D|RES Healthy Homes Overview

You know what its like being in a car in cold weather.  First you have to keep the windscreen from fogging up and the rear view window clear of frost so you can see to drive. Then you adjust the heating and ventilation system to keep you and your front seat passenger warm and happy and people in the back comfortable. You control the speed of the fan and direct hot, warm or fresh air to all parts of the car; you have vents with which you can adjust the airflow volume and direction. You might even have heated seats or a heated steering wheel.

In hot weather everyone in a car has openable windows to give them individual control of the amount of fresh air they have and the wind provides a cooling effect. The car might have air conditioning which can be adjusted to keep everyone comfortable. The weatherstripping on all the doors and windows has got to be good to keep out rain and splashes at 100 km/hr and this also stops drafts at any speed. In fact cars have quite sophisticated systems for keeping you comfortable for hours at a time in quite a restricted space and in all weather conditions.

Your experiences in the homes where you have lived is probably quite different to your experiences in a car. Usually an older house has an inefficient heating system, no ventilation system and is drafty. The heating system would typically have just one thermostat, a basic 24 hour programmer, no thermostatic radiator valves, and only one or two heating zones for a space which is over 20 times bigger than a car. There would be no mechanical ventilation system and the windows are probably never opened in the winter. After a shower you might open the window to clear out some of the moisture, but if its cold you probably don’t and the humidity in the house spikes. Sometimes the humidity condenses on a cold surface like the glass in the windows or the ceiling in the bathroom.

An older dwelling is not built to be airtight and when the wind blows there are drafts everywhere, though you might not notice some of them. The permanent vents in the wall are probably blocked up because the vent is invariably over the head of the bed and a cold air draft used to fall on you all night. In Ireland a typical dwelling has an air leakage rate of 10 air changes per hour . . . which means that every 6 minutes all the heated air in an older house leaks out and is replaced by outdoor air, which needs to be heated up. You get used to it but you aren’t really that comfortable. The big difference in temperature between the cold drafts and the hot radiator working hard to maintain the temperature is uncomfortable. Your heating bills are higher than you want, but there doesn’t seem to be much you can do about it.

DRES Properties’ new houses and apartments are healthy, comfortable, warm and have very low heating bills. Our designs integrate a whole house ventilation system which automatically adjusts the ventilation rate to maintain healthy indoor air quality and comfortable, lower levels of humidity in the house. Of course windows can be opened anytime and the ventilation system will automatically adjust and continue to provide 100% fresh air 24/7 without the windows needing to be open. You can sleep soundly at night with the windows securely closed and locked knowing that everyone is breathing fresh air.

Our houses are very airtight to minimise drafts and heat loss through air leakage. An airtight house with no drafts also  allows the ventilation system to work effectively to deliver to you just the right amount of fresh air.  The heating and ventilations systems have sophisticated controls and all radiators have thermostatic radiator valves (TRV’’s) so each room can be in individual heating zone.

Finally you can have more comfort and control in a DRES home than you have enjoyed in your car.

Your DRES home will be much more comfortable because it is so well insulated and your car is not.

DRES Properties builds to higher standards than the Building Regulation require so that you will live in a healthier, more comfortable home. All our dwellings are tested for airtightness and they are on average 30% to 50% more airtight than the regulations require. The energy efficient performance of our housing is on average over 6% better than the regulations require so that you have lower heating bills.  All our dwellings have an A2 BER (Building Energy Rating) Certificate.

We take great care in our design and specification of the external envelope (walls, roof, floors, windows) so that they are well insulated with continuous insulation, no thermal breaks and are very airtight. The windows are special high performance windows and in some houses they are triple glazed. We provide you with effective control systems for your heating and ventilation systems with heating zones and thermostatic radiator valves. This means that every room can be controlled to suit the people and activities in each room at any time.

DRES makes this extra effort with your home because we know that you care about the health and well-being of your family and yourself.  ‘Well-being’ or ‘wellness’ is the third most Googled topic on the internet so you are not alone in your concerns.  We now spend about 90% of our time in buildings, with much of that time spent in our homes. Therefore it is important that our homes are designed and built to create a healthy, comfortable indoor living environment that is easy to maintain.

DRES creates a healthy living environment in its homes by:

  • Making the house 30% -50% more airtight than required to minimise air leakage and drafts
  • Insulating to a high standard the floors, walls, windows and exposed ceilings on the inside of the house so that you feel the warmth evenly which is far more comfortable
  • Delivering fresh air 24/7 to all habitable rooms with the designed ventilation system
  • Reducing humidity levels throughout the house by extracting moisture laden air from bathrooms, utility rooms and the kitchen with the ventilation system
  • Reducing humidity levels kills house dust mites which are the most common cause of allergic reactions of people in their homes
  • Ventilating the whole house 24/7 and minimising thermal breaks reduces to zero the risk of condensation and mould developing in the house. Mould is a common source of health related problems in older housing and can exacerbate asthma, allergic reactions and cause respiratory illnesses.

DRES homes have many other advantages which you can read about it in our other blog posts. See especially our blogs about Future-proofed Homes, Running Costs, Low Maintenance, Energy Use, Embodied Carbon and Your Sustainable Home in this series.

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