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The benefit of natural ventilation in buildings

25 September 2017
Natural ventilation in buildings delivers fresh air to interiors, ensuring safe, healthy and comfortable living and working conditions for domestic and commercial properties. By replacing stale air with fresher air from outside, it’s possible to regulate internal temperatures and humidity.

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Understandably, natural ventilation is generally much cheaper and easier to deliver and maintain than mechanical ventilation, which is driven by fans or other mechanical plant machinery. As a result, most designers and architects will consider the prospect of natural ventilation first and move on to mechanical ventilation as a last resort.

How is natural ventilation categorised?

Generally, natural ventilation in residential and commercial properties is classified in two ways:

  • Buoyancy-driven stack ventilation Occurs when cooler air enters a building’s interior at a low level and is heated by the building’s occupants or its equipment or heating systems, becoming less dense and increasingly buoyant, enabling it to soar through interiors to the very top.
  • Wind-driven cross ventilation Occurs when pressure differences between two sides of a building draw air in on the side where pressure is at its highest, before drawing it out on the low pressure side.

Ventilation and Part F Building Regulations

The issue of ventilation within buildings is covered by Part F of the UK’s Building Regulations. Approved Document F outlines industry standards for air quality and ventilation for buildings of all uses, as well as the need for condensation prevention.

Part F Approved Document 4.18 states that it is important that ventilation is controllable so that it can maintain reasonable indoor air quality and avoid waste of energy. These controls can be either manual or automatic. Demand-controlled ventilation systems employ sensors – such as our very own Weather Pack – to detect the level of occupancy, water vapour and other pollutants.

The overall ventilation strategy adopted by Part F Building Regulations centres around the following three types of ventilation for a building or dwelling:

  • Extract ventilation Specifically for rooms where water vapour and other potential pollutants are released into the atmosphere e.g. bathrooms and kitchens. Extract ventilation helps to minimise the spread of such pollutants and moisture elsewhere in the building. Extraction can either be continuous or intermittent as per the needs of the building.
  • Whole building/dwelling ventilation The purpose of which is to spread fresh air from outside a building into interiors, thus diluting and dispersing residual water vapour and potential pollutants that weren’t successfully dispersed through extract ventilation. Whole building ventilation also helps let out humidity and foul odours that can form inside a building. Fresh air also has a buoyant, positive effect, helping individuals to feel invigorated and positive
  • Purge ventilation This is required to remove high concentrations of pollutants, such as paint, water spillages or burnt food. Purge ventilation is only required when these such issues arise and although it can offer thermal comfort it is not controlled under Building Regulations.

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Rooflights and ventilation

As we’ve already discussed, fresh air is equally as important as ensuring interiors get enough natural daylight. That’s why at Sunsquare we’ve developed a range of rooflights that are engineered to open electronically, providing abundant natural light and ventilation when the weather is still and dry.

Introducing the Aero Electric Vent rooflight

The Aero Electric Vent is a classic, stylish rooflight, which looks almost identical to our SkyView rooflights when closed. However, the Aero Vent incorporates state-of-the-art technology to deliver a winning combination of light and ventilation for interiors below.

Fitted with a high-quality, reliable opening mechanism that’s concealed within the sleek framework, the Aero Electric Vent offers easy operation via remote control and can be opened to a maximum opening of 400mm.

When paired with any of our electronic accessories, the Aero Electric Vent is an incredibly intelligent rooflight. If you opt to combine your Aero Vent with a rain sensor, it will trigger the closure of your rooflight from the moment it senses wet weather conditions – protecting interiors below without you having to lift a finger.

For the full weather sensor package, we recommend our Weather Pack, which also triggers the closure of your Aero Vent in the event of high winds as well as rainfall.

If you’re a self-builder or contractor that’s interested in how an Aero Electric Vent rooflight is installed, make sure you check out our comprehensive installation video here.

Interested in the rest of our rooflight product range? Please don’t hesitate to download our 2017 brochure today.

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