Hybrid option helps reduce carbon by 80 percent plus in refurbishment

A sustainable approach to refurbishment of a century-old ‘Arts & Crafts’ semi-detached home is on target to achieve a virtually zero carbon footprint, through use of innovative technologies.

One of the key elements incorporated into Kit Knowles’ refurbishment of his home in the historic garden village and conservation area of Chorltonville, Manchester, is Passivent’s new iHybrid ventilation system. Uniquely, Passivent iHybrid combines the benefits of proven natural ‘intelligent’ passive stack ventilation with those of heat recovery, to give a ‘mixed mode’ hybrid option, minimizing energy consumption whilst ensuring the dwelling is effectively ventilated with clean, pollutant-free fresh air.

Kit elaborates, “I estimate my carbon reduction for the home to be around 80% already, and by the time I have included other renewable of solar thermal and photovoltaic thermal panels, the figure may be closer to zero! My aim has been to create a real home, that is a showcase of sustainable strategies for renovations, and which can be visited by people wishing to learn and include such technologies in their own projects.

“Passivent’s iHybrid has been a key element of the scheme. My research demonstrated the main technologies for energy efficiency were passive stack and heat recovery, so I started looking for a ventilation system which combined them both. Passivent was the only company which made something appropriate available in the UK, and it had the added advantages that it delivers the ventilation requirement necessary for healthy living and its design is so discreet, it is acceptable by planning for a conservation area.”

Passivent  is the UK’s leading supplier of natural ventilation solutions for domestic and commercial environments, and its iHybrid is the only system of its kind, combining natural ventilation, with heat recovery available as/when necessary.

Passivent iHybrid predominantly uses well-designed natural ‘passive stack’ ventilation, harnessing natural air movement principles to draw fresh air into a home and exhaust the ‘used’ internal air without any electrical consumption, coupled with ‘as and when necessary’ heat recovery.

An external thermostat monitors the outside temperature: when above 9°C, the natural ventilation wall vent remains open to provide fresh air into the dwelling, with the humidity sensitive ceiling mounted extracts drawing the ‘used’ internal air out only as and when required via convection and the venturi effect (whereby warm air rises, and air moves faster with height, creating suction). As extraction automatically occurs only when necessary, there is no occupier input, nor unnecessary extraction which would place a corresponding demand on heating to maintain the ambient warmth within the home.

When the external temperature falls below 9°C, the system senses the coolness and switches to heat recovery mode, closing the wall vent and switching air transfer to via the heat exchanger, transmitting warmth from the exhaust air to the cooler incoming air to reduce heat loss, and maintain a comfortable internal ambient temperature AND air quality.

As a result, the energy-using heat recovery element operates only when required: research by the Institute of Energy & Sustainable Development at de Montfort University has shown the iHybrid thus produces electrical energy savings of 55% a year, and a 8.5% saving in carbon emissions as a result. Further, as the heat recovery element is used less, and the natural ventilation has no moving parts to need replacing or maintenance, lifetime costs in repair, maintenance and replacement parts are correspondingly cut- by approximately 39% over a 60 years lifespan of a dwelling.

Passivent iHybrid is complemented by the company’s established range for domestic buildings including assisted and mechanical ventilation solutions for single person to multi-occupancy properties, plus a range of background window and through-wall ventilation solutions.

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