Specifiers in particular are becoming more attuned with the need to design buildings to higher standards than the minimum requirement, as set out in the new Building Regulations 2010, effective from October 1st.
However, as technically good as any new product is in the development laboratory, in practice it will only be as good as the way it is installed and, equally important, the way it is maintained.
A case in point is the increased awareness of the benefits to be obtained from the specification of Ventilation with Heat Recovery Systems in residential and commercial installations.
These units are becoming increasingly more efficient by recovering over 90% of the heat from what would normally be the waste, damp extract air from the wet rooms. Air that would normally be lost is in fact a valuable resource to warm the fresh, filtered incoming air from outside and distribute it to the occupied areas of a building.
However, it makes no sense to invest in energy efficient products to improve indoor air quality, prolong the life of the buildings fabric and occupant well being if the benefits to be gained are lost through leakage from a poor quality and badly fitted ductwork system.
Traditional methods like flexible ducting are easily torn, high on system resistance and are often squeezed around bends and between joists further reducing air flow. Likewise plastic flat ducting is often ill fitting with sharp bends causing dust traps and time consuming to install with much wastage of material.
Fortunately there is now a viable alternative.
Systems like Airflow’s Airflex Pro Semi-Rigid ducting provides a quicker, more hygienic and zero leakage method of ductwork installation for ventilation with heat recovery units (MVHR).
Recently assessed by BRE it has been accepted as a standard method of ductwork installation and eligible for Sap Appendix Q data input calculations
Supplied on a roll and just 75mm diameter, it is measurably faster to install as it is flexible while still being durable .In fact it has a higher degree of “crushability” than flexible and plastic ducting enabling it to withstand higher external pressures.
Instead of wasting time cutting and taping plastic ducting like a jig saw puzzle fewer parts are required and the pipe can be manoeuvred between joists with ease and is also easier to fit in refurbishment situations as it can be run vertically down the walls to connect with low level wall and floor grilles . It is also possible to bury it in the concrete screed between floors.
It has been demonstrated that a saving of up to 75% on installation time on-site is possible for contractors, making them more competitive when tendering for MVHR installations.
A feature of the Airflex Pro system is how each room is connected individually to the ventilation unit. This significantly reduces the issues of inter-room noise transmission. So if loud music is being played in one area you are not going to hear it during a meeting in another room. Likewise noise in wet rooms is not going to be heard via the extract grille in another area.
The double skin, low resistance piping is connected to the heat recovery unit via a central plenum box where air is smoothed out and conditioned for either extraction through the unit or for delivery into living areas within the dwelling. With a simple push fit sealing ring at the ceiling termination and the ventilation unit there is no possibility of leakage because there are no other interim joints. Depending upon the amount of balanced air to extracted or delivered to a particular room it is a simple matter of doubling the length of the delivery pipe to provide higher volumes of air into larger spaces.
Indoor air quality and hygiene issues are growing dramatically. The UK has the highest rate of asthma sufferers in young people in Europe and with increasingly airtight dwellings, moist, stale and stuffy air abounds.
The Airflex Pro ductwork system ensures the air in circulation should be as fresh and as clean as possible as the possibility of dust traps within the ductwork system are almost eliminated.
However, to increase the overall systems hygiene, the flexible pipe is lined with a smooth bore, non-absorbent, low resistance, anti-static coating to limit pollutants settling.
Another feature of the smooth bore pipe system which reduces sharp bends and negates branch ducts is that in sensitive installations, such as treatment rooms in surgeries, where a high level of cleanliness is required, the circular smooth bore piping can also be accessed for ease of cleaning with a conventional central vacuum system as part of the buildings planned maintenance schedule.
With a wide selection of supply and extract grilles, diffusers and termination boxes Airflex Pro Semi-Rigid ducting system provides a complete system for a fully integrated, high efficiency ventilation ductwork that works with MVHR systems to deliver cost savings on installation and hygienic indoor conditions ensuring the long term economic and environmental well being of both the building and its occupants.
Airflex Pro complements Airflow’s Duplexvent range of residential and commercial Ventilation with Heat Recovery units which use a triple filter system to clean the incoming and outgoing air into the heat exchanger as well as the secondary cleaning of the incoming air.