Today, many architects are promoting natural ventilation in designing a safe, comfortable, and healthy home or building. Unlike what many people would assume, the principles used in maximising airflow require modern techniques. In fact, controlling natural airflow isn’t as easy as you might think. There are many underlying factors that could reduce the effectiveness of ventilation that doesn’t use any mechanical system. But when done right, a structure that uses natural ventilation lets cool air in, while allowing warm air to escape through ventilators. With the help of buoyancy, the placement of openings and ventilators ensures adequate airflow.
Exploring the benefits of using a natural ventilation system
Let’s explore the many reasons why promoting natural ventilation is ideal for residential and small commercial buildings.
- Better fire safety features. According to statistics collected in 2017, fire rescuers in England consider smoke as the common cause of deaths during a fire. And when a building doesn’t have any natural means of allowing smoke to escape, it’s easy for anyone trapped inside to feel overwhelmed and pass out due to smoke inhalation. If the building has natural ventilation, which you can easily control with manual window openers, you can increase visibility and allow smoke to escape passively. This feature will aid evacuation, and also help firefighters do their job.
- Improve occupant health and productivity. Many people like to work when there’s plenty of natural light and fresh air. A well-ventilated workspace is better for the health of employees, and may also help increase their productivity. With natural ventilation, you enjoy not only this benefit but also contribute to reducing carbon emissions. For more convenient access to opening and closing windows and ventilators in hard to reach areas and commercial spaces, electric window openers and window controls may be installed as part of a natural ventilation system.
- Reduced building construction and maintenance costs. Structures that maximise natural ventilation will cost at least 10% less than a building that relies on forced ventilation. Also, you won’t have to pay for maintaining an HVAC system. Although natural ventilation also uses structures that maximise airflow, maintaining these structures isn’t as complicated or as expensive as a traditional mechanical HVAC. Most importantly, not using any automated system for ventilation will reduce the operational expenses usually associated with energy.
- A sensible long-term investment. Now that many countries around the world focus on environment-friendly initiatives, a building with natural ventilation fits well with possible changes in policies and legislation related to environmental goals. Over time, investing in natural ventilation will provide a better pay-off, compared to spending more in retrofitting a building that uses mechanical ventilation systems.
Using natural ventilation shows strong support for sustainable architecture principles. It’s cost-effective and helps enhance occupant comfort. Indeed, now is the best time to invest in a home or commercial establishment that uses natural ventilation. By reducing our reliance on forced air conditioning and heating appliances, we can ultimately reduce many environmental problems associated with carbon emissions.