Natural ventilation: Breathe life into your building
Refresh your building with a natural ventilation system.
As buildings become more contemporary in their design, sustainable strategies, such as natural ventilation, are becoming increasingly important to a structure's core principles.
Not only does such an approach allow for a building to use 60 per cent less energy, it also drastically improves the air quality for the occupants within.
Add to this that fact that the coalition government wants to reduce that amount of carbon emissions produced by UK, and it's easy to see why more architects are now embracing this green building revolution.
How does it work?
Natural ventilation takes advantage of both wind and buoyancy in order to drive fresh air through a building. This removes the need for the use of intensive fans - which can often be expensive in terms of energy use and installation.
Using the 'stack effect' this ventilation method makes use of the fact that warm air rises above cold air. Naturally ventilated buildings can utilise this so that an atrium allows warm air from an occupied space to rise and escape through vents situated at the top of the building...
Why use it?
For a start, it costs less to use than some other ventilation methods. By making use of natural elements like the wind these sustainable systems can lead to much cheaper energy bills. In fact, a naturally ventilated building can save an average of £30,000 a year on energy, according to a Carbon Trust case study.
The fact that your buildings will use less energy with a natural ventilation system also means that the amount of carbon emissions that it produces will be significantly reduced as well. And with building's contributing to just under half of the UK's total carbon gases, tackling this issue will greatly benefit the environment on a wider scale.Research, carried out by the Carbon Trust, found that the majority of buildings that utilised natural ventilation saved between 24 per cent and 71 per cent of carbon emissions.
Another added positive of natural ventilation is that it can require much less maintenance than air conditioning. What's more, it gives a building's occupants more control over their surrounding environment, as well as making them more comfortable.
Educational establishments can greatly benefit from the supply of fresh air as research from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory suggests it can reduce the rate of student absence by illness by approximately 3.4 per cent.
A versatile solution
Most occupied buildings can accommodate for a natural ventilation system. It can work on its own or with other energy-efficient ventilation techniques that a building may have in place. Offices, schools, universities, health care centres and council buildings can all make use of this type of sustainable strategy.
Although it is best to integrate natural ventilation at the earliest possible stage, it can be introduced as a part of a retrofitting project, meaning that existing buildings can still benefit from it on some level.