Date: 2014

Residential building, towards Passive House standard; Walschbronn, FR

Owner, designer & builder “I have to say that I would recommend the fresh-r to anyone that needs a good ventilation system. I cant think of anything I dislike about it.”

The plan was to build a house as near to “Passive Haus” standards as I could get to without actually building a Passive Haus. I have been building new house and renovating old houses, as a job, since 2001 and did my own projects for many years before that. Most of the builds were not to my liking as they were done to a very tight budget and used old traditional methods.

Somewhere along the line I found the Styrostone EPS (https://www.styrostone.com) system on the internet and went to see a self build project in the Charente area of France. I liked what I saw. The whole idea seemed very good.

I understand about ventilation and the need for it and how an EPS build would be very “tight” and not have any natural ventilation. I worked my way through several possibilities, starting with a Canadian system that used 200mm underground tube and a low speed fan, through to the “Paul” MHVR systems and had more or less decided on the “Paul” system.

Then, I stumbled across the “Breathing Window”. It was during a conversation with Seamus of Viking House (http://www.viking-house.ie). The BW was still in development then, but it appealed to me because it seemed quite simple, easy to install and cost effective. It also does not have the drawbacks associated with a ducted system – maintenance/cost/installation.

My only concern was the bathrooms.  I know how damp they can be and did not want a straight forward extractor set-up. Again, Seamus came up with the KAIR single room vent (http://www.kair.co.uk/product/kair-heat-recovery-room-ventilator) to service the two shower rooms. These are moisture sensitive and boost the ventilation until the desired level is reached. I think I will fit a timer to these so they are off after a couple of hours of running. I have found they can bring wet air into the room when the atmosphere is very damp and so they start to run again.

So far so good and after re-training the wife to accept that the FreshR is doing its job and the air is being exchanged and the windows don’t need to be open all the time, everything is working AOK.

She was also concerned about the amount of noise from the FreshR as most vents generate a bit. The only time it was noisy was when we lit the ethanol fire. The unit was working very hard to reduce the c02. The ethanol fire has now been remove and I’m waiting for delivery of one infra-red unit for the living room and a hybrid unit for the kitchen/diner.

We have always had a bedroom window open, even down to minus 10, as we like a cold bedroom, so that has been the biggest change we have had to make. In the summer when it gets hot, it also pays to keep the windows closed. The place is so well insulated that if the heat gets in, its hard to get it out. Windows are only opened once the outside temperature is lower than the inside.

I have to say that I would recommend the fresh-r to anyone that needs a good ventilation system. I cant think of anything I dislike about it.