The company ATREA s.r.o. relies on its years of experience in the area of building ventilation and heat recovery. Its products are even appreciated on competitive European markets for their innovativeness, outstanding technical parameters and wide-ranging possibilities for user comfort. The key principle of the company’s production program is decreasing the energy demands of operation of air-handling technology. ATREA is involved in the area of smart living through its offer of modern recuperation units, which can be integrated into a system of smart control of the home. This connection enables mutual communication with other devices in the system, and therefore more efficient use of energy.
Tomáš Kott works in ATREA as Sales Director for the Czech and Slovak Republics respectively. He has been working since 2002 in the area of microclimates in buildings and energy savings. His main contribution is building a solid position for the brand ATREA on the market in the area of supplying modern systems and technology for (large) commercial kitchens.
In what types of houses and buildings are recuperation units most frequently used?
Ventilation units with heat recuperation are suited for use in all types of dwellings. By installing them, you always achieve savings in operating costs while improving the air quality in the home. Air brought in from the outside runs through filtration, and then it is distributed into the entire building.
In new, somewhat airtight low-energy and passives homes, installation of ventilation and heat recuperation is essential. Without regular ventilation, the air quality would quickly decrease, and ambient humidity increases. The same goes for reconstructions, where most frequently insulating cladding is applied and windows are replaced for air-tight ones – just like in new constructions.
Why should someone planning to build or buy an apartment consider installing recuperation?
The recuperation unit supplies fresh air necessary for the health of the people living there (in terms of both hygiene and comfort). As opposed to opening windows at regular intervals, it supplies ventilation air to the entire apartment, and provides exhaust of already breathed, stale air. It also eliminates the increase in humidity in the building, thus preventing the formation of molds on its peripheral walls.
Moreover, the unit contains a cloth filter filtering out dust particles from the incoming air – a real benefit for those suffering from allergies. Especially in city apartments, they decrease dust levels in the air flowing into apartments through open windows.
Recuperation moreover decreases the need for energy for heating, which would escape outside just by opening a window.
To what should interested parties pay particular attention when considering the purchase of an recuperation unit?
The first classifying criterion is the actual air quantity, which the unit should supply to ventilated areas.
The second criterion is efficiency of heat recuperation, which provides savings on heat from ventilation.
The third criterion is consumption of the fans. Another parameter important for judging is noise generated by the air-handling unit, but this can be eliminated according to appropriate location and attenuating elements (e.g. applying sound insulation or a pipe muffler).
These are parameters that suppliers should provide clearly in their technical conditions. Other important criteria include the option of expanding to include additional accessories – heater/cooler, air quality sensor, etc.
What source of heat in combination with recuperation do you recommend for a low-energy and passive home, where the need for additional heating is minimal?
The recuperation system provides separate exchange of air independent of the heating system. Therefore, there can be any heat source.
In terms of decreasing the energy demands and saving energy, individual variants of heating in the building can be adjusted:
- By electricity only – this is the least efficient source, when the user is totally reliant on prices of a single electricity supplier
- By gas – this is a relatively good source with high calorific value. However, we are again reliant on the supplier’s price and a price increase in electricity.
- Heat pumps – production of thermal energy while supplying just a small amount of electricity.
- FVE (photovoltaics) – generating one’s own electricity, by which it is possible to cover both heat losses and consumption of energy in the average household (lighting + electrical appliances). Unfortunately in the wintertime, when there is less sunshine, production need not suffice for covering personal needs, and therefore it is often necessary to combine it with other sources of heat and electricity.
What does maintenance of recuperation units involve? Replacement of the cloth filter can be compared to replacing a vacuum cleaner bag?
When replacing, the user can visually check to see if the unit is dusty, and wipe clean certain sections with a moistened towel. The user need not perform any other actions.
The most frequent argument is the unhealthy environment of recently insulated old buildings – how do they resolve ventilation with recuperation, air ducts in these homes or apartment houses?
Our company supplies HVAC ducts for both ceiling distribution (for older buildings with high ceilings), and for floor distribution. If it is not possible to install an area-wide ceiling in every room located, outlets are placed on the walls of the central corridor and the ceiling is only lowered in places where it is possible. Even during reconstructions of buildings, technical solutions can be found for how to install the ventilation system into different buildings. Sometimes it is easier, sometimes more complex, and it all depends on the building and its ground plans.
Do you have the chance to see a real example of a change in the interior environment before and after use of recuperation?
At our Website www.atrea.cz/en/, we show the implementation of family homes using our technologies (recuperation units, tanks and heat pumps). Here you will also find information on the complete technologies used for passive standard homes. We can also introduce a specific example of a change in the interior environment before and after using recuperation in the implementation of a school.
We provide our clients with maximum technical support. For these purposes, we have built 13 passive homes in the village of Koberovy, in which those interested can arrange a tour and free consultation with a project manager.