Recent high air pollution levels across the UK are highlighting the fact that more needs to be done to combat air pollution. DEFRA this week has issued health warnings across England with regard high air pollution levels which are said to get higher by the weekend. London is already at the maximum level on the air pollution scale of 10. The high air pollution levels are due to a mix of UK and European emissions such as Nitrous Oxide (NO2), Sulphur Dioxide (SO2), ozone, particulates and dust from the Sahara. The UK is particularly bad at reducing air pollution levels and the European Commission has recently launched legal proceedings against the UK for failing to reduce levels of NO2 air pollution. These warnings are simply highlighting the state of the air quality in some of our cities which is only going to get worse as the climates warms up and smoggy, still days become more prevalent. According to the World Health Organisation air pollution is the world’s single biggest environmental health risk.
The use of mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR) in homes with F7 filters on the supply air can help filter out some of these contaminants and keep our homes fresh and healthy. Not only is MVHR effective at removing contaminants inside and ensuring adequate fresh air, with suitable filters on in the incoming supply side they can filter and clean outdoor air as it comes in. At some of Gale & Snowden’s recent multi residential schemes such as Knights Place and Rowan House where we designed in the MVHR systems to include F7 filters, we have been testing and monitoring for air quality where residents are reported to be very happy with their indoor environment in terms of air quality and fresh air, even without having to open windows in winter.
As well as providing architectural design service and Passivhaus design consultancy, Gale & Snowden also employs building biologists, building physicists and mechanical engineers. This integrated approach enables us to design buildings that are not only passive and low energy but are also truly healthy places to be in.