New ventilation systems increase efficiency in Duddeston apartments

Residents living in the refurbished Boat Blocks high rise apartments in Duddeston, Birmingham, are reaping the benefits of new ventilation systems from EnviroVent as part of a major refurbishment project.

The Boat Blocks, owned by Birmingham City Council, consist of four 12-storey tower blocks of 66 apartments each, with EnviroVent’s whole house ventilation units installed in all 264 properties.

Birmingham City Council was aware of condensation and mould issues in the apartments, which were at risk of being exacerbated when External Wall Insulation (EWI) was fitted as part of the upgrade that would effectively reduce natural ventilation to the flats.  The council wanted to take a proactive approach to ventilating the flats to protect the health of residents and the fabric of the building, and avoid potentially costly disrepair issues in the future.

EnviroVent recommended its wall-mounted Positive Input Ventilation (PIV) systems because they eliminate the requirement for multiple extract fans, within the flats, in the kitchens and bathrooms, providing highly effective whole house ventilation.  The EnviroVent wall-mounted units provide fresh, filtered and tempered air into the flats, improving the indoor air quality, reducing condensation, and eliminating black mould.  This type of unit is extremely versatile and can be installed in various orientations, meaning it could meet the complexities of the Boat Block project for the three different layouts of the flats.  EnviroVent proposed utilising the existing holes drilled into the walls once the old, inefficient extractor fans had been removed.

A spokesperson for Birmingham City Council said, “We were pleased with the service provided by EnviroVent on the Boat Blocks project.  Despite a challenging set of circumstances to ensure the stringent consistency of each installation and the technicalities to comply with the Regulations, EnviroVent’s technical assistance and expert installations team was second to none in ensuring that everything ran smoothly.”

The Boat Blocks project consisted of installing both External Wall Insulation and whole house ventilation, which will not only increase the thermal warmth of the properties considerably, resulting in lower fuel bills for occupants, but also protect the fabric of the building for the Council.  EnviroVent’s ventilation solution will ensure that condensation and mould issues are eradicated, reducing the burden of ongoing call-outs and maintenance.

David Sewell from EnviroVent explains, “The Boat Blocks is a great example of our technical team working with a local authority to devise an innovative and sustainable solution to their ventilation issues.  We were able to overcome the challenges to enable these properties to be brought up to the energy efficiency requirements, whilst ensuring they maximised safety and were affordable to run.”

EnviroVent was selected for the project as the company offers a full service solution, including site visits, design, supply and installation, health & safety and technical expertise.

Following the Grenfell Tower tragedy, Birmingham City Council undertook a lengthy procedure to ensure fire safety compliance with the refurbishment.  This involved EnviroVent’s team providing technical assistance and knowledge in understanding the considerations that had to be taken into account to fully comply with Building Regulations Part B – Fire.  This included the ability to install smoke alarms and fire dampers where there were breaks in the firewall.

The EnviroVent Wall Mounted Positive Input Ventilation unit used within the project is part of the Lifetime Range® and comes with a renewable five-year warranty to achieve the lowest lifecycle costs. Once installed, there is no requirement for any maintenance within the first two years, after which the filter is cleaned or replaced. At the five-year point, under the servicing programme that EnviroVent offers, the unit can be serviced and provided with another five year warranty, saving the council thousands of pounds in replacement costs.

The energy consumption of the unit is extremely low, powered by an ultra low watt DC motor to ensure low running costs for the occupant. The unit also helps to redistribute the warm air that can accumulate at ceiling level and thus reduce the space heating costs within the home.

EnviroVent, which has its headquarters in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, is one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of ventilation systems.  The company has over 30 years’ experience in delivering sustainable products that are built to last the life cycle of a building.

The company offers a complete service to local authorities and housing associations from survey, design and manufacture, project design, supply, installation and commissioning.

For more information on improving the air quality in housing stock, visit the website or to find out more about EnviroVent’s CPD seminars call 0345 27 27 810. For specific newbuild projects for Social Housing, please contact Keith Walton

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