Proper ventilation is vital for maintaining a comfortable and healthy indoor environment, especially during winter. The rising energy prices may tempt some to cut back on ventilation to save on heating costs, however, doing so can lead to various issues like indoor air pollution, mould growth and structural damage to the building. Additionally, indoor pollutants such as gases, particulates, and biological contaminants can cause respiratory issues and headaches and aggravate existing conditions like asthma or allergies. It’s essential to remember that you don’t need to compromise your health to save a few euros on your energy bills. Investing in a heat recovery ventilator (HRV) can significantly improve ventilation, while reducing energy costs. Consult a professional to find the best solution for your budget and situation to invest in quality ventilation that saves money in the long run.
Proper ventilation is essential for maintaining a healthy and comfortable indoor environment, especially during winter. With rising energy prices, it can be tempting to cut back on ventilation to save money on heating costs. But this can cause serious problems, such as the build-up of indoor air pollutants, increased viral transmission, mould growth, and structural damage to the building.
Indoor air pollutants include gases and particulates from a variety of sources, including for example, cleaning products, furniture, gas stoves, and pets. When ventilation is inadequate, these pollutants can accumulate, leading to health problems, such as respiratory issues, headaches, and eye, nose and throat irritation1. Long-term exposure to indoor air pollutants is a risk factor for more serious health problems such as cancer, lung diseases, and heart disease2. Pollutants can also aggravate existing conditions such as asthma or allergies3. It is essential to ventilate properly to prevent the buildup of these pollutants indoors.
Proper ventilation can also help prevent the airborne transmission of viruses4. Many viruses spread through small respiratory droplets and particles suspended in the air, including COVID-195, influenza, and the common cold. Theses pathogens can accumulate and spread more easily in poorly ventilated indoor spaces.
Mould also grows more easily in poorly ventilated spaces. Mould can cause structural damage to a building and release harmful spores into the air. By properly ventilating a building, you can help to manage humidity levels and prevent mould from growing.
Unfortunately, many buildings are not properly ventilated, often due to a lack of understanding of the importance of ventilation and how to achieve it in an efficient and cost-effective manner. It is important to find a balance between maintaining good indoor air quality and reducing energy consumption. There are several ways to ventilate in a cost-effective way during the winter.
The best option is to use a heat recovery ventilator (HRV) to improve ventilation while reducing energy costs. An HRV recovers heat from the stale air being exhausted from the building and uses it to preheat the fresh air being brought into the building. This can help reduce the energy needed for heating and lead to significant savings. HRVs also contain air filters to ensure the air supplied is free of particulate contamination.
Other options include using exhaust fans to remove moisture and pollutants or, failing that, opening windows and doors to let fresh air in. It’s important to evaluate all options and choose the best fit your situation and budget. Consult a professional if needed.
In short, proper ventilation is crucial for maintaining a healthy and comfortable indoor environment, especially during winter. Despite rising energy prices, it is important to ensure that your home or office is properly ventilated and that the systems are regularly maintained and serviced to ensure optimal performance. By properly ventilating a building, you can improve the health and comfort of the occupants and prevent structural damage to your building, saving money in the long run.
Mr Stijn Renneboog
Deputy Secretary General