Breathing Buildings provides low energy ventilation systems using the principles of natural mixing in winter and upward displacement in the summer. It was formed as a spin off company from the University of Cambridge in 2006, to develop and commercialise this low energy ventilation solution. Their e-stack natural ventilation system uses technology that ensures a minimum rate of air exchange between a building and its exterior in winter whilst minimising the heating required. This is achieved by mixing the incoming cold fresh air with warm interior air prior to it reaching the occupants of the building in question.
The system is now operating in over 50 different projects in the UK with a substantial pipeline of further projects across a variety of sectors. The team is also using its experience in the modelling and testing of natural ventilation to design projects across auditoria, shopping centres, office buildings, theatres and apartment blocks. Clients for this work include leading architectural firms, engineering consultancies and developers.
The company continues to contribute significantly to research into natural ventilation through company founder Dr Shaun Fitzgerald's work with the Engineering department at The University of Cambridge. This has seen Dr Fitzgerald lecture on the undergraduate course, supervise final year projects and tutor students at Girton College.
The funding from NatWest will support further product research and development as well as providing additional capacity to their working capital lines as the business grows.
Talking about the increased level of interest in the e-stack system, Dr Shaun Fitzgerald, managing director, Breathing Buildings Ltd said: "As increased energy costs impact on both the commercial and domestic end user we are witnessing a higher level of interest in our ventilation systems. With defined energy reduction targets already announced by the government, many businesses are exploring how they will function moving forward to comply with legislation. A lot is talked about the upfront cost of conversion to new energy efficient systems, but we continue to prove the cost benefit to the end user - which is applicable across all commercial buildings. This new funding allows us to continue our investment in research and product development."
Jane Moulding, relationship director, commercial banking at NatWest who helped pull together the funding package added: "Breathing Buildings are at the forefront of UK research into building ventilation. This country has some challenging energy reduction targets to meet for both 2020 and 2050, so the work of company's like Breathing Buildings is making a real difference to the environment we work within."