Due to the rapid urbanization and modernization of Korea, the demand for housing has increased considerably more than in other countries. As a result, the apartment building has become the prevalent housing type in many cities and suburbs in Korea. Today, the demand for an improvement in the qualitative aspects of housing is growing considerably due to the increase in the housing supply rate.
With the exception of mechanical exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens, in the past, most residential buildings were not designed to be equipped with ventilation systems. Building ventilation was usually achieved by opening windows and doors. Since the Korean Ministry of Environment enacted the ‘Indoor air quality management act’ for newly built apartment buildings and multi-purpose facilities in 2004, a variety of types of ventilation systems have been supplied in order to meet the mandatory ventilation requirements.
Since Korea has four distinct seasons, there is a wide variation in the range of outdoor temperatures throughout the year. The insulation standard for building envelopes, specified in the ‘Equipment Standards for Buildings’ section of the building regulations, was recently reinforced by more than 20%. Since June 2001, eight types of high-energy consuming buildings, including offices and hospitals, have been mandated to apply a separate ‘Design Standard for Energy Efficiency’. In order for these buildings to meet the requirements specified in this standard, efforts must be made to increase the use of high efficiency energy products such as high efficiency gas boilers and refrigerators. Besides these mandatory regulations, government authorities are operating various types of voluntary certification and labeling programs.