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Leading British ventilation manufacturer Vent-Axia has welcomed the Government’s Clean Air Strategy, launched on 14th January 2019, which highlights the importance of clean air in the home. The strategy sets out how the Government aims to tackle all sources of air pollution with indoor air quality (IAQ) a key part of this. As such, the document proposes a number of simple measures to reduce air pollutants in the home, including regularly ventilating dwellings. In addition, the strategy also outlines the Government's ambitions to reduce outdoor air pollution to help make our air healthier to breathe.
Within the strategy the Government suggests a number of practical ways to reduce indoor air pollution from VOCs, including non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs). These include switching to lower VOC alternatives, such as unperfumed cleaning products. It also recommends ensuring homes are well ventilated to avoid the accumulation of emissions from multiple sources.
Confirming the importance of IAQ, the strategy also states that in spring 2019 the Government will be consulting on changes to Building Regulations standards Part F for ventilation in homes and other buildings, to help reduce the harmful build-up of indoor air pollutants. This Part F consultation and the resulting action on improving IAQ, could potentially be a significant development for the ventilation and construction industries. In addition, NICE (National Institute of Health and Care Excellence) is working on guidance to reduce the risk to public health from indoor air pollution, further emphasising the critical importance of good IAQ.
“We are pleased to see the launch of the Government’s Clean Air Strategy and that it addresses the significance of good IAQ and highlights the importance of good ventilation in achieving this” said Jenny Smith, Marketing Manager at Vent-Axia. “We constantly strive to provide ever more effective and efficient ventilation products to improve IAQ and so improve the nation’s health.”
The Clean Air Strategy follows on from a number of reports and documents that all outline the importance of good IAQ and the risks associated with indoor air pollution. The Government White Paper Building our Future: Laying the Foundations for Healthy Homes and Buildings, published in October 2018, reported that poor IAQ costs the UK over 204,000 healthy life years, with 45% of those lost to cardiovascular diseases, 23% to asthma and allergy and 15% to lung cancer. And in 2016 the Royal College of Physicians warned that indoor air pollutants cause, at a minimum, thousands of deaths per year and are associated with healthcare costs in the order of ‘tens of millions of pounds’.
Reducing NMVOCs is an important part of the strategy. To achieve this, it states that the Government will work with consumer groups, health organisations and industry to improve awareness of NMVOC build-up in the home and the VOC content of everyday products. It also looks to better communicate to the public the importance of effective ventilation to reduce exposure. This is crucial since currently a staggering 65% of UK homes suffer from poor IAQ as a result of inadequate ventilation. The Government will also work with these groups to promote development of lower VOC-content products and to reduce emissions from this sector, as well as exploring the development of a voluntary labelling scheme for NMVOC containing products, and assess its potential effectiveness.
Sources of outdoor air pollution are extensive and include transport, power generation, domestic heating, food production and manufacturing. The strategy also proposes new goals to cut public exposure to particulate matter pollution, as recommended by the World Health Organization.
To help protect health in the home Vent-Axia has been working hard to provide ventilation solutions to improve IAQ for households. Designed to work with the natural air infiltration, continuous ventilation systems control the air path through the home, preventing the migration of damaging humidity and pollutants, such as VOCs. For new builds, Vent-Axia’s Sentinel Kinetic mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR) system boasts an impressive 94% thermal efficiency. For refurbishments, Vent-Axia’s Lo-Carbon Response Decentralised Mechanical Extract Ventilation (dMEV) system or Lo-Carbon Tempra dMEV single room heat recovery units are available. These can be simply retrofitted through a 100mm diameter hole in the wall allowing standard wet room extract fans to be easily replaced.
The government is set to shortly bring forward an Environment (Principles and Governance) Bill which will include primary legislation on air quality, last updated in the historic Clean Air Act of 1993.