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1. Reasons for using ventilation
2. Thermal comfort requirements of building occupants
3. Thermal performance of the building structure
4. Impact of the building form and its openings
5. Constraints of the local and regional climate
These are the factors to be considered at the design stage with which good ventilation system in a building can be
1. Supply of fresh air
2. Physiological cooling
3. Removing heat from, on adding it to, the thermal mass in the building structure i.e. night time cooling


Fresh air is required in building to
Provide sufficient oxygen
Dilute odours e.g. body and food
Dilute to acceptable levels the concentration of carbondioxide produced by occupants and combustion


The analysis of comfort limits with the monthly mean temperature in order to accentuate whether if there is
a need for passive heating or cooling



Night-time cooling is defined as the removal of heat from a building by natural means during the night in
order to reduce daytime cooling loads. Natural ventilation is extremely useful in drawing the heat stored in
the building during the day and venting it at night

Wind ventilation is a kind of passive ventilation that uses the force of the wind to pull air through the
Wind ventilation is the easiest, most common, and often least expensive form of passive cooling and
ventilation. Successful wind ventilation is determined by having high thermal comfort and adequate fresh
air for the ventilated spaces, while having little or no energy use for active HVAC cooling and ventilation.
Strategies for wind ventilation include operable windows, ventilation louvers, and rooftop vents, as well as
structures to aim or funnel breezes. Windows are the most common tool. Advanced systems can have
automated windows or louvers actuated by thermostats.
If air moves through openings that are intentional as a result of wind ventilation, then the building has
natural ventilation. If air moves through openings that are not intentional as a result of wind ventilation,
then the building has infiltration, or unwanted ventilation (air leaking in).
The keys to good wind ventilation design are the building orientation and massing, as well as sizing and
placing openings appropriately for the climate. In order to maximize wind ventilation, the pressure


difference between the windward (inlet) and leeward (outlet) to be maximized. In almost all cases, high
pressures occur on the windward side of a building and low pressures occur on the leeward side.
The local climate may have strong prevailing winds in a certain direction, or light variable breezes, or may
have very different wind conditions at different times. Often a great deal of adjustability by occupants is
required. Climatic data such as wind rose diagrams is required for the design of ventilation
A wind rose is a graphic tool used by meteorologists to give a succinct view of how wind speed and
direction are typically distributed at a particular location. Historically, wind roses were predecessors of the
compass rose (found on maps), as there was no differentiation between a cardinal direction and the wind
which blew from such a direction. Using a polar coordinate system of gridding, the frequency of winds
over a long time period is plotted by wind direction, with color bands showing wind ranges. The directions
of the rose with the longest spoke show the wind direction with the greatest frequency.

Wind Rose diagram

The local climate may also have very hot times of the day or year, while other times are quite cold
(particularly desert regions). In summer, wind is usually used to supply as much fresh air as possible while
in winter, wind ventilation is normally reduced to levels sufficient only to remove excess moisture and
Wind shadow is a phenomenon occurring when the wind air flow encounters an obstacle. After impact the
wind flow is perturbed over a certain distance creating depression zones.


Positive pressure
zone / Windward



Negative pressure
zone / Leeward

Wind shadow

An evergreen windscreen breaks the

force of the wind and creates a
protective wind shadow in front and
behind. Dead air space protects the
Air although light has a mass (around 1.2kg/m3), and as it moves, has a momentum, which is the
product of its mass and its velocity (kg m/s). This is a vectorial quantity which can be changed in direction
or in magnitude by another force. When moving air strikes an obstruction such as a building, this will slow
down the air flow but the air flow will exert a pressure on the obstructing surface. This pressure is
proportionate to the air velocity, as expressed in the equation
PW = 0.612 X v2
Where PW = wind pressure in N/m2
V = wind velocity in m/s
(the constant is Ns2/m4)

Airflow around
a building


This slowing down process effects a roughly wedge shaped mass of air on the windward side (the side
which faces the wind direction) of the building, which in turn diverts the rest of the air flow upwards and
sideways. A separation layer s formed between the stagnant air and the building on the one hand and the
laminar air flow on the other hand. The laminar air flow itself may be accelerated at the obstacle, as the
area available for the flow is narrowed down by the obstacle as shown in the figure-1. As the separation
layer, due to friction, the upper surface of the stagnant air is moved forward, thus a turbulence or vortex is
Due to momentum, the laminar air flow tends to maintain a straight path after it has been diverted;
therefore it will take some time to occupy all the available, cross-section. Thus a stagnant mass of air is
formed on the leeward side (the side opposite to the wind direction or windward side), but this at a reduced
pressure. In fact it is not quite stagnant: a vortex is formed, the movement is light and variable and it is
often referred to as wind shadow.
As no satisfactory and complete theory is available, air flow pattern can only be predicted on the basis of
empirical rules derived from measurements in actual buildings or in wind tunnel studies. Such empirical
rules can give a useful guide to the designer but in critical cases it is advisable to prepare a model of the
design and test it on a wind simulator
Wind simulators may be of the open-jet type or the wind tunnel type. The former type is in use with the
Architectural Association School of Architecture which has been developed with the cooperation of the
department of Fluid Mechanics, University of Liverpool. The latter type is best represented by a
economical model developed by the Building Research Station which is described in BRS current paper

An open jet
wind simulator

For Qualitative studies a smoke generator can be used and the smoke traces can be photographed. This
gives a convincing picture of flow patterns, position of laminar flow and turbulences. With some practice
the wind tunnel operator can estimate velocity ratios from smoke traces with quite reasonable accuracy. For
quantitative analysis air velocity or air pressure measurements must be taken with miniature instruments at
predetermined grid points

A closed wind


On the basis of such experimental observations the following factors can be isolated which affect the
indoor air flow (both pattern and velocities)
a. Orientation
b. External features
c. Cross-ventilation
d. Position of openings
e. Size of openings
f. Control of openings
The greatest pressure on the windward side of the building is generated when the elevation is at right angles
to the wind direction, so it seems to be obvious that the greatest indoor air velocity will be achieved in this
case. A wind incidence of 45 would reduce pressure by 50%
Thus the designer must ascertain the prevailing wind direction from wind frequency charts of wind roses
and must orientate the building in such a way that the largest openings are facings the wind direction
It has, however, been found by Givoni that a wind incidence at 45 would increase the average indoor air
velocity and would provide a better distribution of indoor air movement. The following figure shows the
relative velocities (with the free air speed taken as 100%) measured at a height of 1.2m above the floor

Effect of wind direction

and inlet opening size

This seems to contradict common-sense and the findings of others, but it can be explained by the following
phenomenon. The following figure shows the outline of air flow at 90 and at 45, to a building square in
plan. In the second case a greater velocity is created along the windward faces, therefore the wind shadow
will be much broader, the negative pressure (the suction effect) will be increased and an increased indoor
air flow will result. The size of the outlet opening was not varied in his experiments: it was fixed at the
maximum possible so that the suction forces had full effect. It is justified to postulate that with smaller
outlet openings this effect would be reduced, if not reversed


Effect of direction on
width of wind shadow

If often happens, that the optimum solar orientation and the optimum orientation for wind do not coincide.
In equatorial regions a north-south orientation would be preferable for sun exclusion but most often the
wind is predominantly easterly. The usefulness of the above findings is obvious for such a situation it
may resolve the contradictory requirements
Massing & Orientation for Cooling
Massing and orientation are important design factors to consider for passive cooling, specifically, natural
ventilation. As a general rule, thin tall buildings will encourage natural ventilation and utilize prevailing
winds, cross ventilation, and stack effect.
Massing Strategies for Passive Cooling
Thinner buildings increase the ratio of surface area to volume. This will make utilizing natural ventilation
for passive cooling easy. Conversely, a deep floor plan will make natural ventilation difficult-especially
getting air into the core of the building and may require mechanical ventilation.
Tall buildings also increase the effectiveness of natural ventilation, because wind speeds are faster at
greater heights. This improves not only cross ventilation but also stack effect ventilation.

Tall buildings improve natural

ventilation, and in lower latitudes
reduce sun exposure.

While thin and tall buildings can improve the effectiveness of natural ventilation to cool buildings, they
also increase the exposed area for heat transfer through the building envelope. When planning urban
centers, specifically in heating dominated climates, having the buildings gradually increase in height will


minimize high speed winds at the pedestrian level which can influence thermal comfort. The height
difference between neighboring buildings should not exceed 100%.
Orientation Strategies for Passive Cooling
Buildings should be oriented to maximize benefits from cooling breezes in hot weather and shelter from
undesirable winds in cold weather. Look at the prevailing winds of the given site throughout the year,
using a wind rose diagram, to see which winds to take advantage of or avoid.

Orientation for maximum passive

Generally, orienting the building so that its shorter axis aligns with prevailing winds will provide the most
wind ventilation, while orienting it perpendicular to prevailing winds will provide the least passive
Orientation for maximum passive ventilation
The effectiveness of this strategy and aperture placement can be estimated. Here are some rules of thumb
for two scenarios in which windows are facing the direction of the prevailing wind:
For spaces with windows on only one side, natural ventilation will not reach farther than two times
the floor to ceiling height into the building.
For spaces with windows on opposite sides, the natural ventilation effectiveness limit will be less
than five times the floor to ceiling height into the building.
However, buildings do not have to face directly into the wind to achieve good cross-ventilation. Internal
spaces and structural elements can be designed to channel air through the building in different directions.
In addition, the prevailing wind directions listed by weather data may not be the actual prevailing wind
directions, depending on local site obstructions, such as trees or other buildings.
For buildings that feature a courtyard and are located in climates where cooling is desired, orienting the
courtyard 45 degrees from the prevailing wind maximizes wind in the courtyard and cross ventilation
through the building.
Wind shadows created by obstructions upwind, should be avoided in positioning the building on the site
and in positioning the opening in the building.
Building structures can redirect
prevailing winds to crossventilation


The wind velocity gradient is made steeper by an uneven surface, such as scattered buildings, wall fences,
trees or scrub (refer figure below) but even with a moderate velocity gradient, such as over smooth and
the open ground, a low building can never obtain air velocities similar to a taller one. For this reason (or to
avoid specific obstructions) the building is often elevated on stilts



External features of the building itself can strongly influence the pressure build-up. For example, if the air
flow is at 45 to an elevation, a wing wall at the downwind end or a projecting wing of an L-shaped
building can more than double the positive pressure created. A similar funneling effect can be created by
upward projecting eaves. Any extension of the elevational area facing the wind will increase the pressure
build-up. If a gap between two buildings is closed by a solid wall, a similar effect will be produced.
The air velocity between free-standing trunk of trees with large crowns can be increased quite substantially
due to similar reasons
The opposite of the above means will produce a reduction of pressures: if a wing wall or the projecting
wing of an L-shaped building is upwind from the oepning considered, the pressure is reduced or even a
negative pressure may be created in front of the window
Wing Walls
Wing walls project outward next to a window, so that even a slight breeze against the wall creates a high
pressure zone on one side and low on the other. The pressure differential draws outdoor air in through one
open window and out the adjacent one. Wing walls are especially effective on sites with low outdoor air
velocity and variable wind directions.



When placing ventilation openings, inlets and outlets are placed to optimize the path air follows through the
building. Windows or vents placed on opposite sides of the building give natural breezes a pathway through the
structure. This is called cross-ventilation. Cross-ventilation is generally the most effective form of wind ventilation.

It is generally best not to place openings exactly across from each other in a space. While this does give effective
ventilation, it can cause some parts of the room to be well-cooled and ventilated while other parts are not. Placing
openings across from, but not directly opposite, each other causes the room's air to mix, better distributing the
cooling and fresh air. Also, cross ventilation can be increased by having larger openings on the leeward faces of the
building that the windward faces and placing inlets at higher pressure zones and outlets at lower pressure zones.

Different amounts of ventilation and air mixing

with different windows open
Placing inlets low in the room and outlets high in the room can cool spaces more effectively, because they leverage
the natural convection of air. Cooler air sinks lower, while hot air rises; therefore, locating the opening down low
helps push cooler air through the space, while locating the exhaust up high helps pull warmer air out of the space.
This strategy is covered more on the stack ventilation.



The following figure shows that in the absence of an outlet opening or with a full partition there can be no effective
air movement through a building even in a case strong winds. With a windward opening and no outlet, a pressure
similar to that in front of the building will be built up indoors, which can make conditions even worse, increasing
discomfort. In some cases oscillating pressure changes, known as buffeting can also occur. The latter may also be
produced by an opening on the leeward side only, with no inlet.



Air flow loses much of its kinetic energy each time it is diverted around or over an obstacle. Several right-angle
bends, such as internal walls or furniture within a room can effectively stop a low velocity air flow. Where internal
partitions are unavoidable, some air flow can be ensured if partition screens are used, clear of the floor and the

Effect of opening



To be effective, the air movement must be directed at the body surface. In building terms this means that air
movement must be ensured through the space mostly used by the occupants: through the living zone (up to 2m
high). The figure below shows, if the opening at the inlet side is at a high level, regardless of the outlet opening
position, the air flow will take place near the ceiling and not in the living zone.

at inlet


The relative magnitude of pressure build-up in front of the solid areas of the elevation (which in turn depends on the
size and position of openings) will, in fact, govern the direction of the indoor air stream and this will be independent
of the outlet opening position. The figure below shows that a larger solid surface creates a larger pressure build-up
and this pushes the air stream in an opposite direction, both in plan and in section. As a result of this, in a two storey
building the air flow on the ground floor may be satisfactory but on the upper floor it may be directed against the
ceiling. One possibilities remedy is an increased roof parapet wall.

Air flow in a two

storey building

Window or louver size can affect both the amount of air and its speed. For an adequate amount of air, one rule of
thumb states that the area of operable windows or louvers should be 20% or more of the floor area, with the area of
inlet openings roughly matching the area of outlets.
However, to increase cooling effectiveness, a smaller inlet can be paired with a larger outlet opening. With this
configuration, inlet air can have a higher velocity. Because the same amount of air must pass through both the bigger
and smaller openings in the same period of time, it must pass through the smaller opening more quickly.
A small air inlet and large outlet does not increase the amount of fresh air per minute any more than large openings
on both sides would; it only increases the incoming air velocity. Basic physics says that air cannot be created or
destroyed as it moves through the building, so in order for the same amount of air to pass through a smaller opening,
it must be moving faster.
Air flows from areas of high pressure to low pressure. Air can be steered by producing localized areas of high or low
pressure. Anything that changes the air's path will impede its flow, causing slightly higher air pressure on the



windward side of the building and a negative pressure on the leeward side. To equalize this pressure, outside air will
enter any windward openings and be drawn out of leeward openings.
Because of pressure differences at different altitudes, this impedance to airflow is significantly higher if the air is
forced to move upward or downward to navigate a barrier without any corresponding increase or decrease in

Pairing a large
outlet with a small

With a given elevational area a given total wind force (pressure x area) the largest air velocity will be obtained
through a small inlet opening with a large outlet. This is partly due to the total force acting on a small area, forcing
air through the opening at a high pressure and partly due to the venturi effect: in the broadening funnel (the
imaginary funnel connecting the small inlet to the large outlet) the sideways expansion of the air jet further
accelerates the particles.
Such an arrangement may be useful if the air stream is to be directed (as it were focused) at a given part of the room.
When the inlet opening is large, the air velocity through it will be less, but the total rate of air flow (volume of air
passing in unit time) will be higher. When the wind direction is not constant, or when air flow through the whole
space is required, a large inlet opening will be preferable.
The best arrangements is full wall openings on both sides, with adjustable sashes or closing devices which can assist
in channeling the air flow in the required direction, following the change of wind.
Venturi effect
The Venturi effect is the reduction in fluid pressure that results when a fluid flows through a constricted section of
pipe. The Venturi effect is named after Giovanni Battista Venturi (17461822), an Italian physicist.

The pressure in the first measuring tube (1) is

higher than at the second (2), and the fluid speed
at "1" is lower than at "2", because the crosssectional area at "1" is greater than at "2".







Sashes, canopies, louvres and other elements controlling the openings, also influence the indoor air flow pattern.
Sashes can divert the air flow upwards. Only a casement or reversible pivot sash will channel it downwards into the
living zone
Effect of sashes

Canopies can eliminate the effect of pressure build-up above the window, thus the pressure below the window will
direct the air flow upwards. A gap left between the building face and the canopy would ensure a downward pressure,
thus a flow directed into the living zone
Effect of canopies

Louvres and shading devices may alos present a problem. The position of blades in a slightly upward position would
still channel the flow into the living zone (up to 20 upwards from the horizontal)

Effect of louvres



Fly screens or mosquito nets are an absolute necessity not only in malaria infested areas, but also if any kind of lamp
is used indoors at night. Without it thousands of insects would gather around the lamp. Such screens and nets can
substantially reduce the air flow. A cotton net can give a reduction of 70% in air velocity. A smooth nylon net is
better, with a reduction factor of only approximately 35%. The reduction is greater with higher wind velocities and
is also increased with the angle of incidence, as shown by the findings of koenigsberger et al.


Exclusion of rain is not a difficult task and making provision for air movement does not create any particular
difficulties, but the two together and simultaneously is by no means easy. Opening of windows during periods of
wind-driven rain would admit rain and spray; while closing the windows would create intolerable conditions
indoors. The conventional tilted louvre blades are unsatisfactory on two counts:
1. Strong wind will drive the rain in, even upwards through the louvres
2. The air movement will be directed upwards from the living zone
Verandahs and large roof overhangs are perhaps the best traditional methods of protection
Koenigsberger, millar and costopoulos have carried out some experimental work, testing four types of louvres
(figure below). Only type M was found to be capable of keeping out water at wind velocities up to 4 m/s and at the
same time ensuring a horizontal air flow into the building. The air velocity reduction varies 25 and 50%
Louvres for
rain exclusion



Stack ventilation and Bernoulli's principle are two kinds of passive ventilation that use air pressure differences due
to height to pull air through the building. Lower pressures higher in the building help pull air upward. The
difference between stack ventilation and Bernoulli's principle is where the pressure difference comes from.

Lower air pressures at

passively pull air through
a building.

Stack ventilation uses temperature differences to move air. Hot air rises because it is lower pressure. For this
reason, it is sometimes called buoyancy ventilation.
The stack effect: hot air
rises due to buoyancy, and
its low pressure sucks in
fresh air from outside



Bernoulli's principle uses wind speed differences to move air. It is a general principle of fluid dynamics, saying that
the faster air moves, the lower its pressure. Architecturally speaking, outdoor air farther from the ground is less
obstructed, so it moves faster than lower air, and thus has lower pressure. This lower pressure can help suck fresh air
through the building. A building's surroundings can greatly affect this strategy, by causing more or less obstruction.
The advantage of Bernoullis principle over the stack effect is that it multiplies the effectiveness of wind ventilation.
The advantage of stack ventilation over Bernoulli's principle is that it does not need wind: it works just as well on
still, breezeless days when it may be most needed. In many cases, designing for one effectively designs for both, but
some strategies can be employed to emphasize one or the other. For instance, a simple chimney optimizes for the
stack effect, while wind scoops optimize for Bernoullis principle.
After wind ventilation, stack ventilation is the most commonly used form of passive ventilation. It and Bernoulli's
principle can be extremely effective and inexpensive to implement. Typically, at night, wind speeds are slower, so
ventilation strategies driven by wind is less effective. Therefore, stack ventilation is an important strategy.
Successful passive ventilation using these strategies is measured by having high thermal comfort and adequate fresh
air for the ventilated spaces, while having little or no energy use for active HVAC cooling and ventilation.
Strategies for Stack Ventilation and Bernoullis Principle



Designing for stack ventilation and Bernoulli's principle are similar, and a structure built for one will generally have
both phenomena at work. In both strategies, cool air is sucked in through low inlet openings and hotter exhaust air
escapes through high outlet openings. The ventilation rate is proportional to the area of the openings. Placing
openings at the bottom and top of an open space will encourage natural ventilation through stack effect. The warm
air will exhaust through the top openings, resulting in cooler air being pulled into the building from the outside
through the openings at the bottom. Openings at the top and bottom should be roughly the same size to encourage
even air flow through the vertical space.
To design for these effects, the most important consideration is to have a large difference in height between air inlets
and outlets. The bigger the difference, the better.
Towers and chimneys can be useful to carry air up and out, or skylights or clerestories in more modest buildings.
For these strategies to work, air must be able to flow between levels. Multi-story buildings should have vertical atria
or shafts connecting the airflows of different floors.
Solar radiation can be used to enhance stack ventilation in tall open spaces. By allowing solar radiation into the
space (by using equator facing glazing for example), which can heat up the interior surfaces and increase the
temperature that will accelerate stack ventilation between the top and bottom openings.
Installing weatherproof vents to passively ventilate attic spaces in hot climates is an important design strategy that is
often overlooked. In addition to simply preventing overheating1, ventilated attics can use these principles to
actually help cool a building. There are several styles of passive roof vents: Open stack, turbine, gable, and ridge
vents, to name a few.

Some roof vents: open stack, turbine, and gable vents

To allow adjustability in the amount of cooling and fresh air provided by stack ventilation and Bernoulli systems,
the inlet openings should be adjustable with operable windows or ventilation louvers. Such systems can be
mechanized and controlled by thermostats to optimize performance.
Stack ventilation and the Bernoulli Effect can be combined with cross-ventilation as well. This matrix shows how
multiple different horizontal and vertical air pathways can be combined.

Special wind cowls in the BedZED development use the

faster winds above rooftops for passive ventilation





The stack effect relies on thermal

forces, set up by density difference
(caused by temperature differences)
between the indoor and out-door air.
It can occur through an open
window (when the air is still): the
warmer and lighter indoor air will
flow out at the top and the cooler,
denser out-door air will flow in at
the bottom. The principle is the same
as in wing generation
Special provision can be made for it
in the form of ventilating shafts. The
highr the shaft, the larger the crosssectional area and the greater the
temperature difference: the greater
the motive force therefore, the more
air will be moved.
The motive force is the stack
pressure multiplied by the crosssectional area (force in Newtons
area in m2). The stack pressure can
be calculated from the equation:
Ps = 0.042 x h x T
Ps = stack pressure in N/m2
h = height of stack in m
T = temperature difference in
(the constant is N/m3 degC)
Such shafts are often used for
ventilation of internal, windowless
rooms (bathrooms and toilets) in
Europe. The figure shows some duct
buildings, with vertical or horizontal
single or double duct systems.



A solar chimney uses the sun's heat to provide cooling, using the stack effect. Solar heat gain warms a column of
air, which then rises, pulling new outside air through the building. They are also called thermal chimneys,
thermosiphons, or thermosyphons.

Different solar chimney designs, from a simple blackpainted pipe to integrated Trombe roof structure
The simplest solar chimney is merely a chimney painted black. Many outhouses in parks use such chimneys to
provide passive ventilation. Solar chimneys need their exhaust higher than roof level, and need generous sun
exposure. They are generally most effective for climates with a lot of sun and little wind; climates with more wind
on hot days can usually get more ventilation using the wind itself.

Solar chimney in a park outhouse



Advanced solar chimneys can involve Trombe walls or other means of absorbing and storing heat in the chimney to
maximize the sun's effect, and keep it working after sunset. Unlike a Trombe wall, solar chimneys are generally
best when insulated from occupied spaces, so they do not transfer the sun's heat to those spaces but only provide

Solar chimney compared to a Trombe wall

Thermal chimneys can also be combined with means of cooling the incoming air, such as evaporative cooling or
geothermal cooling.
Solar chimneys can also be used for heating, much like a Trombe wall is. If the top exterior vents are closed, the
heated air is not exhausted out the top; at the same time, if high interior vents are opened to let the heated air into
occupied spaces, it will provide convective air heating.



Solar chimneys can either heat

or cool a space

This works even on cold and relatively cloudy days. It can be useful for locations with hot summers and cold
winters, switching between cooling and heating by adjusting which vents are open and closed.
Night-Purge Ventilation
Night-Purge Ventilation (or "night flushing") keeps windows and other passive ventilation openings closed during
the day, but open at night to flush warm air out of the building and cool thermal mass for the next day.Night-purge
ventilation is useful when daytime air temperatures are so high that bringing unconditioned air into the building
would not cool people down, but where nighttime air is cool or cold. This strategy can provide passive ventilation in
weather that might normally be considered too hot for it. Successful night-purge ventilation is determined by how
much heat energy is removed from a building by bringing in nighttime air, without using active HVAC cooling and
ventilation. Night flushing works by opening up pathways for wind ventilation and stack ventilation throughout the
night, to cool down the thermal mass in a building by convection. Early in the morning, the building is closed and
kept sealed throughout the day to prevent warm outside air from entering. During the day, the cool mass absorbs
heat from occupants and other internal loads. This is done largely by radiation, but convection and conduction also
play roles. Because the "coolth" of night-purge ventilation is stored in thermal mass, it requires a building with
large areas of exposed internal thermal mass. This means not obscuring floors with carpets and coverings, walls
with cupboards and panels, or ceilings with acoustic tiles and drop-panels. Using natural ventilation for the cooling
also requires a relatively unobstructed interior to promote air flow.
These systems have some limitations due to climate, security concerns, and usability factors. Climatically, night
flushing is only suitable for climates with a relatively large temperature range from day to night, where nighttime
temperatures are below 20 or 22C (68 or 71F). If the building is occupied at night, like residences, the ventilation
should not be so cold as to be uncomfortable for occupants. In addition, the location should be one with adequate
wind at night to provide the cooling.
Usability can be a concern, as the opening and closing of all the openings every day can be tiresome for occupants
or maintenance staff, and they may not always open and close everything at the optimal times. This can be solved
with mechanized windows or ventilation louvers, controlled by either a timer or a thermostat-driven control system.
Another usability issue is the possibility of rain coming in at night, damaging property or interior finishes. While
rain is not a common occurrence in climates where night flushing works best, it can be addressed with overhangs,
ventilation louvers with steep angles, and other structural measures.
Security can be a concern, especially in buildings that are unoccupied at night. This can be overcome with adequate
security structures, such as bars or screens, or more sophisticated electronic systems.



During the day, thermal mass

soaks up heat; at night it is
cooled by outside air



In very hot climates it's often necessary to prevent outdoor air from getting into the building un-conditioned during
the heat of the day. However, natural ventilation can still be an option even in hot climates, particularly in hot dry
climates. Two techniques can be used: faster air movement, and passively cooling incoming air.
Faster air movement on people's skin helps because it encourages evaporation of sweat, making them feel cooler at
higher temperatures than normal.
Passively cooling incoming air before it is drawn into the building can be achieved by
Evaporative cooling and/or
Geothermal cooling.
Evaporative Cooling
If the inlet air is taken from the side of the building facing away from the sun, and is drawn over a cooling pond or
spray of mist or through large areas of vegetation, it can end up several degrees cooler than outside air temperature
by the time it enters occupied spaces.

A courtyard fountain in the Alhambra cools air before it enters the building
Geothermal Cooling
Inlet air can also be cooled by drawing it through underground pipes or through an underground plenum (air space).
The air loses some of its heat to the surfaces over which it passes. Underground, these surfaces tend to be at roughly
the annual average temperature, providing cooling in summer and warming in winter. This strategy is best for dry
climates, as moisture in dark cool places can lead to poor indoor air quality.
Many early versions of geothermal cooling used rock stores or gravel beds for their thermal storage capacity;
however, the additional resistance to air flow was quite high, often requiring a powered fan or pump. Large open
plenums can provide almost as much cooling or warming with only minimal obstruction.



When the architects task is the design of more than one building, a cluster of buildings or a whole settlement,
especially in a warm climate, in deciding the layout, provision for air movement must be one of the most important
considerations. After a careful analysis of site climatic conditions a design hypothesis may be produced on the basis
of general information derived from experimental findings, such as those described below. A positive confirmation
(or rejection) of this hypothesis can only be provided by model studies in a wind simulator. If the construction of
adjustable or variable layout models is feasible, alternative arrangements can be tested and the optimum can be
The effect of tall blocks in mixed developments has been examined in experiments conducted by the building
research station at Garston. The following figure shows how the air stream separates on the face of a tall block, part
of it moving up and over the roof part of it down, to form a large vortex leading to a very high pressure build-up. An
increased velocity is found at ground level at the sides of the tall block. This could serve a useful purpose in hot
climates, although if the tall block is not fully closed but is permeable to wind, these effects may be reduced

Air stream separation at the

face of buildings

A series of studies in Australia, relating to low industrial buildings, produced the surprising result that if a low
building is located in the wind shadow of a tall block, the increase in height of the obstructing block will increase
the air flow through the low building in a direction opposite to that of the wind. The lower (return w) of a large
vortex would pass through the building.

Reverse flow behind a tall block



In Texas a series of experiments was directed at finding the downwind extent of a turbulence zone, which was found
to depend on building size, shape, type and slope of the roof, but practically unaffected by wind velocity.
Experiments at the Architectural Association Department of Tropical Studies yielded of the following results:
a. If in a rural setting in open country, single storey buildings are placed in rows in a grid-iron pattern,
stagnant air zones leeward from the first row will overlap the second row. A spacing of six times the
building height is necessary to ensure adequate air movement for the second row. Thus the five times
height rule for spacing is not quite satisfactory

Air flow: grid-iron lay-out


In a similar setting, If the buildings are staggered in a checker-board pattern, the flow field is much more
uniform, stagnant air zones are almost eliminated

Air flow: checker board


Dehumidification is only possible by mechanical means, without this, in warm-humid climates, some relief can be
provided by air movement. In hot-dry climates humidification of the air may be necessary, which can be associated
with evaporative cooling. In these climates the building is normally closed to preserve the cooler air retained within
the structure of high thermal capacity, also to exclude sand and dust carried by winds. However, some form of air
supply to the building interior is necessary.
All these functions:
Controlled air supply
Filtering out sand and dust
Evaporative cooling



Are served by a device used in some parts of Egypt the wind scoop. The following figure illustrates an example of
this. The large intake opening captures air movement above the roofs in densely built up areas. The water seeping
through the porous pottery jars evaporates, some drips down onto the charcoal placed on a grating, through which
the air is filtered. The cooled air assists the downward movement a reversed stack effect
This device is very useful for ventilation (the above four functions), but it cannot be expected to create an air
movement strong enough for physiological cooling

A wind scoop


Wind catchers have been employed for

thousands of years to cool buildings in hot
climates. The wind catcher is able to chill
indoor spaces in the middle of the day in a
desert to frigid temperatures