In the current stages of the pandemic in Australia, a new buzz word is being discussed in various forums and by various people. It appears that now, more than ever, there is an increased focus upon the importance of indoor air quality and ventilation to keep us healthy. Although this is not a new concept, it is one that appears to be key in keeping our indoor areas safer.
OzSage, a focus group made up of various professionals, including professors and doctors, have discussed this in their article dated 06 Sept 2021. In the article
(https://www.ozsage.org/media_releases/beware-the-air-you-share-ozsage-advice-on-safe-indoor- air-ventilation-for-australia-september-6th/) they talk about ventilation being the provision of “safe, clean indoor air”. Although they discuss various ways to approach this, there is one key ventilation approach that has not been looked at, and that is balanced mechanical ventilation.
Obviously, the quickest and easiest way to ventilate a room is through the opening of windows and doors. Whilst this is a sensible, immediate approach there are limitations on this approach being able to be adopted every day. The key factor here is the weather and the impact on the energy efficiency of the building.
In looking at natural ventilation, the downside to this is that it is then hard to maintain the indoor air temperature i.e., letting in hot air during summer creating a load on cooling and letting in cold air during winter creating a load on heating.
It is due to these downsides in natural ventilation that another approach needs to be looked at – balanced mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR).
MVHR is a ventilation unit that filters air that is bought into the home and takes out the bad indoor air so there is a constant turn over of fresh, clean air in the home. The air is filtered through a minimum of XX filters, ensuring that very small particles are filtered out. The benefits are that it works with all the windows and doors closed (although it still works if windows and doors are opened), it can be installed in a single room (decentralised unit), or installed in a large room, house, or multiple rooms (centralised unit which can be ducted or ductless).
The benefits in relation to energy efficiency are two-fold. Not only are you not losing the conditioned air in the home to the outdoor elements through natural ventilation, but the MVHR coil recovers the heated/cooled air, and it is recirculated through the home along with the filtered air, therefore reducing the load on heating and cooling.
This is the gold standard of ventilation in Europe and is a technology that is also available in Australia.
Vector HRV have been a leading supplier of Brink HRV products in Australia, with products ranging from decentralised units, perfect for school rooms, aged care rooms, etc, to larger centralised units that are perfect for all sorts of applications, ranging from homes to offices. Vector HRV is well known in the energy efficiency and passive house building market, having supplied units all over Australia. MVHR is also specified in the Green Building Council’s Green Star Homes rating system, which is being piloted by large scale builders and developers in Australia.