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The Sefton Council Project

In the UK, asthma is a serious and growing problem affecting 5.2 million people, equivalent to a staggering 1 in 5 households. This also includes 1.1 million children.

Close Up Of Condensation On Window

The Sefton Council Project

During 2007, Sefton Council set up a project to improve the quality of life for families with children suffering from asthma in the region. The EnviroVent positive ventilation units were chosen to be installed in thirteen homes to improve indoor air quality and dust allergies.

Funded through Neighbourhood Renewal, GPs were involved to locate families with children who suffer from asthma in the area. Debbie Philips, Affordable Warmth Coordinator at Sefton Council said “The aim was to reduce humidity levels in homes, which may lead to reductions in house dust mite allergens. In addition, improving energy efficiency conservation was a key factor in allocating the correct units for the project.”

Nowadays, with improved building features in our homes, such as cavity wall insulation, double glazing and draught proofing 'natural ventilation' is prohibited. Stale, humid air is trapped causing streaming windows, which ultimately leads to musty smells, dampness and mould growth.

These mould spores are known allergens and become airborne at the slightest disturbance. The microscopic spores are then inhaled and can trigger respiratory problems such as asthma, dust allergies and hayfever.

The EnviroVent Positive Ventilation Units gently ventilate the home from a central position on the landing in a house or the central hallway of a flat or bungalow. Fresh air is drawn into the dwelling from the outside and filtered before being delivered into the property. Vapourladen air is diluted, displaced and replaced with clean, tempered and filtered air, eliminating or reducing surface condensation, which causes mould growth.

After the EnviroVent Positive Ventilation Units had been installed for the Sefton Council project questionnaires were sent out to the families to monitor the effectiveness of the units.

The results were extremely positive. The majority of the families involved in the project experienced significant improvements in the health of their children and in the indoor air quality. In addition, a number of of the families had reported that the problems with condensation had disappeared.

Debbie Philips remarked that “one family were delighted with the results and said that their son's quality of life had improved as he was sleeping much better and his teacher at school had also noticed a vast improvement in his concentration and ability to take part in PE lessons. Not only that, the family had been able to turn their heating thermostat down, due to the heat distribution benefit of the unit”.

Another family living on an extremely low income has also reduced their heating costs by £2 a week, resulting in a significant saving over the duration of the heating season.

Due to the success of the project, Sefton Council was nominated for the Groundwork Merseyside Environmental Awards under the category The Healthy Lives Award for Public Authorities, which was held on 7th February at the Liverpool Crowne Plaza Hotel.

Organised by Groundwork on Merseyside, the Awards provide councils, businesses and schools the opportunity to be recognised for their achievements over the past year in helping to develop a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly future.

The Sefton Easier Breathing Project came runner up at the prestigious event, which gave great credibility to the effectiveness of the EnviroVent positive ventilation units in providing a significant improvement in the health of asthma sufferers and general indoor air quality.