There's a lot being said in the media right now about sustainable homes and sustainable living - but just what exactly do those terms mean and how can we apply them to our everyday lives? Read on to find out more about why keeping homes airtight is key to keeping them sustainable, and how you can do just that:
For a home to be described as sustainable it must meet certain criteria, and these are laid out in the Code for Sustainable Homes. It's a set of guidelines forming an environmental assessment method that can be used to rate and certify how newly built homes perform in terms of their energy consumption and retention. Some of the elements of this standard are now also codified in Building Regulations, which apply to all homes built in England.
The criteria on which a new build's sustainability is measured are: its energy and carbon dioxide emissions; what internal and external water saving measures are in place on the property; how materials used in the build are sourced and what their environmental impact is; management of surface water run-off (in relation to risk of flooding); measures in place for recycling of household waste and construction waste; how materials used in insulation and heating systems pollute the environment or otherwise; the health and well-being of inhabitants; management of the impact of construction and finally, impact on the local ecology.
One way to keep buildings sustainable is to retain as much energy - heat - as possible, reducing the need for excessive consumption of raw materials in order to heat the house.
There are plenty of measures available to reduce heat loss, including loft insulation and cavity wall insulation, but neither will be much good if the building isn't airtight - buildings with air leaks can lose energy easily through cracks and gaps.
One problem which can arise with airtight homes is that the air inside the home gets stuffy and uncomfortable and can even cause problems such as excessive Radon gas build up’s.
We spend 90% of our lives indoors on average, and 70% of that time in our own homes, so it's important to keep the air circulating for the health of your home's inhabitants, if for no other reason.
There's also a lot of moisture in the air that we inhale and exhale, and this can cause problems with damp in an airtight home if the air isn't circulating properly - a serious problem that can be expensive to fix and make selling a property tough.
Our heat recovery systems are suitable for whole house ventilation, and provide an environment that's healthy and energy-efficient all year round. Take a look at the Slimline 150 for a discreet, low profile heat recovery unit for the whole house that's super efficient, or opt for the heatSava if it's one room in particular you're concerned about.