With Building Regulation standards having been recently revised, the increasingly stringent requirements for energy efficiency demand more careful consideration of ventilation and air conditioning.

Whether for domestic or commercial applications, the need to specify and fit the correct system is now more important than ever.

Part L of Building Regulations now specifies much higher targets for energy efficiency. A big change is the level of air tightness required for new domestic buildings. As we still need to supply the building with fresh air and extract stale moist air, Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery (MVHR) is becoming more common in new houses. This not only helps meets the new standards, but has the added benefit of saving the home owner money and providing a fresh and airy feel to the house.

With more technical and innovative building products available, fitting these systems during the construction of the house has never been easier. A new approach to the problem of fitting ridged duct work is semi-flexible radial duct. This is run between a central air manifold and the room’s ceiling valve. As this only has to supply or extract from a single room, it can be smaller diameter (typically 75mm). This also solves problems with room to room sound transference which could result with rigid interconnecting duct work.

The new MVHR units also must be tested to meet strict product standards and systems which meet this are published on the SAP appendix Q database managed by the Energy Savings Trust (EST) and the Building Research Establishment (BRE). By installing SAP appendix Q equipment builders and developers benefit from higher SAP scores which they need in support of their planning applications.

With R22 based air conditioning units now being replaced as they are no longer able to be maintained, a new opportunity exists to re-evaluate the way in which buildings can be air -conditioned. One of many examples of thinking outside of the box was the “Invisible.AC” system installed at the Hotel Chocolat store at the Stratford London Westfield Shopping Centre. With the Invisible. AC system, not only could the product be displayed under lighting without fear of melting, the store could have an energy efficient system and no unsightly air conditioning units visible in the ceiling.