Garden Room Air Quality - Heat Recovery Ventilation
Updated: Jan 13
Why does OffPOD offer heat recovery ventilation as standard?
At OffPOD we are determined to ensure our Garden Rooms are engineered to the highest of standards. We are not happy with them just looking spectacular, but, we also want them to perform spectacularly. We go the extra mile where others do not, and that is why we are the first Garden Room manufacturer in the UK to offer ‘heat recovery ventilation as a standard feature across all our builds. We want you to be able to get the most out of your modern garden room and we do this by embracing technological advances. Our rooms are built to look aesthetically fantastic, perform as your desired space and stand the test of time. We are determined to ensure that OffPOD Luxury Garden Rooms are optimal in every area and ventilation is definitely one of the most important, and often overlooked. Read on to find out why we don’t think you should even consider buying a garden room if it does not come with such a feature. We want our buildings to be energy efficient and sustainable, we make it a priority to go the extra mile to make sure this is the case. We value our customers and their health!
What is heat recovery ventilation?
In a garden room, a large amount of fresh air is needed to maintain air quality. Traditionally, fresh air is provided by opening windows or by mechanical ventilation systems that blow fresh air into buildings. During cold weather, this air has to be heated which accounts for up to 80% of the total building's heat requirement when a space is occupied. At the same time as the cold incoming air is heated, the warm exhaust air from the building is dumped. Heat recovery ventilation is a method of transferring energy or heat from waste air to the cold incoming air without compromising the quality of the fresh air. The heat recovery system works by closing windows during cold weather and delivering air through a special wheel called a ‘thermal wheel’. This wheel contains lots of very small metal airways that absorb energy or heat from the outgoing air. As the wheel spins, it transfers heat from the expelled air to warm up the cold incoming air, this saves energy and offers warm, fresh air.
What are the advantages of heat recovery ventilation?
Ultimately, HRV will give you a warm, well-ventilated garden room and stop you from “dispersing your money” into the atmosphere every time you open your windows. In winter, they can help save on your heating bills; in summer, they reduce the need for air conditioning. By keeping excess moisture out of your OffPOD, it is subsequently better for your building, furnishings, and health (properly ventilated spaces that are neither too hot nor too damp are less likely to harbour dust mites, a very common trigger of asthma.) HRV systems help to keep the "climate" inside your garden building at a more constant level. Typically, this type of ventilation retains about two-thirds to three-quarters of the heat that would normally be lost from your space through ventilation (some manufacturers claim 85–95 percent), so, they really do save energy. How much energy? According to British environmental auditor Nicola Terry's calculations, HRV can safely cut the number of air changes per hour in a "leaky space” by about 50 percent, reducing the energy lost through ventilation by about 65 percent. A small amount of this energy is used to power the electric fans in the HRV system (typically about 50–100 watts, and as high as 300 watts in some cases), but there's still a considerable energy saving.
Reasons why heat recovery ventilation is essential
Good garden room ventilation helps to create a healthier environment for you and your family. Common problems in a typical space without adequate ventilation include moisture in the air leading to condensation and mold growth, dust mites can more easily flourish in damp conditions which can lead to asthma and other health issues. Construction materials such as, paint, cleaning products, and carpet can all give off harmful volatile inorganic compounds which can be damaging to health. Extraction fans are a good method of removing pollutants quickly however, the main disadvantage is that they reduce heat, require trickle vents, and can cause cold spots in your room. Passive ventilation avoids using electricity however is restricted in terms of air exchange which is ultimately determined by external weather conditions and pressure differentials. Again, during colder periods this method wastes heat and can cause draughts.
As we rush to seal our homes and buildings from the cold we must remember that we have to live and use them too. We spend up to 90% of our time in rooms whereby the air quality is at a far lower standard than that outside which can lead to a whole host of respiratory illnesses. This creates the dilemma of closing our windows to retain the heat or opening them to let the fresh air in. Good ventilation broken down into simple terms is the act of taking bad air out of a space and letting fresh air in… So what is bad air? Well, actually it is mostly caused by us, and the things we do. Other than ventilation for things such as fires and boilers it can be broken down into three main groups
1- Moisture- If your OfPOD is to be used as a garden annex it is worth bearing in mind that through cooking, washing, and drying, the average person can produce up to 4 litres of moisture in a week. If the moisture is not dealt with it condensates on cold surfaces causing cold which damages our garden rooms and provides the ideal environment for bacteria etc.
2- Metabolism- CO2 from breathing which includes moisture and odours. While odours can be unpleasant too much CO2 for too long is not good for your health. It can affect concentration and induce fatigue amongst other problems. It is important to reduce the spread of airborne infectious diseases such as Covid-19. Research has shown that high levels of CO2 in a confined space can lead to a drop in concentration levels and premature fatigue - not ideal if you intend on using your OffPOD as a garden office or a garden gym
3- VOCs (Volatile organic compounds… These are quite complicated and are basically chemicals that we don’t really want. The vast majority are okay however some of them are very bad and we try not to be in close contact with them. They can be found in paints, varnishes, and cleaning products. Good ventilation can mitigate the risk of these causing any harm to your health.
So, if you are after a modern garden room that is sustainable, efficient, looks outstanding and provides optimum air quality then you are in the right place. Please be sure to contact us regarding any questions you may have as we are always happy to help even if you are not looking to buy a garden building immediately.