Specifier Review
Future Homes Standard - Ventilation

Future Perfect Ventilation

As the drive towards carbon neutrality continues to push forward, the Government’s Future Homes Standard is set to further increase the energy efficiency requirements for new homes.

The Standard, due to be introduced by 2025, will require new build homes to be “future-proofed with low carbon heating and world-leading levels of energy efficiency”. Ventilation is set to play an essential role in this. Energy-efficient ventilation will not only help to meet efficiency targets but will also ensure airtight new homes have good indoor air quality. Katie Sweeney, Product Manager at Vent-Axia explains more and how mechanical extract ventilation (MEV) is the solution to the Future Homes Standard.

The aim of the Future Homes Standard is to make homes and other buildings more energy efficient by embracing smart and low carbon technologies. The Standard will have very high standards for the fabric of new build homes which should typically feature triple glazing and be constructed to significantly limit any heat loss. In addition, the Government’s consultation on the Standard, which closed in February 2020, proposed changes to Part L and Part F of the Building Regulations. Here, energy efficiency requirements for new homes will be increased further.

Whilst the aims of the Standard are an important step on the road to zero carbon, we must look beyond the targets set out by the Government for carbon neutrality. It’s vital not to lose sight of good indoor air quality (IAQ) which is seriously impacted in modern airtight homes if sufficient ventilation is overlooked. A reliable, highly efficient, quiet and easy to install and operate ventilation system is, therefore, the key to unlocking a healthier, greener future.

Continuous Ventilation

So, what’s the answer? The impact assessment work carried out for the proposed Buildings Regulation changes showed “continuous ventilation systems installed in new buildings provide better air quality than intermittent systems with trickle vents”. This makes continuous running mechanical extract ventilation the ideal solution for The Future Homes Standard.

Centralised Mechanical Extract Ventilation (MEV) is a whole dwelling ventilation system that supplies and extracts air continuously at a low rate. It is a low energy solution with a central unit mounted in a loft or cupboard ducted to multiple extract points to simultaneously draw moisture laden air out of wet rooms (bathrooms/utility/kitchen) providing a quieter and more efficient system compared to separate fans. Replacement air enters the home through window vents or airbricks.

A decentralised Mechanical Extract Ventilation (d-MEV) system is a low energy, continuous MEV system designed to draw moisture laden air out of the wet rooms providing a quieter and more efficient system compared to intermittent fans. The fans run continuously providing a simple and effective form of ventilation.

Future Homes Standard - Ventilation

Future Homes

It is proposed that from 2025 the fabric of all new build homes will have to be built to a very high standard to significantly limit any heat loss. Add to this the Future Homes Standard and changes to Part L and Part F of the Building Regulations which are set to come in and housebuilders need to re-evaluate specifications now to consider continuous ventilation options to future proof their homes.

The Vent-Axia Multivent MEV family are Future Homes Standard ready, featuring eight centralised MEV and eight dMEV systems to ensure housebuilders have exactly the right ventilation for a property, making specification simple.

Meeting all the right specification requirements, the products offer market-leading efficiency across the range of products with an easy-to-operate control platform and extremely low operating noise, ticking all the boxes for developers. Running continuously on a lower speed, reducing noise levels, the MEV family also feature variable speeds making it easy to meet any proposed increases in trickle rates so are future proof too.

Additional benefits include increased ventilation rates, compact design, easy installation, as well as simple and accurate commissioning. With a common digital control platform throughout the range and smart accessories for use in the home, both MEV and dMEV are a breeze to install, commission and control.

This unique digital display shows the calibrated installed airflow and pressure of an installation, removing the need to test the fan with an airflow measuring device. This significantly simplifies and speeds up commissioning, reducing time on site.

Not only does the display show the fan is performing efficiently but its system pressure reading can also confirm ductwork is installed correctly – key for a fan to reach optimum performance. Plus, the wealth of control and switching options across the range gives housebuilders the flexibility to provide a solution for any new build scenario.

Future Homes Standard - Ventilation

Within the new family of products, the Lo-Carbon Multivent MEV range offers a high efficiency, low profile continuous ventilation solution. The range combines market-leading efficiency recognised on SAP PCDB combined with a specific fan power as low as 0.14w/l/s and airflows from 118l/s – to 159l/s whilst still achieving ultra-low noise levels.

To further improve IAQ, models are available with integral and adjustable CO2 and humidity sensors which increase ventilation rates in proportion to relative levels of pollutants within the dwelling.

The Multivent MEV range also offers both manual and automatic advanced control options. These are model dependent and include: demand control which enables precise ventilation rates and app enabled controls which enable easy commissioning and monitoring. Plus, an integral display allows the installer to select appropriate speed to meet demand; there is also the option of Plug-n-Play automatic sensor detection; switched live and SELV connections, and optional wired or wireless controllers.

The complement the whole house MEV, the other half of the Multivent family is Vent-Axia’s Lo-Carbon NBR dMEV, a range of continuous running, constant volume dMEV units. This means housebuilders can simply specify all of a home’s ventilation requirements from one single range.

Best in class with a specific fan power of 0.12w/l/s, the dMEV units are quiet running and offer high pressure development. Featuring switched live (LS), the dMEV units include an in-built spirit level further helping with install.

Unlike other dMEV units on the market, the NBR dMEV is available in both 100mm and 125mm options. The unique 125mm offers a larger surface area for airflow through the ducting meaning fewer fans are required to achieve whole house ventilation rates. Plus, when compared to a traditional 100mm axial fan, the 125mm enables more ducting options.

This means housebuilders can benefit from high levels of ventilation at low fan speed, with the fans leading the market on both efficiency and sound levels. The NBR dMEV range includes both fixed and variable speed models in both sizes with the humidity control models incorporating an adjustable (40% – 90%) ambient response humidistat.

With the move towards continually increasing homes’ energy efficiency and use of low carbon technology, energy efficient continuous running ventilation not only helps achieve these aims but also provide a healthy indoor environment too. Now is the time for housebuilders to consider continuous ventilation to ensure they are Future Homes Ready.

For further information on all products and services offered by Vent-Axia telephone 0844 856 0590 or visit www.vent-axia.com.

About Vent-Axia

Boasting over 80 years’ experience, Vent-Axia is the ventilation sector’s clear leader, chief innovator and forerunner in energy-saving, lo-carbon products. Committed to helping improve indoor air quality and comfort in both homes and buildings, Vent-Axia provides the sector’s most comprehensive choice from any single manufacturer. Vent-Axia’s range covers not just air movement and ventilation technologies but heat recovery, electric heating, hand dryers, cooling and clean-air systems for residential, commercial, public sector and industrial applications.

Evaluating ventilation systems