15 November 2014
Lee Stones (pictured), category manager for Xpelair, weighs up the benefits of single room heat recovery as an alternative, and potentially cost effective solution, to whole house installations.
How we heat our homes and how much of a dent this leaves in our wallets each month is still one of the most pressing concerns for many homeowners and this desire to keep costs low is coupled with greater pressures to conserve energy. From the contractor’s perspective, ensuring both new and retrofit dwellings are fit for purpose and do not waste energy unnecessarily is paramount, and much of this is down to the quality of the products being offered to the end user.
The drive for greater efficiency is an ongoing consideration and correct heat recovery and ventilation is key to achieving a lower fuel spend and a more efficient home. Legislation such as the Energy-related Products (ErP) Directive inevitably has a big impact on contractors, outlawing inefficient and poorly performing fans. In reality, even before the ErP Directive, many leaders in the market had already embraced the high efficiency requirements of new and retrofit developments, and offered the type of products that are fit for purpose for the energy conscious environment we now operate within.
Where the choice of ventilation is concerned, it’s no secret that whole house ventilation wins out in the efficiency stakes, and certainly for new build properties it’s a no-brainer for installers and contractors to opt for whole house systems like Mechanical Extract Ventilation (MEV) or even more compelling, Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery (MVHR), rather than less efficient intermittent fan options.
Poor ventilation is a serious issue for tenants and homeowners, and the growing financial strain on tenants, in particular, is already taking its toll. It is not uncommon for occupants to disable fans in a drive to save money, often failing to acknowledge the potential health implications that this could cause, such as excessive condensation, black mould build-up and the population of other pollutants, all of which result in poor indoor air quality.
A lack of knowledge on the damaging effect of poor ventilation can be costly in financial terms too, as poor or inadequate ventilation may lead to cosmetic and structural damage to a property, which can be expensive to remedy.
However, the new build market accounts for only a small proportion of housing stock. The vast majority of existing dwellings will at some point require refurbishment, so efficient and legally-sound ventilation systems are key to deliver ongoing improvements.
As such, the growth in alternatives to whole house systems are now taking centre stage, with single room heat recovery fast proving its worth as a viable and cost effective option for homeowners and tenants. Rather than replace intermittent like-for-like fans – which fall short in meeting the required emissions reduction targets – could homeowners can opt for the more cost effective, but equally sound, single room alternative. And the rewards for contractors can be lucrative.
Xpelair Ventilation Solutions has launched Solitair, a through-the-wall single room heat recovery unit, in response to the clear demand for a product that can offer many of the benefits of MVHR but at a lower cost.
The launch of Solitair reflects how Xpelair has listened to the needs of the market for more practical heat recovery solutions in terms of size, cost and installation time. It means end users have access to more affordable ventilation solutions that cost less to run and install, whilst providing superior Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) for all applications.
It also means the need to disable fans through fear of escalating costs could well be a thing of the past, as Solitair offers more than 80% heat recovery by incorporating a unique rotating rigid hexagonal heat exchanger, together with intuitive summer bypass and winter modes. And with Solitair, homeowners can enjoy near-silent running too, thanks to Xpelair’s innovative GhostTM Air Movement Technology.
For the new build and retrofit markets, single room installations could signal a step change in the approach of large contractors, offering the efficiency and health benefits of MVHR and MEV but in a more practical application. For homeowners eager to put the brakes on soaring fuel bills, the greater heat recovery and ventilation virtues of advanced single room technologies could go a long way to ease the fuel burden and help reduce energy consumption.
Lee Stones is category manager at Xpelair, where he is responsible for the brand’s extensive range of market-leading ventilation solutions. A sales and marketing professional with significant experience across operations and manufacturing, he previously worked as Product Manager for Commercial Solutions at Kodak.