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Every house needs ventilation. Automatic or manual ventilation. It is part of construction -physics, -biology, and -materials. It also depends on the purpose a house is built for. Ecofriendly ventilation must ensure continuous supply of fresh air, particularly at night, when manual ventilation can not be done. Sufficient and smart ventilation is vital to longevity of a house, too as it can prevent mold or permanent damage to timber etc. In this respect ventilation can contribute to a positive ecological life-cycle balance.

Ventilation rate

The ventilation rate, for CII buildings, is normally expressed by the volumetric flowrate of outside air being introduced to the building. The typical units used are cubic feet per minute (CFM) or liters per second (L/s). The ventilation rate can also be expressed on a per person or per unit floor area basis, such as CFM/p or CFM/ft², or as air changes per hour.

For residential buildings, which mostly rely on infiltration for meeting their ventilation needs, the common ventilation rate measure is the number of times the whole interior volume of air is replaced per hour, and is called air changes per hour (I or ACH; units of 1/h). During the winter, ACH may range from 0.50 to 0.41 in a tightly insulated house to 1.11 to 1.47 in a loosely insulated house.

ASHRAE now recommends ventilation rates dependent upon floor area, as a revision to the 62-2001 standard whereas the minimum ACH was 0.35, but no less than 15 CFM/person (7.1 L/s/person). As of 2003, the standards have changed to an addition of 3 CFM/100 sq. ft. (15 l/s/100 sq. m.) to the 7.5 CFM/person (3.5 L/s/person) standard.

Natural ventilation

Natural ventilation involves harnessing naturally available forces to supply and removing air through an enclosed space. There are three types of natural ventilation occurring in buildings: wind driven ventilation, pressure-driven flows, and stack ventilation. The pressures generated by 'the stack effect' rely upon the buoyancy of heated or rising air. wind driven ventilation relies upon the force of the prevailing wind to pull and push air through the enclosed space as well as through breaches in the building’s envelope. Natural ventilation is generally impractical for larger buildings, as they tend to be large, sealed and climate controlled specifically by HVAC systems. Both are examples of passive engineering and have applications in renewable energy.