20 Sep Energy saving, the Kyoto protocol and MVHR
Energy saving in buildings concerns both the companies operating in this sector and the people who inhabit newly constructed homes.
In the wake of the Kyoto Protocol, the idea emerged that new buildings could be effectively used to counter climate change through measures ensuring adequate air renewal inside environments: mechanical ventilation systems with heat recovery (MVHR) are a solution whenever environments lack adequate ventilation.
Global climate change analysed by the Kyoto Protocol
The aim of the Kyoto Protocol is to implement effective measures to counter climate change also by intervening on the energy performance of buildings: each adhering country must quantitatively reduce climate-altering gas emissions (CO2 carbon dioxide, CH4 methane, SF6 sulphur hexafluoride, HFC hydrofluorocarbons, N2O nitrogen oxide, PFC perfluorocarbons) by implementing a monitoring system (“National inventory for greenhouse gas emissions and absorption”), alongside a series of specific measures. Interestingly, over 55% of the current greenhouse gas effect depends on CO2, which is therefore one of the main causes behind climate change.
Energy performance in buildings: mechanical ventilation with heat recovery
Initially, this international document entailed softer limitations for developing countries as opposed to the more economically developed countries. Nowadays, however, the international community is calling for new agreements more attuned to the current situation and emphasising the energy performance of buildings, and that account for countries like China and India, for example, which are among the emerging fast-growing economies. The European directive moves in this direction by promoting in the relevant territory improvements in the energy performance of buildings: the member states are called upon to adopt suitable measures to fulfil building requirements (heating, cooling, lighting, domestic hot water production, ventilation) in compliance with the minimum energy performance requirements.
It is also important to prevent any negative effects caused by failing to duly consider the general climate conditions: this is the case of inadequate ventilation, for example, which must be tackled owing to its harmfulness to human health. Good air circulation means better air quality, as it allows for limiting humidity and environmental pollution, taking advantage of improved air renewal, and guaranteeing improved aeration and extraction.
Optimal operation of air ventilation and filtration systems can be achieved thanks to diversified ranges of ducts, bends and couplings, which can adapt to the most diverse needs, ensure minimal dispersion during airflow and guarantee proper air renewal in rooms lacking adequate natural ventilation: energy performance in buildings, therefore, has plenty of room for improvement.
The importance of ventilation
A person at rest produces 55 g/h of water vapour, while 470 g of water vapour is the humidity content in a room measuring roughly 50 m3 with a temperature of 20°C (50% humidity): the humidity increases during the course of the day, as does the carbon dioxide content, with 22 l/h being produced by each person at rest. To prevent the carbon dioxide content from exceeding a concentration of 1.5 l/m2 (the level deemed healthy for an environment), a ventilation system that renews the air is necessary, in order to safeguard human health and the building envelope – this is why the energy performance of buildings is so important. A lower degree of building deterioration, renewed air, comfort and hygiene, lower heating and air conditioning costs, and improved energy performance of dwellings.
There are 4 ways of aerating a room: opening the doors or windows, and natural, mechanical or hybrid ventilation. If until yesterday buildings were subject to infiltrations and leaks, nowadays they tend to be airtight, thus air renewal and the resulting improved energy performance of the building cannot occur without the aid of controlled ventilation systems equipped with outlets and inlets and PVC ducts that allow for managing the air renewal with the outside environment without having to open the doors and windows.
Mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR)
MVHR allows for having clean and dry air in the home by exploiting the heat of the expelled air: there are several sources of pollution in dwellings, this is why it is important to aerate rooms frequently to guarantee an adequate air renewal. However, besides improving the air quality inside the home, this method also leads to considerable thermal energy wastage, without considering the fact that thermal bridges due to high indoor humidity can occur even with proper direct aeration.
Ventilation of living spaces through a mechanical ventilation system with heat recovery (MVHR) solves all these problems and recovers the heat that would otherwise be dispersed; it also lowers the room’s humidity level, improves the air quality and consumes very little electricity, equal to 0.6 W/m3h. The MVHR unit is a crucial element of the building’s energy efficiency, as it channels humid air through appropriate ducts installed on ceilings or inside the walls: any excess humidity is expelled, the air is cleaned and the conditions of the indoor air are kept constantly under control. The system is fitted with filters that purify the incoming and outgoing air, while controlling and adjusting the entry of air and double flows.
FITT Air SANITIZED
Ensuring a breathable atmosphere and improving the energy performance of buildings are the objectives of the Kyoto Protocol: this is why companies that work to ensure a cleaner environment for everyone are so heavily involved. Ventilating means renewing and guaranteeing permanent air renewal: FITT Air, the ideal aeration and ventilation air duct made by FITT, channels the air from manifolds to the inlets/outlets.
It does this by exploiting the SANITIZED antimicrobial treatment, developed by the Swiss laboratories to reduce the amount of bacteria in ducts by more than 99%. The SANITIZED anti-microbial system prevents the build-up of bacteria and fungi and the onset of bad odours thanks to zinc pyrithione, a biocidal active ingredient.