster range. Today, PIV is recognised as an alternative system in Building Regulations, as certified by the BBA, and is considered the most effective method of curing and preventing condensation dampness, as well as being a recommended method of reducing Radon gas levels in affected areas.
The Noxmaster system combines the PIV approach with a powerful carbon filter that removes up to 99.5% of Nitrogen Dioxide and up to 75% of harmful particulate matter (PM2.5). Exposure to NOX and PM2.5 reduces life expectancy through a range of diseases including lung cancer, dementia and diabetes.
The carbon filter also removes other harmful gases produced by traffic emissions, including sulphur dioxide, hydrocarbons and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), helping to clean up the indoor air and protect the long-term health of the occupants.
Nuaire is currently running tests with Noxmaster at Hafodyrynys, Caerphilly, said to be the most polluted street in Wales. A controlled test house has been monitored for a number of months to show the difference between the pollution levels at the roadside, the pollution levels in a typical property, and the greatly reduced NOX levels with the Noxmaster installed. Test results are likely to be available in early August.
With concern over air pollution levels, many homeowners are taking steps to monitor and control the quality of air in their homes with consumer products. Nuaire Product Development Manager, Richard Jenkins, believes this may lead to a false sense of security. He said: “Removing gases and particulates from the indoor air is a complex process which requires mechanical ventilation to filter the air throughout the property simultaneously. Air purifiers can only treat the air in one room, and their effectiveness depends on the room’s exact size, the proximity to the source of incoming pollution, and how the air purifier is operated. In short, you would need a purifier for every room in the home, and that would still be far less effective than providing a single source of filtered air via a mechanical system, as the Noxmaster does.”
Adding carbon filtration to PIV has another major benefit in that it keeps condensation levels low. Mr Jenkins explained: “The PIV process used by Noxmaster treats the whole property, ensuring the air is constantly diluted and replaced with fresh, filtered air. Humidity is a major indoor pollutant, which leads to condensation dampness and mould growth. It keeps moisture levels low, whilst also forcing out pollutants generated by household cleaning and beauty products, cooking with fuel and using wood-burning stoves.”
Noxmaster is the first time a retrofitable whole-house ventilation system has addressed air quality with carbon filtration. Andy Mudie added: “Noxmaster is about giving homeowners and tenants living near busy roads the peace of mind that by installing a system in their loftspace, their long-term health will be safeguarded. For social housing providers, the Noxmaster means that tenants living within Air Quality Management Areas can now live comfortably in their homes, benefiting from clean, safe air during the average 16 hours each day that is spent at home.”