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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
Green Building Bible, fourth edition (both books)
These two books are the perfect starting place to help you get to grips with one of the most vitally important aspects of our society - our homes and living environment.

PLEASE NOTE: A download link for Volume 1 will be sent to you by email and Volume 2 will be sent to you by post as a book.

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    We're renovating the living room in our end-of-terrace Victorian house. The room will be well insulated and as airtight as possible. Should I install a single-room mechanical ventilator with heat recovery in the livingroom? Personally, I have a very low tolerance for "stuffy" air so I'm quite keen on the idea, even though I know that single-room MVHR is usually reserved for rooms like bathroom and kitchen.

    Any thoughts?

    The room is usually only occupied by me, my wife and the dog but occasionally we have friends around :)
    • CommentAuthorMiked2714
    • CommentTimeJan 23rd 2010
    I think the thing you'll have to satisfy yourself is that the noise levels are satisfactory. What might be acceptable in a bathroom might not be in a living room. Also we've had problems with ours this winter - they get more rattly when outside temperatures drop below zero.
    good tip, thank you. Can the manufacturer's specifications be trusted when it comes to noise levels? Or is the only way to satisfactorily pick between the various models to go and listen to them in action?
    There was/is an academic, Sterling Howieson (not sure about correctness of spelling) who did (/does?) a lot of research into respiratory illnesses in houses with high relative humidity levels. I am fairly certain one of his studies used through-the-wall MVHR systems in bedrooms. I don't know what the feedback was from the occupants. It is almost certainly written up somewhere.
    Very, very interesting. I should look into it. Broadly speaking, was the conclusion that MVHR decreases relative humidity levels and hence decreases respiratory illness (compared with no mechanical ventilation)?
    Google is my friend:

    Report on the WHO technical meeting on quantifying disease from inadequate housing (150 page PDF)

    From PDF page 110:

    Specific evidence (how large is the exposure, which quantification has been identified?):
    Most studies report that mechanical ventilation achieves significant reduction in indoor
    humidity levels. The effect on reduction in mites and Der p1 is less certain.

    From PDF page 113:

    There is quite an extensive documentation on the association between building dampness
    and/or mould and adverse health effects.... Although the association is well documented, the causal connections between the exposing
    agents and the health outcomes are not well known (see Part II below). It is not well
    understood why building-related mold causes health effects. Furthermore, the
    pathophysiological mechanisms are not well known. Only a minor part of the effects can be
    explained by IgE-mediated allergy. There is evidence about inflammatory reactions among
    the exposed. There are also indications on toxic reactions.

    So yeah, the general idea seems to be: high relative is bad. MVHR can, in most circumstances, reduce relative humidity. There is some evidence that installing MVHR can reduce the prevalence of ill health.
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