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Proper ventilation is critical for health, safety, and comfort but also for the durability and longevity of the building and protection from decay.

Ventilation is not well understood in NZ and often absent or an afterthought.
A whole building integrated design system thinking approach is required.

Design of ventilation needs to be considered at the early concept stage and integral to the overall home design. It's often too late to start thinking about ventilation design after a building design is completed. 

We spend 90% of our time indoors...more for the elderly and very young.
Indoor air quality can be over five times as bad as outside and an invisible health threat.

Costing NZ $8.4 billion each year, through around 2300 premature deaths, increased hospital admissions, and days where activity was restricted. Good design can help and use of natural and non-toxic materials that aren't on the Red List.

NZ building code only requires exhaust fans from bathrooms and a kitchen range hood. There are no whole-building ventilation requirements in the code and the cop-out approach of suggesting 5% opening window area doesnt work for a number of reasons. Firstly it requires human intervention that often doesn't happen. The most likely reason it doesn't happen in colder climate regions is that occupants don't want to let the warm air out that they have paid to heat. In another season it could be too windy or hot to open windows or at night the windows may need to remain closed to stop entry of insects or for security. 

So the big question is how do we "ventilate right". How and how much what type of ventilation, how is best to talk to. 
It's a big topic and not a simple one. Unfortunately its a bit of a minefield out there with a myriad of options and providers and often miss-information. Design and installation are as critically important as what the system or equipment is and often it is incredibly difficult to get the correct design advice and advice that is not commercially biased. 

The questions at the end of this article in the NZ Herald -…

Who is monitoring indoor air quality? "What are the health and consequent socio-economic impacts? Who is providing advice to us on this? "Currently, no New Zealand organization is doing this." .....Well yes, there is Superhome Movement and Massey University are monitoring and researching homes IAQ indoor air quality and Christchurch City Council has supported this. The government needs to wake up and do something too and take action.


Respiratory problems and allergies can be caused or aggravated by poor indoor air quality. In NZ 30% of 7-year-olds have asthma and we have the highest asthma mortality rate. 

Superhome movement will be running some workshops on ventilation. For notification stay turned. Join the movement and keep an eye on the events at also make sure you're signed up for the newsletter and link on social media channels.