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How to save costs in building ventilation design

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By Ruth MacEachern

Product Manager

Jan 13, 2023

With house builders now often favouring an airtight design as a means by which to reduce heat loss and consequently lower fuel expenditure, ventilation is increasingly important with a view to ensuring air quality and maintaining a pleasant environment within a new home[1]. This can be seen reflected in new legislation, as the government attempts to achieve carbon net zero emissions by 2050. An overview of the relevant changes to building regulations can be found here, or alternatively you could check out our previous blog entry discussing how various systems and designs comply with new requirements and targets. The requirement to fulfil new efficiency targets has led to numerous innovations in the field of mechanical ventilation, however, innovative technology often comes at a cost. As a home builder seeking to comply with continuously evolving building regulations, while remaining within tight budgetary constraints, financial cost may be a primary factor in determining your choice of insulation and ventilation design. In this article we will look at ways to save building costs through cost-efficient ventilation design.

Finding the right solution for your new build

The first consideration when attempting to save on building costs and avoid wasting money when installing a ventilation system in your new build development is to ensure that the system you have selected is the most efficient and the most suitable for your building. First you must consider which type of system you would like to install, which will very much depend on the priorities of your target clientele and the price bracket in which the property will fall (determined by the number of bedrooms, square footage, the area in which it is located etc.). If your development falls within a lower price bracket, perhaps within a less affluent area, you may wish to stick with more affordable solutions, for example, the use of wall-mounted extractor fans.

Firstly, the property itself and the nature of the types of ventilation should be explored that will both fit the property and comply with the relevant regulations. This could be completed through an architect, Building Control Officer or through specialist guidance. It may be that whilst a more cost-effective option such as extractor fans are favoured, there is a pollution or acoustic issue linked to the property which may require a different unit for compliance.

Once this has been explored, then further research can be completed in terms of the types of products available to meet the needs of the property.

When it comes to budgets, and looking at cost-effective ventilation solutions, even with environmental concerns ever-present in the headlines, budget-conscious buyers place high value in a new property’s eco credentials, and given the rising cost of oil and gas, many are prepared to pay more for a property that will be more efficient and cheaper to heat in the long run. In this case, a mechanical ventilation heat recovery (MVHR) system may be the ideal solution. With energy-efficiency a key selling point, initial installation costs can be recouped in the sale price of the property, however, as a home builder there are some cost-saving considerations that you should nonetheless bear in mind…

Plan carefully: particularly if building multiple homes within a development, careful planning when it comes to the positioning of vents and the routing of ducts can result in a significant reduction in waste and considerable material cost savings.

Size matters: avoid overspending on a system that is excessively large or more powerful than necessary based on the size of the property and the intended number of inhabitants.

Call in the experts: EnviroVent offer a design service, whereby you provide them with detailed technical drawings relating to your product, and they will design a bespoke ventilation system to meet your needs and offer a no obligation quote in line with your requirements.[2] Making the decision to forego this assistance could be the difference between a successful installation and the need to rip out inappropriate installations or make costly adjustments should you fall short of building regulation requirements.

A worthwhile investment for house buyers

While there is no denying the fact that installing a mechanical ventilation system involves considerable initial outlay, however, the given the long-term benefits that the systems offer, this should be an easy sell to prospective buyers. These advantages include:

  • Health and comfort benefits – MVHR systems feed warmed and filtered air back into the home. The filtration system removes dust particles and other allergens from the air, thus relieving the symptoms of residents suffering from asthma and other respiratory conditions. The avoidance of the formation of mould and damp likewise contributes to the health of those living in the home, while the heating of the recycled clean air creates a pleasant atmosphere within the property.
  • Environmental benefits – the need to take action to reduce carbon emissions has never been so clear. Now more than ever, environmentally friendly and energy-efficient ventilation design is an investment that house buyers are willing to make.
  • Long-term financial benefits – the flow of recycled warm air into the house means owners can reduce heating requirements. In September 2022 the UK government announced an Energy Price Guarantee, capping energy prices with a view to limiting the annual consumption of an average home to £2500, however, this is set to increase to £3000 in April 2023.[3] Within this context, the long-term financial benefits of an efficient insulation and ventilation system are clearly evident.

In 2007, EnviroVent launched a range of ventilation products guaranteed to last the life of the property in which they are installed, meaning the purchase of an Envirovent system really is a worthwhile long-term investment. Information on the range can be found here.

Conclusion: an worthwhile investment that deserves suitable planning

There is no denying that the installation of a mechanical ventilation system is not the cheapest option for house builders. However, the long-term benefits speak for themselves. Because the retrofitting of such systems requires significant renovation work, it should not be difficult to convince prospective buyers of the merit of this additional outlay during the construction phase. That being said, careful planning is required to avoid unnecessary expense. If you are unsure regarding any aspect of your installation, contact the team at EnviroVent and our experts will be more than happy to assist you.