Natural Ventelation

Thermal chimneys NAB Docklands, Vic

(source: AIRAH)

Natural Ventilation Systems
This technical information sheet describes an approach rather than a technology. It provides the basic understanding for architects and engineers to be able to design natural ventilation strategies with supporting strategies such as solar chimneys. There are two fundamental approaches to designing for natural ventilation that will be e ective in most Victorian situations: > Cross ventilation which uses air-pressure di erentials caused by wind > Stack ventilation which uses the increased buoyancy of air as it warms up Depending on the approach when using natural ventilation, a conscious choice may need to be made by the building users to have greater fluctuations in indoor thermal conditions. The temperature will not always be predictable to plus or minus half a degree, as the use of external air will, if it is not tempered using mechanical systems, mean that temperature and humidity vary.

Natural Ventilation systems rely on natural driving forces, such as wind and temperature di erence between a building and its environment, to drive the flow of fresh air through a building. Both work on the principle of air moving from a high pressure to a low pressure zone. Natural ventilation systems are usually integrated into building systems where there is some mechanical support; these are called mixed mode or hybrid ventilation buildings. The main benefit of some augmentation by mechanical systems is that there is less unpredictability with indoor environment conditions, though it will result in greater energy use. Natural ventilation can be an appropriate choice when compared to air conditioning in the temperate climate of Victoria, particularly as the nights are cool and this can be used to pre-cool the building (see CH 2 for case study of natural ventilation used for night purge ). It can save substantial amounts of energy by decreasing or eliminating the need for mechanical cooling. It may also improve the building’s indoor air quality. Buildings with well-designed natural ventilation systems often provide very comfortable and pleasant environments for the occupants.

Most suited to: > Buildings with a narrow plan or atria with floor plate width of 15m or less > Sites with minimal external air and noise pollution (though still possible if they are present) > Open plan layouts Not suited to: > Buildings with a deep floor plan > Buildings that require precise temperature and humidity control > Buildings with individual offices or small spaces > Buildings with continual heat loads above 35–40 W/m 2 > Locations with poor air quality

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