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The ventilation stream sets out to determine the best ventilation strategy for New Zealand homes. Traditionally, our homes were sufficiently ventilated by natural leakage paths through the building. Modern building practices and a push towards energy efficiency may mean this is no longer the case, and an alternative strategy may be necessary.

Are there better ways to ventilate homes that are more energy efficient and target moisture more directly? We will be piggybacking on European research to look at the options and trying out the best candidates in an experimental building at BRANZ.

We also want to find out for sure if our newer homes are more airtight than the older building stock, so we are conducting a nationwide survey of airtightness. We want to measure the amount of ventilation within houses as well - this is dependent on the airtightness of the building as well as how homeowners operate the property (opening doors and windows, use of rangehoods and so on).

We are part of the Air Infiltration and Ventilation Committee (AIVC), which helps to coordinate international ventilation research efforts and provides a forum for researchers to discuss their findings and collaborate on international research projects. We are also considering joining an international consortium of universities and research institutes on a project under the umbrella of the International Energy Agency (IEA). Such collaborations help ensure that our own research is relevant as well as directly contributing to a world-class science effort.