With the health and wellbeing of building occupants so important, Colin Wells, Head of Technical at Keylite Roof Windows looks at innovations that enable roof windows to provide background ventilation and how these solutions help improve air quality and tackle issues such as condensation.
It is widely known that we spend 90% of our time indoors at home, work or school. But as our buildings have become more airtight and thermally efficient in order to meet regulations and our ambitious carbon reduction targets, are we opening ourselves up to dangers previously unconsidered?
When air is trapped inside buildings it can result in condensation on windows and interior walls, increasing internal humidity which in turn can create damp, mould and mildew, all of which is exacerbated by moisture-creating areas such as bathrooms and kitchens. Air quality becomes poor because it is not being replaced and this can impact an occupant’s wellbeing, with some people suffering from serious health issues such as asthma and other respiratory problems.
A good level of ventilation will ensure the air moves consistently through the house, from dry areas to moisture-creating areas, which can then be expelled and replaced by outside air. It will ensure moisture, smoke, cooking odours and other indoor pollutants are expelled.
Better air quality through a supply of natural ventilation and access to daylight should be part of any successful building. It is why roof windows have become a go-to solution for specifiers, allowing fresh air into buildings while at the same time introducing natural daylight.
As an award-winning roof window manufacturer, Keylite is constantly driving innovation when it comes to tackling issues around ventilation and condensation whilst ensuring buildings meet their thermal requirements. As part of its commitment to continual product improvement, the company has lowered the roof window fixing position on two occasions over the past 10 years. This results in improved external aesthetics, as well as having a positive impact on thermal efficiency.
Furthermore, all Keylite Centre Pivot and Top Hung Roof Windows feature an easily operated top ventilation handle which allows the user to provide background ventilation into a room while the roof window is still securely locked. Electric automation can be used in conjunction with the roof window for ease of operation while rain sensors provide protection by automatically closing the roof windows in the event of unexpected showers.
Providing natural ventilation will significantly reduce condensation, however it will not eliminate it as poor thermal bridging also plays its part. Poor thermal bridging can also be responsible for up to 30% of a dwelling’s heat loss.
Thermal bridging in relation to roof window installation is caused by a 20mm ‘adjustment gap’ recommended by all manufacturers. If this area is not insulated, then this can lead to cold bridging and condensation on roof windows as the gap between the roof and the window creates a cold section all around the frame due to the temperature differentiation between the outside and the inside.
In time, this leads to mould accumulation which is a health risk, unsightly and can cause physical damage to the frame if left untreated.
Although a thermal collar is a known solution for preventing cold spots around a roof window frame, most companies sell them as an ‘extra’ and for householders on a tight budget, this adds a layer of cost which might not have been accounted for. In certain cases, due to a lack of availability in merchant’s stores and the like, roof windows have been fitted without thermal collars, compromising this crucial element of thermal design.
However, Keylite has taken responsibility for insulating around a window by incorporating an Expanding Thermal Collar into the frame as an integral component of the roof window. The built-in, patented Expanding Thermal Collar fills the gap around the roof window ensuring the frame is fully insulated, which in turn helps eliminate the risk of condensation.
Significantly, the thermal collar comes as standard on all Keylite Roof Windows and at no extra cost to the customer.
At a time when living conditions can play a critical role in the fight against Covid-19, we should be making sure our buildings have the appropriate ventilation and bacteria-killing natural light to help prevent the virus from spreading indoors. Roof windows can perform a vital role in ensuring buildings perform as-designed, have optimum levels of daylight and provide background ventilation to improve indoor air quality and occupant wellbeing.
For more information on Keylite’s range of roof windows and support for stockists, head to: https://www.keyliteroofwindows.com/merchants/