Ventilation

Whereas physics imposes an unfortunate constraint on insulation systems, human limitations pose two constraints on achieving good room air quality. First, occupants (as well as materials) generate humidity, carbon dioxide (CO2) and odour. Second, occupants in a room are insensitive to the quality of the air. A constantly open window wastes energy and intermittent opening requires someone to get up throughout the night. For these reasons, mechanical ventilation of tightly constructed, low energy housing is essential. To be consistent with the low energy goal, heat from the room air should be recovered before it is exhausted. Whereas mechanical ventilation has long been accepted in commercial and institutional buildings, not to mention air craft, occupants are more critical of their home environment. So, at a low budget, home ventilation must provide superior service - for example, to avoid heat stratification, drafts, noise, sound transport and dust propagation. To add a further complication, the ventilation system may also be expected to transport the heat: the subject of the following section.

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