BEAMA white paper - Better Ventilation Better Homes Better Health

16 February 2022

The proposals in this paper set out what BEAMA believe needs to be done to deliver good indoor air quality in UK homes – helping to deliver better ventilation, better homes and better health.

The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the value of having healthy indoor environments, but also shown their fragility. People are asking the question that if viruses spread much quicker indoors, then what about pollutants and other harmful substances?

BEAMA has long been advocating that poor indoor air quality, or indoor air pollution, is a growing public health concern. It is responsible for thousands of deaths per year, as well as substantial healthcare and wider economic costs.

As the Government builds towards its Net Zero target, homes are becoming more airtight. With energy efficiency measures, such as insulation, being retrofitted to the existing housing stock and new homes built to ever higher levels of energy efficiency, the need for effective ventilation becomes increasingly important. Numerous studies have shown the critical role that ventilation plays in removing indoor pollutants from the home and stopping these pollutants from accumulating – reducing exposure levels, improving cognitive performance and minimising the health symptoms suffered by occupants.

For the ventilation industry to be able to play its part in delivering good indoor air quality, two big issues must be tackled: energy efficiency and ventilation improvements must be joined up (‘Ventilate when you Insulate!’) and poor-quality installations of ventilation systems and poor compliance need to be rooted out.

To meet these challenges, BEAMA recommend that the Government

  1. Set higher ventilation standards for newbuild to protect health and wellbeing
  2. Ensure energy efficiency retrofits arematched by effective ventilation measures to protect health and wellbeing
  3. Drive ventilation compliance standards
  4. Treat poor IAQ and ventilation as a public health emergency and, in addition to public education campaigns on the risks and solutions, make sure it is enshrined in all relevant policy areas