Air Tests in London Create Energy Savings
Energy sustainability is all about improving the quality of design in the built environment, with the ultimate aim of reducing the amount of energy we consume across the UK, and lowering our carbon emissions significantly. A by-product of sustainable energy regulations is a reduction in household energy bills, as our heating and cooling mechanisms become more efficient.
What is Air Tightness Testing?
The Air Tightness test is a great example of this process at work; this particular assessment measures the amount of air escaping and entering a building via cracks and openings in the build envelope. The air you lose represents heated or cooled energy which has been paid for and is now being squandered; air entering the building through those same cracks has an effect on the temperature within the building, but it can also carry moisture which produces condensation which can lead to problems with mould or rot in the framing cavities.
Probably the most confusing element of the test is the array of names it goes by! We will always refer to it as ‘air tightness test’ but it is also known as: Air Permeability Testing, Air Pressure Testing, Pressure Testing, Air Leakage Testing, or Air Testing.
Is an Air Leakage Test Always Necessary?
In 2006 Building Regulations made Air Tightness testing mandatory for all new homes in England and Wales. Scotland was included in a 2010 revision to the regulation. This means that all new properties need to submit an Air Testing report before the building can be signed off as complete. Without achieving the regulatory standards of air tightness within the property, it cannot be legally sold or leased. The test utilises specialist equipment to measure the air leakage and the use of a professional assessor is always recommended.
How Does the Air Tightness Test Work?
At Hilsdon Holmes we have a dedicated team of sustainability consultants that work across London. Our air tightness testers are ATTMA accredited and they work with equipment calibrated to ATTMA TS1 & TS2 standards ensuring readings which meet the Building Regulations requirements. Our assessors recognise the importance of designing for success and are available to offer advice on managing air tightness at the planning stage for a new build; they will schedule and undertake the testing, including a ‘dry-run’ which provides the opportunity for ameliorative action prior to the official Air Leakage assessment. Once the required result is achieved we will ensure the prompt submission of our detailed report to Building Regulations.
When Should an Air Leakage Test Be Undertaken?
Air leakage can only be accurately assessed once the building is complete, so the Air Tightness test will be scheduled fairly late on. Windows, skirting boards and doors need to be in place, and walls need to have been plastered. The ventilation system needs to be in place and kitchen and bathroom suites need to have been fitted. The weather also plays a crucial part in the testing; an exceedingly windy day will give us distorted readings, as will an exceptionally still atmosphere. Our Air Tightness testing team in London always factor in a little leeway to ensure that the conditions provide an average airflow through the building in order to ensure an accurate test report.
Hilsdon Holmes provides a range of sustainable energy services for planners and developers, all under one roof. Air tightness testing combination packages including SAP and SBEM are available at a discounted rate.