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Home comforts: guidance on using ventilation, heating and renewable energy systems (NF68)

Overview

New homes of today feature a range of energy and ventilation systems. For these to provide good levels of comfort, and for owners and residents to realise the energy-saving benefits that these systems offer, they must be operated and maintained correctly. The information presented in this guide was developed for the NHBC Home User Guide (HUG) to improve the understanding of these systems and how they should be used. The HUG website provides resources for both homeowners and house builders. This published version from the NHBC Foundation is a convenient source of home user guidance on the common ventilation, solar, heat pump and control systems. Its content and graphics are freely available for house builders to use in their own home user guides.

Summary of content

Executive summary

New homes of today feature a range of energy and ventilation systems. For these to provide good levels of comfort, and for owners and residents to realise the energy-saving benefits that these systems offer, they must be operated correctly. This is, however, a very significant challenge. Many of these energy and ventilation systems are relatively recent introductions and may be unfamiliar to new owners and residents, and be poorly understood. As a result, patterns of use will inevitably vary markedly between different people, sometimes resulting in poor or disappointing performance.

The information presented in this guide has been developed for the NHBC Home User Guide (HUG), which is provided free of charge to home buyers. It explains simply the following systems and their operation and maintenance:

Part 1 Ventilation

  • Natural ventilation (trickle vents and extract fans)
  • Mechanical extract ventilation (MEV)
  • Mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR)

Part 2 Solar energy systems

  • Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems
  • Solar hot water (solar thermal) systems

Part 3 Heat pumps

  • Air source heat pumps (ASHPs)
  • Ground source heat pumps (GSHPs)

Part 4 Heating controls

  • Single zone heating controls
  • Multiple zone heating controls

In each case this guide explains what the particular system does, how it works, and its main benefits. Each is clearly illustrated and details are provided on efficient operation and maintenance. The illustrations and text in this guide, developed by services experts, have undergone detailed review with resident groups and equipment manufacturers.

As well as being made available to house buyers, the material included in this guide may be downloaded freely and used by house builders and housing providers to promote the correct operation and maintenance of these energy and ventilation systems.

Downloadable graphics from NF68

Ventilation
Natural ventilation (trickle vents and extract fans)
Mechanical extract ventilation (MEV)
Mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR)
Solar energy systems
Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems
Solar hot water (solar thermal) systems
Heat pumps
Air source heat pumps (ASHPs)
Ground source heat pumps (GSHPs)
Heating controls
Single-zone heating controls

Multiple-zone heating controls