In 2000, the government made a commitment to bring all public sector homes up to a decent standard, establishing a 10 year target and an interim target to: "ensure that all social housing meets set standards of decency by 2010, by reducing the number of households living in social housing that does not meet these standards by a third between 2001 and 2004, with most of the improvement taking place in the most deprived local authority areas".

The Government has defined a Decent Home as:

A Decent Home must also meet the following criteria:

• The current statutory minimum standard for housing
• Be in reasonable state of repair
• Have reasonably modern facilities and services
• Provides a reasonable degree of thermal comfort

So, what can providers of social housing, Local Authorities, Housing Associations and Arms Length Management Organisations do to ensure their housing stock meet the Decent Homes Standard by 2010? They need to ensure all dwellings provide a reasonable degree of thermal comfort.

The Government states that dwellings need to have both efficient insulation and efficient heating. However, having fulfilled those two requirements, the dwelling needs to be adequately and appropriately ventilated, or problems will arise.

The Fitness Standard stated that dwellings (both houses and flats) needed to "be free from dampness prejudicial to the health of the occupants; have adequate provision for lighting, heating, ventilation". HHSRS, or the Housing Health & Safety Rating system, which has replaced the Fitness Standard as an element of the Decent Home Standard, states that the dwelling should be free of category 1 hazards.

Some of the category 1 hazards are:

• Damp and mould growth
• Excess cold
• Excess heat
• Noise

All these hazards can be addressed through effective heating and ventilation.

Ventilation is a major issue in social housing, and not only as a result of having to meet the Decent Homes Standard, but also because of growing health concerns. Asthma is rapidly becoming a major area of concern in the UK.

If dwellings are adequately insulated, but not appropriately ventilated, the following will occur:

• Increase in airborne contamination
• Poor air quality
• Mould growth
• Reduction in air circulation
• Increase in condensation

If the air quality within a dwelling falls below acceptable levels, it will give rise to health hazards such as allergies and headaches, and also damage the building fabric in the form of mould growth caused by the build-up of high levels of condensation. All contributing to a poor living environment.

Damp and warm conditions without air movement can also provide a breeding ground for dust mite. There is a growing body of medical evidence showing that the microscopic droppings of the house dust mite can be linked to the symptoms of asthma, rhinitis and other bronchial and similar problems, especially in the young and elderly.

The Vent-Axia Solution to Heating and Ventilation for Decent Homes

For 70 years Vent-Axia has been supplying decent homes solutions to all housing sectors across the UK. Vent-Axia’s energy efficient and sustainable heating and ventilation solutions cater for all government concerns regarding energy, condensation, pollutants and allergy control.
Vent-Axia has always been a pioneer in the development of its portfolio of products that, not only reduce energy consumption and improve heat recovery efficiency, but also reduces condensation and improves on air quality thus providing a cleaner and healthier environment at home.

All our solutions conform to current building regulations and specifications, and are designed to be energy efficient and sustainable.

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