Monday, 16 August 2010

draught-tight or air-proofing...

or is it vice versa?

I am sure our forefathers already tried to find that draught-proof cave...

The other day I was left with the following tweet line:

...(I) prefer draught proofing for general public & getting them to understand concept, couldn't sell ' air flow control'.

I had initially provoked the line when I had criticised the terminology "draught-proofing" as being not good and precise enough in comparison to the term "air tightness" or rather "air flow control". My intention had not been to offend the addressee, an architect, but to make clear that modern construction need to be built to a precise standard, for example to meet a given standard of air-tightness level.


Well, the air we breathe among others transports water (humidity) and thermal energy (heat/cold), but also all sorts of dirt, dust, germs and spore. So to set a level for the air exchange rate helps to control the levels of what it contains; many reasons speak for an air tight building envelope:
  • it avoids structural damage
  • ... draughts
  • ... and energy losses;
  • it improves noise protection within the building and to/from the outside
  • ... and air quality.
Of course, the tighter your envelope becomes the more ventilation is a must; the best solution is to install a controlled automated ventilation system including thermal energy recovery (heat/cold), something that we had installed in our first house in 1981 and love ever since.

I think even the "general public" ought to know and understand these principles as I am a firm believer in customers that not only know what they want but understand why they want it. Ignorance may help to close a clever deal for one side but will turn out to be a bad advisor for both.

The technology exists; what is needed is the understanding and education of both, the industry and the customer accompanied by the will of both to make a difference. Once that happens health and comfort will replace the discussions about morbid homes and heating allowances.

A win-win situation as it will be the time when "Affordables" become affordable.

Carpe diem!