Wednesday, 27 April 2016

New-builds blamed for blighting air quality ...

So BBC Scotland reports the findings of an interesting academic study into domestic air pollution:

Specialists at the school's Mackintosh Environmental Research Unit (MEARU) said modern homes were being built to be airtight. 

This causes a build-up of harmful chemicals and moisture if householders do not open windows or vents. 

The unit has made a series of recommendations to reduce pollutants. Prof Tim Sharpe, head of the MEARU, said: "Poor indoor air quality, particularly in bedrooms, is hard for people to detect. 

"There are clear links between poor ventilation and ill-health so people need to be aware of the build up of CO2 and other pollutants in their homes and their potential impact on health." 

The MEARU conducted a survey of 200 homes which were constructed to modern, airtight standards. It found that most householders kept trickle vents closed, and bedroom windows closed at night.

But a cursory glance at the Energy Saving Trust website suggests one man's 'ventilation' is another man's 'draught':

Unless your home is very new, you will lose some heat through draughts around doors and windows, gaps around the floor, or through the chimney. 

Professional draught-proofing of windows, doors and blocking cracks in floors and skirting boards can cost around £200, but can save up to £25 to £35 a year on energy bills. DIY draught proofing can be much cheaper. Installing a chimney draught excluder could save between £20 and £25 a year as well.

With the north winds blowing blizzards well into the back end of April this seemed quite topical.


Dinero said...

Its not obvious why a person would keep trickle vents closed. Maybe they don't know what they are.

Steven_L said...

D, the BBC article does support your thesis:

Margaret and John Trainer, from East Renfrewshire, were given an instruction manual for their new home which explained how to ventilate it, but they found the document hard going.

"It was too technical," said Mrs Trainer.

"It was a huge folder and it just went into the drawer and that's where it stayed. It was designed for someone who was mechanical. It wasn't any use to me."

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Mark In Mayenne said...

If you're working a 48-hour shift, your performance at the end of it is likely to be sub-par, and hence you are less likely to be able to make the decisions and take the actions necessary to save a patient's life.

Also consider the junior doctor, or perhaps trainee doctor who was dissuaded only by some high-pwered state intervention, from suing his employer on the basis that requiring him to stay awake for most of 48 hours was jeapordising his health and safety at work.

Bayard said...

"CO2 and other pollutants"

I bet most people don't know they are polluting the air when they breathe. We should all stop doing it.

"But a cursory glance at the Energy Saving Trust website suggests one man's 'ventilation' is another man's 'draught'"

The easiest way to make your home leak less heat is to cut down the air infiltration, or, in plain terms, get rid of draughts. An air-tight house is an energy efficient house and ticks all the boxes for being green. However, it is very easy to overdo this and simply not have enough fresh air coming into the house to carry away the H2O, CO2 and CH4 (well, not so much CH4, one would hope) we human beings produce. That's when the problems start.