Debate Magazine

New-builds Blamed for Blighting Air Quality ...

Posted on the 27 April 2016 by Markwadsworth @Mark_Wadsworth

So BBC Scotland reports the findings of an interesting academic study into domestic air pollution:
Specialists at the school's Mackintosh Environmental Research Unit (MEARU) said modern homes were being built to be airtight. 

This causes a build-up of harmful chemicals and moisture if householders do not open windows or vents. 

The unit has made a series of recommendations to reduce pollutants. Prof Tim Sharpe, head of the MEARU, said: "Poor indoor air quality, particularly in bedrooms, is hard for people to detect. 

"There are clear links between poor ventilation and ill-health so people need to be aware of the build up of CO2 and other pollutants in their homes and their potential impact on health." 

The MEARU conducted a survey of 200 homes which were constructed to modern, airtight standards. It found that most householders kept trickle vents closed, and bedroom windows closed at night.
But a cursory glance at the Energy Saving Trust website suggests one man's 'ventilation' is another man's 'draught':
Unless your home is very new, you will lose some heat through draughts around doors and windows, gaps around the floor, or through the chimney. 

Professional draught-proofing of windows, doors and blocking cracks in floors and skirting boards can cost around £200, but can save up to £25 to £35 a year on energy bills. DIY draft proofing can be much cheaper. Installing a chimney draft excluder could save between £20 and £25 a year as well.

With the north winds blowing blizzards well into the back end of April this seemed quite topical.

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