BLOG: Breathing Life Into Net Zero
In the realm of sustainable progress, the race towards achieving net-zero carbon emissions probably stands as one of the defining challenges of our era. If there's one lesson the past few years has taught us, it's that proper ventilation and high indoor air quality are no longer optional but integral to the design and functionality of sustainable buildings.
“Carbon neutral" and "net zero”, two words that are everywhere! They pepper social feeds and pop up in emails. But what do they truly signify? Stripped back to basics, the core mission is about making a positive impact on our planet.
Right now, global conversations are taking place. This September alone we witness the first, ever World Health Organisation's (WHO) Clean Air Conference with a focus on Indoor Air. Last week saw World Green Building Week, and in a few weeks' time World Ventilation Day launches for a second year running.
These discussions gain even more significance as the UK Government initiates an inquiry into heat resilience and sustainable cooling and concurrently, there's a nationwide effort to advance the Clean Air Bill through Parliament. So, the spotlight on ventilation is shining bright.
The role of ventilation
So why is it so important to give ventilation centre stage?
There are several key reasons:
Energy consumption: HVAC systems constitute a significant portion of a building's energy consumption. By optimising ventilation strategies, we can dramatically reduce this energy footprint.
Carbon-efficient technologies: Emerging technologies, such as heat recovery ventilation systems, offer a lifeline to slash energy consumption. These systems not only ensure optimal air quality but also recapture and redistribute valuable heat energy.
Integrated building design: Architects and engineers hold immense power in designing spaces that harmoniously integrate with advanced HVAC systems. When collaborating from the inception stage, architects can ensure efficient air distribution, optimising HVAC functions.
This year the World Green Building Week theme is ‘Building Transformation’. At its heart, ‘Building Transformation’ means moving beyond business as usual. It means taking bold steps to design, construct and operate buildings and communities that are energy-efficient, environmentally responsible, and socially equitable. This requires the industry to rethink building practices and embrace proven, innovative solutions at scale.
If we look at this from a HVAC point of view, 'centralised' systems have, traditionally, been the go-to for managing ventilation and air quality in buildings. However, at MAPUK we believe the industry needs to take a closer look at the use of 'decentralised' ventilation systems.
So why decentralised?
These systems offer several strong advantages:
Energy efficiency: Decentralised systems can be highly energy-efficient, especially when used with heat recovery technology. They reduce energy waste by only ventilating the spaces that need it when they need it.
Customisation: With decentralised systems, we can tailor ventilation to the specific needs of individual rooms or zones, ensuring optimal IAQ where it matters most.
Retrofit potential: Retrofitting older buildings with decentralised ventilation can be far more cost-effective and less disruptive than installing traditional centralised systems.
Retrofits for a sustainable tomorrow
Retrofits are in fact a powerful tool in our journey towards greener buildings. The innovative use of decentralised ventilation systems makes retrofits more accessible and efficient than ever before. By integrating decentralised ventilation systems, we not only enhance IAQ but also reduce energy consumption, lower carbon emissions, and increase overall comfort for occupants.
The road ahead
So what is the takeaway message? As we move forward let's remember that the journey to net-zero is one of collective dedication. Architects, engineers and designers have the tools to make a difference, but we must work together to create greener spaces.
We need to channel our expertise, innovation and collaborative spirit. We must also recognise that ventilation and IAQ are not mere technical details; they are in fact integral to the health, well-being, and sustainability of our buildings.
About the author
Barry Hobday is the Managing Director at Motorised Air Products (MAPUK). With the help of innovative research, MAP and its associated suppliers are committed to using pioneering product design and technology to provide unique solutions in air ventilation.
On Tuesday 12 September, MAPUK launched the Decentralised Pulse System, known as FVPpulse. The product aims to revolutionise the way buildings breathe. Developed in collaboration with LTG Aktiengesellschaft (a pioneering German company specialising in air and climate technology) the FVPpulse is a decentralised supplied air and return air unit that mimics the natural movement of air, enabling buildings to "breathe" effortlessly.
For more information about the FVPpulse read the latest News Release.