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Home Ventilation Systems for New Builds

The cold, damp New Zealand winter means that ventilation systems are a must. It’s rarely practical to keep windows open, but we need fresh air to keep bad smells, moisture and mould at bay. For the past few years, Kiwis have taken a more vested interest in improving the energy efficiency of homes both old and new.


However, the systems that are suitable for older homes may not necessarily be right for new builds. New builds are constructed differently, the environment is different, and there are different guidelines to comply with. In this guide, SmartVent is covering what you need to know about home ventilation systems for new builds, including why they’re important, and the systems we recommend.

Why invest in home ventilation for new builds?

In New Zealand, new-build homes offer better air barriers and thicker insulation, which work to create a more airtight environment. This is beneficial for residents, as airtight homes are less draughty and more comfortable, and make a building more energy efficient. However, they do bring with them a new set of problems.

  1. Water vapour gets trapped

The thicker insulation disrupts the traditional wetting-drying cycle that older buildings use. So, it’s easier for water and water vapour to get trapped within, impacting the ability to achieve a warm, dry and healthy home. Over time, poor moisture management can also have a negative effect on the structure of the building and can be detrimental to the health of the people living there.

Controlled ventilation helps to reduce excess water and prevent it from penetrating the fabric and concealed spaces in buildings. Not only will ventilation reduce humidity and condensation, but will also make it easier (and cheaper) to heat a home, since humid air has more mass and needs more energy to heat.

  1. There are more harmful gases and VOCs

There is a widespread concern about the chemical emissions that building materials for new houses emit. These chemicals are known as VOCs (volatile organic compounds) which actually refers to a group of around 10,000 individual chemicals. In new builds, VOCs are most commonly found in treated or laminated timber, paints, glues and solvents, and carpets, vinyl flooring and soft furnishings.

It’s expected that VOC levels are highest just after construction and that this will reduce over time.

Continuous ventilation helps to reduce VOCs and create a healthier, safer atmosphere. A ventilation system works by bringing in fresh air from the outdoors and filtering it so it’s clean and suitable for an indoor environment, while removing toxins from the home.

  1. High noise areas

It’s not uncommon nowadays for new homes to be constructed in built-up areas, with major environmental stressors – particularly noise from road traffic and air pollution – affecting Kiwis living in these areas.

Ventilation is one key solution to noise control. In new builds, noise control ventilation is usually in the form of background ventilators and intermittent extract fans. It’s important that builders find the balance between providing enough ventilation in today’s airtight houses, and minimising external noise infiltration.

If you are building a home in a high noise area SmartVent can help with any council consent requirements with our planning service.

Recommended ventilation systems for new NZ homes

Are you moving into, buying or building a new home in New Zealand? Then you’ll want to know what the best home ventilation system is for that particular property. We recommend the Synergy2 and Balance systems for new homes. Let’s break down the two to provide a clearer idea of their key features.


  • A smart, centralised energy recovery system that evaluates the environment in and around the home
  • Measures moisture content in the home, the roof cavity and outside
  • Introduces the correct amount of improved air quality without over-ventilating
  • Most suitable for homes built after 2002


  • Uses heat from stale air to temper incoming cold air, to minimise heat loss
  • Incoming fresh air is filtered without being polluted
  • Extracts stale, moisture-laden air to outside
  • Recovers up to 90% of the heat energy from the home, for less waste and better energy efficiency
  • Specifically designed for new build and low-permeability properties


Contact SmartVent

SmartVent can answer all of your questions to help you choose the best ventilation system for new builds in New Zealand. Not sure what you need? Simply book a free home assessment to uncover how you could save money and energy, while living in a more comfortable, safe home.

For any other enquiries, give us a call on 0800 140 150. Our team would be more than happy to help.