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What is Stack Effect?

Stack-driven Ventilation
The stack-effect, as briefly mentioned above, is based on the
fact that warmer air rises as cooler air falls. This is due to
differing densities; when air is heated, it becomes less dense,
allowing it to rise, pushing cooler air downwards. Creating an
upward air stream, this concept is very important in the stackdriven method of ventilation.



Stack Effect in Buildings

Since buildings are not totally sealed (at the very minimum, there is always a
ground level entrance), the stack effect will cause air infiltration.
During the heating season, the warmer indoor air rises up through the building
and escapes at the top either through open windows, ventilation openings, or
unintentional holes in ceilings, like ceiling fans and recessed lights.
The rising warm air reduces thepressurein the base of the building, drawing
cold air in through either open doors, windows, or other openings and leakage.
During the cooling season, the stack effect is reversed, but is typically weaker
due to lower temperature differences.
In a modernhigh-risebuilding with a well-sealedenvelope, the stack effect can
create significant pressure differences that must be given design consideration
and may need to be addressed with mechanicalventilation.
Stairwells, shafts, elevators, and the like, tend to contribute to the stack effect,
whereas interior partitions, floors, and fire separations can mitigate it.
Especially in case of fire, the stack effect needs to be controlled to prevent the
spread of smoke and fire, and to maintain tenable conditions for victims and

Stack effect in flue gas stacks and

The stack effect in industrial flue gas stacks is similar to that
in buildings, except that it involves hotfluegases having
large temperature differences with the ambient outside air.
Furthermore, an industrial flue gas stack typically provides
little obstruction for the flue gas along its length and is, in
fact, normally optimized to enhance the stack effect to
reduce fan energy requirements.
Large temperature differences between the outside air and
the flue gases can create a strong stack effect in chimneys
for buildings using a fireplace for heating.
Fireplace chimneys can sometimesdraw inmore cold
outside air than can be heated by the fireplace, resulting in a
net heat loss.

- Does not require wind; can work even when the surrounding
air is completely still
- Relies on natural force (pressure and temperature
- More control with regards to where the openings in the
building are
- Uses almost no energy compared to conventional methods,
saving money and the environment
- Cannot control exterior temperature
- Can bring polluted air into buildings

A typical house contains several features that allow
fresh air in and stale air out. Cross ventilation refers to one
of naturally occurring ventilation in a building.


Mechanical (or forced) ventilation tends to be driven
by fans.
Natural ventilation is driven by natural pressure
differences from one part of the building to another.
The basic requirements for this type of ventilation are
that an entrance and an exit for air has to be present.
Windows and wall vents are the most common options.

Cross ventilation comes into play is areas where the

incoming air can displace the interior air and push it out
of the building.
The pressure of the air entering the space must be
different to the pressure of the air leaving.
The pressure difference can occur where two windows in
one room are open, and they face different directions.
Wind also help by providing outside air with more force
than the air inside the building to create cross ventilation.
In cooler places the temperature difference between
the exterior and interior also helps in cross ventilation.
The air comes in through the entrance, which is a
window or vent on the side of the building that faces the

Although cross ventilation does apply to single

rooms, it can also play a role in buildings with many
Partition wall should be designed carefully to avoid
air blocking.
Problem with cross ventilation in a structure with a
complex interior is that occupants of the buildings
can block ventilation through closed doors or
In order to solve this problem, we can put duct
systems in place that channel the fresh air around
the building and act as an exit for stale air.

It replaces stale air with fresh air
Helping to moderate internal temperatures.
Reducing the accumulation of moisture, odors
and other gases that can build up during
occupied periods.
Creating air movement which improves the
comfort of occupants.
cross ventilation occurs without the need for any
extra energy use.
Without a supply of new air, sources of irritation
and allergy in the air, such as dust or hair, can

Relies on the availability of wind
Depends on outside air quality
Not necessarily as effective or reliable as
mechanical ventilation
May involve compromising privacy
During hot weather if outside
temperature is more it can increase the


On exposed sites.
Perpendicular to the prevailing wind.
Free from internal barriers to air flow.
Provided with a regular distribution of openings.
The building is too deep to ventilate from the perimeter.
Local air quality is poor, for example if a building is next
to a busy road.
Local noise levels mean that windows cannot be opened.
The local urban structure is very dense and shelters the
building from the wind.
Privacy or security requirements prevent windows being