Archive for November, 2013

November 14, 2013

Sustainable ventilation and insulation

As winters are getting colder and summers come with record high temperatures, we may think more and more about the comfort of a well-insulated and well-ventillated house.

Today, many companies work on on incorporating simple and easy techniques in order to achieve the best ventilation and insulation for more sustainable buildings.

As an example, cooling of spaces can consume a significant amount of energy and there are a number of innovations already available that can replace traditional air-conditioning systems.

Recent Ashden-Award-winner Monodraught has developed a low-energy cooling and ventilation system called COOLPHASE.

COOLPHASE - Monodraught

COOLPHASE – Monodraught

It utilises the features of so-called Phase Change Materials (PCM), which can absorb thermal energy from their environment and hence enable the cooling of the room. Running costs of the system are said to be 90 per cent lower than traditional methods, and it’s very efficient as at night it re-charges the PCMs inside the equipment.

Natural ventilation is also a hot topic. The Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers even has a special interest group focusing on this area. One of the companies working in this field is Breathing Buildings, offering a range of natural ventilation products, including the e-stack system that keeps air exchange between the interior and the outside to a minimum in cold conditions, while in warmer weather it increases the ventilation rate to avoice overheating.

A significant number of houses are not insulated, and in these about 45 per cent of heat loss is through the walls. Hence insulation could mean a serious tool in reducing wasted energy levels and lowering bills.

For some, home insulation is equal to mess and inconvenience due to the construction work, while sometimes internal insulation can’t be done at all because of planning restrictions. These issues have been addressed by the new insulation technology called WHISCERS, developed by United House and Sustainable Energy Academy for houses with solid walls. The process is simple: dimensions of walls are mapped with a laser scanner, then insulation boards are cut exactly to measure and delivered to the location. This can happen within only 24 hours. When the boards are there, these are installed quickly and with minimum mess, so the life of residents is hardly disrupted.

These are only a few of the solutions that are already available for making buildings more sustainable. With the exponentially growing number of new technologies and innovations it is only a question of the willingness of residents to improve their homes – and save money.

Written for the Energy Saving Warehouse

Image by Ashden

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