Ventilation in low energy residences – a survey on code requirements, implementation barriers and operational challenges from seven European countries
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionThe International Journal of Ventilation. 2020, . 10.1080/14733315.2020.1732056
This paper reports the results of an interview survey conducted among different stakeholders involved in design, installation and operation of residential ventilation in seven European countries. In total 44 interviews were performed. The results provide a valuable snapshot of current practices and insights into potential barriers and challenges regarding installation of mechanical ventilation in low-energy residences to maintain high indoor air quality (IAQ). The results show that mechanical ventilation with heat recovery is becoming a common choice in new low energy residences in Europe. However, there are countries that apply airing or other types of ventilation such as mechanical exhaust or natural ventilation due to tradition, national legislation, climatic conditions and/or cost reasons. Demand-controlled ventilation (DCV) is often allowed or even recommended in standards, but rarely implemented in practice, except for exhaust-only humidity-based DCV in France and Belgium. The main barriers against mechanical ventilation seem to be high capital cost, space requirements and duct routing. The respondents commonly reported problems resulting from poor construction, lack of commissioning and/or maintenance. The main needs to be identified in the survey were more legislative pushes including more flexibility in legislation, a coordinated approach to energy efficiency and IAQ, and control mechanisms to ensure good implementation and operation.